Student Publication – Provocative Products: Provotypes and Provoprops

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Alongside the exhibition by the same same, Otto von Busch and a of group students in the MA Design Studies program published a text companion to “Provocative Products,” which exhibited during Parsons Festival taking place within NYCxDesign 2016. (more…)

Student Publication – Dark Designs: Critical Cases in Design in Dark Times


The Spring 2016 semester at Parsons School of Design welcomed the production of self-published books by MA Design Studies students. Following Acts of Olympic Dissent by students in Jilly Traganou’s Spatial Studies course, students in Otto von Busch’s graduate-level elective “Design in Dark Times” also published their culminated research into Dark Designs: Critical Cases in Design in Dark Times (available on Amazon). (more…)

Student Publication – Acts of Olympic Dissent

Acts of Olympic Dissent

The Olympics have had a long history of contestation from their host cities, marginalized groups threatened by gentrification, and even the athletes who perform on the world’s greatest stage. In the wake of the Rio 2016 Games, students in Jilly Traganou’s Spatial Studies course, which focused on Olympic cities, self-published a collection of papers under the title Acts of Olympic Dissent, exploring the topic at hand. (more…)

“What’s Funny About This? Design and Process”

Estefania Acosta, Laura Sanchez, and Misha Volf, Class of 2016

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The Body What's Funny_

Design Practices & Paradigms

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.30.09 PMAssociate Professor Susan Yelavich, Director of the MA Design Studies program, taught a new course entitled Design Practices & Paradigms in the Spring 2013 semester. The inaugural MA Design Studies cohort put together a booklet featuring three case studies as a prototype for an extended publication of research on the changing nature of design practice.

Members of the inaugural MA Design Studies explored the following questions:

What does the scope, structure and content of practice reveal about the state of design and the ambitions of design today? What does it mean to run an architecture practice that is inspired by the ways people build their homes and cities during times of extreme political crisis? How does a media designer transform his studio into a research-led enterprise that focuses on the needs of diverse communities around the world? What does it mean to make people fashion-able vs. fashionable?

In this course, students studied a particular designer’s approach to production, collaboration, and authorship as well as the social and intellectual context that shaped the designer’s projects and values. Students were provided with readings about various modes and philosophies of design today. They did independent research, conducted interviews, and produced concept maps of their designer’s process and practice. The semester culminated in the production of a research paper that offered a critical perspective on the contributions, values, and questions raised by the modes of practice they studied.

Click here for full text.

Program Contact

Caroline Dionne, Program Director

Program Update

Parsons is not currently admitting new students to this master’s degree program. Parsons is now offering a Graduate Minor in Design Studies that is designed to complement the MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies and other graduate programs across the university in design, liberal arts, and social research.