Career Paths of Students Since Graduation: Ten Stories

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Since the program’s inception, a new group of design thinkers coming from all backgrounds have gone out into the world. The two-year, 42-credit program will graduate its third class in Spring 2016. Some of the students from the class of 2014, 2015 and 2016 have already begun to establish themselves in various areas of work. Oddly inspiring and a testament to Parsons’ belief in creativity and ingenuity, these 10 stories aim to demonstrate how design studies applies to various professional and academic fields—proving that design in the 21st century is a dynamic and engaging field of study and practice. (more…)

A John Heskett Reader edited by Clive Dilnot

by David Brody

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In July, my Parsons colleague, Clive Dilnot, will publish his edited volume A John Heskett Reader. Heskett, who died in 2014, was a remarkable thinker who brought design to life for diverse audiences through his engaging prose. Indeed, Heskett helped bring the field of design history and design criticism to life through his numerous books that covered topics from industrial design to German design to corporate design. He was, as many of us have grown to appreciate, unwilling to simply embrace design as a formal practice. Heskett was committed to social and historical context and the essays  in Dilnot’s text speak to Heskett’s larger oeuvre.
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Jilly Traganou’s Designing the Olympics: Book release and lecture in Rio, Brazil

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Jilly Traganou, ADHT Associate Professor of Spatial Design Studies, is releasing her new book Designing the Olympics: Representation, Participation, Contestation. (more…)

Do Drones Have DNA?

by Jilly Traganou

Drone flying in "Research and Methods" class presentation by Mehdi Salehi. Photograph by Mathew Mathews

Drone flying in “Research and Methods” class presentation by Mehdi Salehi. Photograph by Mathew Mathews.

Of course, all the students want to see the big drone flying. A loud, unpleasant noise fills the room immediately. The black and white aircraft floats stably in the air and creates a strong draft in the room, which is apt to produce goosebumps. I am impressed by how insecure I felt. Of course, this drone was not equipped with weapons or other harmful objects. However, the propeller and its speed give me a queasy feeling. No one in the room wants to get too close to it or even feel the propeller near his or her skin. The drone moves around the room like a foreign body, almost like a dangerous animal whose intentions are uncertain and difficult to read, but always ready to attack.” (Lisa Merk, MA Design Studies student )

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Susan Yelavich on the ‘Why’ Behind Design, the New Academic Year, & her Latest Book

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Susan Yelavich, Associate Professor and Director of the MA Design Studies program, returns this fall after a year-long sabbatical. We catch up with Professor Yelavich as she pauses in writing her new book, Reading Design, and looks toward some exciting developments for the new academic year.

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Misha Volf’s Speech at Graduation Ceremony of MA DS 2016 class

Talk by Misha Volf as the student speaker given at the graduation of MA Design Studies, May 19th 2016:

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Thank you, Faculty, Administration, Friends, Family, Graduates,

Two years ago, when I was considering Design Studies, I came in to interview with Susan [Yelavich, Director of the Program]. Among the ways she framed the program, one of them was as a NEXUS of THEORY and PRACTICE. After the interview, as I travelled back home, I was abuzz. “This is perfect,” I thought. This wasn’t going to just be some heady, theorizing about commodities, or semiotics, or the anthropocene; nor was this simply going to be about the production of stuff, putting design to work, so to speak, or something my father with increased longing would call “marketable skills.” No, no. This was going to be something else. This was going to be, … THE NEXUS!

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Clive Dilnot’s Speech at Graduation Ceremony of MA Design Studies 2016 class

Clive Dilnot: Introductory talk given at the graduation of MA Design Studies, May 19th 2016:

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It is an honor today to introduce to you the 3rd cohort of graduates of MA Design Studies, a very special and indeed brave, group of students.

They are special because the MA in Design Studies is one of the most exclusive degrees in the world. The program is unique in North America and I think is unique in the world. These are, in the best sense of the word a rare group of students. We have to hope they are not also an endangered species.

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Professor Susan Yelavich Interviewed by Andrea Cuevas, Mexican Design Curator

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Design Studies Professor Susan Yelavich visited Mexico for the first time in 2015. Since then, when she lectured at Centro, she has been fortunate enough to have made many good friends.  In part this led to the request for the interview featured here which explores questions about design’s role in social responsibilities and in shaping the future.

MA Design Studies Students Exhibit ‘Provocative Products’ at Parsons Festival

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“Melt” designed by Lisa Merk (MA Design Studies) and Ari Elefterin (MFA Industrial Design)

By Claudia Marina

Within the design milieu, critical and interrogative design speaks loudly in modern times. It has to, for new ethical and environmental problems arise out of production, consumerism, and globalization on the daily. It is this notion that prompted designers like Krzysztof Wodiczko to claim that “instead of deconstructing itself, design should deconstruct life,” in his book Critical Vehicles. And with this framework in mind, designers have a responsibility to challenge and shed light on experiences and problems—even if the results are uncomfortable to deal with.

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Lisa Stenhaug of Design Studies on Andrea Zittel’s Wagon Station Encampment & Challenging “what is”

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Lisa Stenhaug at the Wagon Station Encampment. Photo by Emre Balık.

As research for her capstone, Lisa Stenhaug, MA Design Studies ‘16, stayed at artist Andrea Zittel’s Wagon Station Encampment in Joshua Tree, California for one week in April. Read about her experience at the encampment and her capstone project below!

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From the Director


Susan Yelavich (Director)

If you’re reading this, I imagine you’re curious about Parsons’ Masters in Design Studies. Below are a series of posts written in anticipation of your questions:

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