Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century: Culture

Published on: March 31st, 2012

Greetings from a New School grad student.  I am very excited about the new Masters in Design Studies at Parsons and especially excited to be directly involved as a research assistant to Susan Yelavich as she develops the program. I met Susan a few years ago when, through the teaching assistantship program at the New School, I became one of her teaching assistants for the course Global Issues in Design and Visuality in the 21st Century: Culture (a course that is now included in the Design Studies curriculum). The course poses challenging, critical questions for students in the fields of art and design. Pairing theoretical texts with lectures by leading practitioners, the course engages students in rich discussions about the responsibilities and possibilities of design and art as significant cultural processes in our globalized world. The course has an impressive roster of guest speakers who are all involved in critical practices, including among others: Dan Graham, Constantin Boym, Teddy Cruz,  Michael Sorkin, Sean Donahue, Fiona Raby, and Astra Taylor. Their work has provided keen insight for my own research as PhD candidate in sociology at The New School. However, it has been the ongoing discussions with students in our recitation meetings that have been most illuminating. The dialogue in these sessions testifies to the difficult negotiations artists and designers face as they begin to shape, understand and articulate their roles in the larger social, cultural, economic, and political realms in which their work is embedded.

The Tuesday evening lectures are open to the public and I encourage you to attend if you are in New York. I would also like to extend an invitation to prospective students in the MA Design Studies program to sit in with our discussion group following the lecture. A list of speakers for the current semester along with more information about the course can be found here.

Barbara Adams ( is a PhD candidate in sociology at the New School for Social Research. Her current projects examine the methodological terrain shared by artists and social scientists as they engage the sociological imagination in the production of their work.

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.