Speaking about Design in Mexico City

by Susan Yelavich, Associate Professor of Design Studies Last fall, from October 28th to November 1st, I had the good fortune to be a guest of Centro, Mexico City’s premiere design school. During my stay, I gave a lecture to 200 members of the school and its design community in which I explored the ways design… Read More

PLOT(S) Call for Submissions

Plot(s): 1) noun, A measured plan, map, scheme, diagram or other graphic representation 2) verb, To mark the course of something; to devise the sequence of events Now in its third edition,  Plot(s): The Journal of Design Studies 2016 inquires into how design practice and design research is configured, and how it shapes individuals, societies and relations… Read More

Two Conferences on Future Creation – A Comparative Reflection

written by Anke Gründel Interest in design is on the rise in the public sector, an apparent need the various design communities are working hard to fill.  That is the main convergent message emerging from two recent design conferences, the Global Service Design Conference in New York City and the Politics for Tomorrow Conference in Berlin,… Read More

Prospective Students Webinar Discussion: November 24th from 12-1pm

Please join Design Studies Program Director, Jilly Traganou, on November 24th from 12-1pm in a webinar to discuss the program!  This webinar will provide you with detailed information about this diverse and innovative graduate degree program. You will also have the opportunity to ask whatever questions you may have. The webinar will also include information about the… Read More

Breathing Design: A Reflection on the Beginning of the Semester

by Jilly Traganou, Director of MA Design Studies Design is what we breath here at Parsons; design, that is as much in the process of “cleaning and reorganizing a desk drawer” (Victor Papanek), as it is in the makings of synthetic biology and 3D food printing.  Now that the academic year is upon us, I’d… Read More

Class of 2016’s Mae Wiskin featured on VICE News segment

Mae Wiskin, class of 2016 MA Design Studies second year candidate, was recently featured on VICE News On The Line. The segment was on India’s mental health crisis and women’s rights. Mae spoke to VICE News journalist Neha Shastry about the ways in which digital technologies can be used to help battle the stigma and shame associated with mental… Read More

ADHT Welcomes 64 New Graduate Students

Design Studies incoming students touring The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum with docent, Sakura Nomiyama On Monday, August 24th, 64 incoming graduate students gathered in the Kellen Auditorium to make up the School of Art and Design History and Theory’s incoming class of 2017.  ADHT is the home to 29 new students in Fashion Studies (FS),… Read More

What Does That Even Mean? Ten Things About “Service Design.”

By Mae Wiskin Admittedly, I didn’t know what “service design” was a couple months ago (although arguably it has been around my entire life). Until recently service design lacked an agreed upon name or consensus. Service design, most simply, is a hybrid human activity composed of a blending of diverse industries and fields. Given this,… Read More

Professor Yelavich addresses FAIR Design Conference at Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts

On leave this academic year, Professor Susan Yelavich took time away from her sabbatical project on fiction and design to deliver a lecture on design and leisure this September at the invitation of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts as part of a conference on design as activity. A summary of her lecture “Product(ive) Leisure”… Read More

Design Studies graduate Dora Vanette featured in re:D

Regarding Design (re:D), the magazine for Parsons alumni and the wider Parsons community (published by The New School Alumni Association), features exceptional alumni work.  The latest issue includes Dora Vanette (a 2014 graduate from ADHT’s MA in Design Studies) for her thesis, “Consuming Socialism: Mid-Century Modernist Interiors in the Former Yugoslavia,” which examines the role of design in the construction of… Read More

Transformative urbanism: Cairo’s women-only metro carriages

By Mae Wiskin Published August 18, 2015 Seven years after the introduction of Women-Only Metro carriages in Cairo, former resident Mae Wiskin explores what this intervention means for the city, public space and gender politics within Cairo and Egypt as a whole. To many, Egypt’s capital city of Cairo is a maddening metropolis marked by… Read More

Design and Storytelling at Cumulus Conference on Design Culture in Milan

This June, at the Milan Cumulus conference, I had the pleasure of speaking with colleagues from around the world about how literature—stories in which objects and places act as protagonists—can offer fresh perspectives on design. Mine was just one contribution to a larger discussion organized around the role of narrative in design for social innovation—a… Read More

Veronica Uribe Del Aguila’s Valedictory Address to the Class of 2015

So, Design Studies… You are probably asking yourselves what is Design studies. Well…I don’t have an easy, straightforward answer to this question. However, this is what I can tell you after two years of studying design. Think about the fork you used to eat yesterday’s lunch. Yes, the fork. Just …go with it. Think about… Read More

Announcing the publication of PLOT(S) Journal of Design Studies, Issue 2

The Design Studies Classes of 2015 and 2016 are pleased to announce the publication of the second issue of Plot(s), a peer reviewed, student-edited and produced journal exploring the plurality of design studies. Access PDF here: PLOT(S)

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

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

Student Profiles

  Daisy Lei, Class of 2017 My name is Lei Qionglu (“Daisy” for friends). I was born in Changsha, a city located in Southern China famous for its spicy cuisine. I attended university in Shanghai and gained a Bachelor’s degree on Fashion Design and Engineering. After graduation, I worked as a PR manager for both… Read More

Student Spotlight: James Laslavic of Design Studies Spends Semester at NASA Ames Research Center

By Jennifer Soong James Laslavic is a second-year student in the MA Design Studies program. He is currently working on his thesis, Conditions of Design: Outer Space and Future Technologies, at the NASA Human Systems Integration Division, where he will be for the next four months thanks to funding from the San Jose State University… Read More

Susan Yelavich speaks at RISD/Brown symposium on Critical Design

On April 24th, Susan Yelavich joined colleagues at RISD and Brown University at a symposium organized by Damian White (History, Philosophy + The Social Sciences, RISD) and Ian Gonsher (Engineering, Brown Universitiy) on “Critical Design/Critical Futures.” Through a series of panels and workshops, as well as an online publication, the event explored critical design, design activism, and design-led social innovation…. Read More

Jilly Traganou Awarded Prestigious Grant from Design History Society

The School of ADHT is proud to announce that this past March, Jilly Traganou received a Design History Society grant in support of her book publication Designing the Olympics.  Designing the Olympics looks at the “Olympic Design Milieu” to ask questions on the relations of design with national identity and citizenship. The book is based on… Read More

Design Studies Students Intern at Metropolis

The New York-based architecture and design magazine, Metropolis (metropolismag.com), covers the full spectrum of design with a critical perspective and a long standing tradition of highlighting the potential of design with the arenas of politics, culture, social justice, and sustainability. Parsons MA Design Studies program has been fortunate to place several interns over the past everal… Read More

Matter(ing) by Design Symposium

Register for Matter(ing) by Design at: http://designstudies.wix.com/symposium

New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America

by Mae Wiskin Last week, a few fellow first year MA Design Studies students and I went to The Museum of Arts and Design to see their latest exhibit: New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America. We are all taking the same participatory curatorial design course with Professor Nitin Sawhney titled, “Co-Lab: Curatorial Design… Read More

Are we just reflections of ourselves?

by Kate Moyer I was in Paris in January and was especially moved by Olafur Elliason’s exhibition Contact for the way in which it dissolves our individual relation to time and space.  Elliason’s piece orchestrates a journey through unique rooms that aim to distort and question what is real or a reflection. The above image is taken… Read More

Special lecture: How Does Mapping Make Up the World?

Join us for a special lecture: “How Does Mapping Make Up the World?” Visiting Professor Peter Hall Design Department Head, Griffith University Queensland College of Art, Brisbane, Australia Tuesday, February 10th @ 5:00PM Hirshon Suite: Room 205 in Arnold Hall (55 W. 13th Street) Please RSVP by contacting Jenn Soong (soongj@newschool.edu)

Save the date: Matter(ing) by Design

Deadline extended: Plot(s) Call for Submission

The submission deadline has been extended from January 20th to January 26th! Please send submissions by January 26th, 2015 via e-mail to plotsparsons@gmail.com Notice of acceptance/request for revisions: February For any questions, please contact plotsparsons@gmail.com

Plot(s) Call for Submission Deadline: January 20th, 2015

Plot(s) Journal of Design Studies                                           Deadline: January 20th, 2015 Heroes, Heretics and Hoarders In a designed world defined by paradox, duplicity and ultimate possibility, where do you stand? In the quest to “solve” the world’s most pressing challenges, are designers problem… Read More

MA Design Studies and “Matter(ing)” at Carnegie Mellon University and Fallingwater

By Mae Wiskin The first thing I thought upon landing in Pittsburg was how much I wished I had packed gloves. I was freezing, but also completely enlivened by the fact that November had already come and it was finally time to participate in a symposium I had been looking forward to since the start… Read More

Upcoming Design Forum Events

THURSDAY, Nov 6th // 7 PM University Center, Room 201 Get a behind-the-scenes look at “How Things Don’t Work,” the Victor Papanek exhibit currently on view in the Kellen Gallery on campus. Students from MFA Transdisciplinary Design who participated in the development of the exhibition will share their experience collaborating with the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, creating… Read More

MA Design Studies Student Speaks on Policy and Design in London

By MA Design Studies Candidate, Jhen-Yi Lin How might design provide a new approach to inform public policy planning and implementation? And what brings designers and public policy makers to sit at the same table and discuss social issues? On September 4, 2014, I presented an academic paper “Design Capabilities in the Public Sector” at… Read More

Design Forum: Fall 2014 Sharing Sessions

Network. Collaborate. Learn. 1 Presentation + 1 Workshop +  1 Moderator Design Forum Fall Sharing Sessions will provide a platform to present and workshop current student research. Graduate students from programs across all divisions of The New School are welcome and encouraged to participate and provide feedback. Join us at our first session to hear more about how to sign up to run a workshop,… Read More

Design Practices & Paradigms

Associate 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… Read More

Student Spotlight: James Laslavic

Second-year MA Design Studies student James Laslavic recently finished an invaluable summer internship at Fuzzy Math, a respected interaction design consultancy in Chicago. Before he left, they interviewed him about how he applies what he’s learned so far in Design Studies to his practice of interaction design, and what he hopes to bring back to… Read More

MA Design Studies Orientation Events

The MA Design Studies program welcomed its third cohort with a series of Orientation events designed to introduce everyone to Parsons, the New School, and New York City; and, most of all, to get to know each other a bit before diving into classes. The week began on Monday, August 18th, with official welcomes, followed… Read More

Student Profiles

Estefania Acosta I’m here because my education as an industrial designer has led me to believe that while math is usually referred to as a universal language, design is the universal “action”. I advocate for design in all walks of life, all-inclusive and across the board. As such, I hope to be part of a… Read More

MA Design Studies Graduates Its First Class!

Congratulations to the first class of Design Studies students to receive their Master of Arts Degree from Parsons. The Class of 2014 produced a rich and diverse range of Capstones, which are listed next to their names below. We, your faculty, wish each and everyone of them all the very best and we look forward… Read More


We are pleased to announce the inaugural issue of Plot(s), a peer reviewed, student edited and produced journal exploring the plurality of design studies. In an attempt to map the network of discourses within design studies, each work in Plot(s) lends a critical eye to a facet of design practice — understanding design as both… Read More

“Thirst” at Proteus Gowanus

Opening on Saturday, March 22nd, “Thirst” is the second exhibition sponsored by the Proteus Gowanus gallery on the annual theme of “Water.” Curated by Lydia Matthews with a transdisciplinary group of New School graduate and undergraduate students as well as numerous collaborators, “Thirst” explores the uses and abuses of water in the local and global… Read More

Narratives and Design Studies on Video

If you missed the Narratives and Design Studies symposium, here are a few of the presentations for your viewing pleasure.  Welcome Remarks – Susan Yelavich Narratives of History: Peter Hall and Phillip Lopate (Keynote) Olympic Design Narratives of Artifice and Technology Narratives of Social Engagement Design and Gender

Continuing the Task of Translation: Narratives and Design Studies

What follows are responses from those who attended the March 7/8 symposium Narratives and Design Studies at Parsons, sponsored by the MA in Design Studies programs. The conversation continues! Design Can’t Do It All Salem Tsegaye The theme of narratives at this year’s symposium was quite fitting for a field tasked with interpreting, defining, and… Read More

Photo highlights of Design Studies Symposium


A Literary Treat at the Design Studies Symposium

At the Design Studies Symposium at Parsons The New School for Design the two speakers invited on the first day were: Peter Hall, design writer and professor at Griffith University, Queensland, who flew down from warm and sunny Brisbane into freezing New York, while the keynote speaker was essayist, critic and professor at Columbia University, Phillip… Read More

Design Studies Symposium begins with a workshop on storytelling

Hello and welcome to the Design Studies Symposium at Parsons the New School for Design. This post is to give you a glimpse of what goes on in these two days, as guests speakers come in and we address various threads that run through this vast fabric that has come to mean design, and we’ll… Read More

Parsons Narratives and Design Studies conference

The Language of Design

For the past three months, the Museum of Modern Art has been running an online exhibition titled Design and Violence that has now culminated in an interesting, layered, often controversial discussion about, well, design and violence. Adding to the on-going thread is the latest post by Parsons professor Clive Dilnot. Dilnot writes about Green Bullets,… Read More


As part of her thesis Sarah Lillenberg will tackle the implications of participatory design by looking at idBrooklyn, a cultural identity project. Here is her article that takes a look into idBrooklyn. Why We’re Inviting Everyone to Help Visualize Brooklyn’s Identity Part of what we love about Brooklyn is its “humpty-dumpty” history of cultural pioneers… Read More

Ring in 2014 with Małe Instrumenty: The Politics of Tiny Instruments in Poland

This New Year, as we emerge from the season of sales and the scourge of shopping, Małe Instrumenty offers a different kind of gift: music played on toy pianos. Yes, Virginia, toy pianos. Toy pianos, children’s music boxes, and found-object instruments, played by Pawel Romańczuk, Marcin Ożóg, Tomasz Orszulak, Jędrzej Kuziela and Maciej Bączyk, the… Read More

Students Respond to MoMA’s Design and Violence Site

Violence and Virtue: Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Judith Slaying Holofernes” Uffizi Gallery, Florence Inspired by the Museum of Modern Art’s experimental web exhibition Design and Violence, students in Susan Yelavich’s “Design Fictions” course spent the last weeks of the fall semester discussing and responding to the fictions and facts of violence. Among other things, they debated whether… Read More

The Mythology of a Fraught Architecture

Some ways down an unnamed offshoot of Highway 413 in the small surf village of Rincón, Puerto Rico is a surprising structure, the decommissioned Boiling Nuclear Superheater Reactor—colloquially known by its friendly acronym, BONUS. I first encountered the building—a hulking, futuristic dome with a tarnished mid-century-aqua façade—while vacationing a few years ago on the recommendations… Read More

A Roadmap for the Study of Urban Architecture

Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies documents Reyner Banham’s encounter with the city of Los Angeles. The text sets the groundwork for a new understanding of urban architecture. Beyond the consideration of the geographical, social and historical contexts that distinguish Los Angeles, his accounts of the sprawling metropolis include the actively changing and evolving… Read More

MA Design Studies Course Blogs

Here you’ll find the living archives of several courses offered in the MA Design Studies program—syllabi, readings, resources and student papers.  This should give you a more textured insight into our offerings.  Enjoy! Design Fictions Fall 2013 Design Practices & Paradigms Spring 2013 Writing for the Public Realm Spring 2013

Social Impact Design: Sistema Bioblosa

Using the often-overlooked technology of bio-gas energy sourcing, Alexander Eaton, CEO and co-founder of Sistema Bioblosa, employs simple and informed design strategies to empower impoverished farming communities. A key speaker at the A Better World by Design conference held in Providence, Rhode Island, this past September, Eaton presented the benefits that Sistema Bioblosa provides for… Read More

“Designing a Better World: Fireside Chat” or Designing a Stronger Capitalism

On August 27, I attended “Designing a Better World: The Journey of Entrepreneurs” Fireside Chat at the Michael Neumann Architecture Studio (MNA). I was driven to attend this lecture by my personal interest in finding proactive, effective, and sustainable ways of helping the world while still making a living as a designer in a capitalist… Read More

A Better World by Design 2013 Conference

A Better World by Design is an internationally-acclaimed conference held annually at Brown & RISD campuses in Providence, RI. Connecting students, professionals, and individuals from different disciplines, it strives to build a global community of socially-conscious innovators. This year’s conference will be held from September 27 to 29.

Design Studies Photo Album

Design Studies students enjoying a walk on the High Line during Fall Orientation. Front row, left to right: Divia Padayachee, Gigi Polo; Back row: Juan Pablo Pemberty, Laura Wing, Rachel Smith, Ruo Ma, Shenyangzi Wang, Nyugen Tran, and Komal Shomal.

Parsons Present in Poland

This summer I had the privilege of teaching at the Democracy & Diversity Institute in Wroclaw, Poland, organized by the New School for Social Research’s Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS). A rich experience by any measure, but all the richer for the fact that I was co-teaching with NSSR Sociology Professor Elzbieta Matynia—the institute’s… Read More

The Spaces of Others

(As part of the Writing for the Public Realm class the students were asked to analyze an interior inspired by the famous Nest magazine. Dora Sapunar took a look at the interiors in the German film The Lives of Others (2006).)  At some point we started equating interiors with the people living inside them. From… Read More

Admitted Graduate Students Reception

Last Thursday, June 25th, we welcomed the incoming graduate students of the New School. The event was a wonderful opportunity for students from different programs to meet and socialize, ask questions, get advice, and learn about what it’s like to be a part of the New School. It was also a great way to usher… Read More

The Strange Attractor at the End of Human History

(Second year Design Studies student Finn Ferris gives an insightful review of Douglas Rushkoff’s book “Present Shock” and touches on many of the pressing issues of today’s ever-accelerating digital culture.) It’s not the end of the world in the traditional sense — but it might be the end of traditional sense. Inspired nominally by Toffler’s… Read More

Investigating New Design Practices

In Design Practices & Paradigms, members of the inaugural MA Design Studies cohort at Parsons explored the scope and ambitions of design in the 21st century. Students interviewed designers and mapped their practices. They wrote about their approaches to production, collaboration, and authorship as well as the social and intellectual context that shape their respective… Read More

The Business of Design 2012: Design Thinking

On June 13, 2013, Director Susan Yelavich spoke about the MA Design Studies program at an event discussing the changing landscape of design practices, processes and productions. For more information click here.

Student Profiles

Ruo Ma

It is time to give a warm welcome to the second class of Design Studies students, joining us from as far away as China, Taiwan, India and many different parts of USA.

A Very Eclectic (and Personal) Reading List

I make a habit of keeping track of what I read for literary (and not-so literary) pleasure.  It started as a way to share favorites with students and friends when memory fails as it often does. (I can remember what I read five years ago, but don’t ask me what I read last month.) Memory… Read More

Students’ Summer Plans

As the inaugural year of the MA Design Studies program draws to a close, we are delighted to report that the energy of the first cohort is being rewarded with fellowships, internships, jobs and other summer plans.  Here is a list of what we’re doing this summer…

The Prescience of George Nelson

Last November the Yale School of Architecture hosted a two-day symposium on the work of seminal architect, designer, writer and teacher George Nelson.  Susan Yelavich was invited to attend and review the event for the School’s journal Constructs.

Achieving Social Justice through Spatial Justice: A Review of Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967

It is only fitting that Gordon Parks’ famous photographic essay documenting the dire living conditions of the Fontenelles, an impoverished African-American family in late-1960s Harlem, is housed in a 7-month exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem, “the nexus for artists of African descent…and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture.”[1]… Read More

The Music Box: A Shanty Sound Laboratory

Once upon a time, a group of ramshackle houses made up the landscape in an almost adult make-believe village known as The Music Box: A Shanty Sound Laboratory, an experiment in design and musical architecture. The first phase of the Music Box closed almost a year ago, making way for what will be a bigger… Read More

Welcome to Students Joining Us In January

With this series of profiles, we are delighted to introduce you to the students joining the MA Design Studies program in the spring semester.

Design Studies Symposium Rescheduled

Our inaugural symposium, Negotiating the Terrain of Design Studies, was postponed by the storm. It has been rescheduled for Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. We look forward to welcoming speakers Alison Clarke, Victor Margolin, Jürgen Häusler, Hugh Dubberly, and Peter-Paul Verbeek.

Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the Whitney Museum

Recently, every window of the Louis Vuitton store in New York City was filled with polka dots and a life-size wax figurine of Yayoi Kusama. Polka dot Princess, psychopath, resurgent Queen of the Japanese art world, precursor of the pop art, Queen of the Hippies, minimalist, even her fans call her “Weird Grandma”, all these… Read More

Century of the Child: Tracing a History of Design

As design constantly evolves to include not just artifacts and their designers, but processes, ideas and relationships, planning and executing an exhibition that traces a narrative of design history spanning a hundred years is no small task. Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, opened to both child and adult audiences alike this fall… Read More

Negotiating the Terrain of Design Studies: Research, Reflection, Practice

New dates: Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, 2013 Friday: 66 West 12th Street, Room 407 Saturday: Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street, 5th floor Free and Open to the Public To mark the inauguration of Parsons’ MA Design Studies program, this symposium looks at the intellectual currents that charge the growing field of… Read More

Conversation with Lorraine Wild: Expanding the Purview of Communication Design

Lorraine Wild

Thursday, Oct. 25th, 9:30-11:00 am Room 1200,12th Floor of 6 E 16 St. On Thursday, Oct. 25th, designer Lorraine Wild will join MA Design Studies program director Susan Yelavich in an informal discussion about the various modes of practice she sustains: writing, teaching, designing, publishing and (most recently) rethinking communication strategies in the context of… Read More

Sustainable Fashion: Zero Waste Design

Image: zerofabricwastefashion.blogspot.com Social responsibility has become an important aspect of being a citizen of the world. But are we being socially responsible, or just pretending to be? Do we know how much energy, water, transportation, and exploitation of the worker is put into producing an artifact? Are we aware of the amount of “stuff” we… Read More

Remembering Bill Moggridge

Cooper-Hewitt’s brief video honoring Bill Moggridge. What is design? This is a central question we’ve been asking ourselves over the past few weeks as novices in the field of Design Studies, and perhaps the answer will become clearer as we continue to grasp the many concepts and ideas of renowned voices in design thinking. To… Read More

Graphic Design: Now in Production

Just thinking about graphic design, and everything that it encompasses, can sometimes make your head spin. To tackle it in its entirety is a daunting task, which is the reason why so few curators and museums have even attempted this tricky venture. Graphic design can be seen as both a process, tool and discipline. The… Read More

Student Profiles

Over the coming weeks, this column will introduce you to our first cohort of Design Studies MA students.  Some are joining us from as far away as Beijing, Durban, Taipei, and Zagreb; others come from states as far flung as California, Minnesota, Virginia, and New York.  All will be bringing experiences that have led them… Read More

A Graduate Student’s Perspective

Here we introduce Barbara Adams. She is a PhD candidate in sociology at the New School for Social Research and has been teaching at Parsons and the New School for the past four years. Below are her responses to our questions.   What kind of projects have you worked on that combined your discipline with… Read More

Experiments in Design Research: Expressions, Knowledge, Critique

The fifth Nordic Design Research Conference, Nordes ’13: Experiments in Design Research: Expressions, Knowledge, Critique takes place in Copenhagen/Malmö in 2013 June 9th – 12th. Design is closely affiliated with the experimental, which is as an exploratory and probing undertaking. What does this mean in the context of design research? Today, design research relies on… Read More

Toward a New Cosmopolitanism

Monday, May 14, 2012, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Toward a New Cosmopolitanism, an event at The Storefront for Art and Architecture with David Adjaye, Stan Allen, Anthony Appiah, Teresita Fernández, Enrique Walker and Sarah Whiting, will address themes from and celebrate the release of two books (From Rules to Constraints and Authoring: Re-Placing Art and Architecture). Toward… Read More

Histories and Theories of the Modern Interior

INSIDE (hi)STORIES: FILM SCREENING AND TALK Barbara Penner, Senior lecturer, Architectural History, Bartlett School of Architecture Friday, April 27th. 6:15. 25 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor Parsons The New School for Design A lecture series curated by Ioanna Theocharopoulou, SCE and Sarah A. Lichtman, ADHT X is for An Expert on Bathrooms: Alexander Kira &… Read More

Meet our Faculty: Jilly Traganou

This is the first installation in a series where we ask our faculty to talk a bit about their understanding of design studies as a field and as a practice that shapes their work. As a reader of this blog, you’re likely becoming familiar with Jilly Traganou’s research and interests. Her work examines space and… Read More

MESDA Conference on American Material Culture

The seventh biennial MESDA Conference for recent research in the field of early American material culture and decorative arts will take place on October 25-27, 2012 at the East Tennessee Historical Societyin Knoxville, Tennessee.The conference provides the only major forum for scholarly presentation and interaction on American material culture and decorative arts with specific emphasis… Read More

Meet our Affiliated Faculty: Orit Halpern

This is the second installment in our series where we introduce you to key faculty at the New School who teach courses that complement design studies. Here we introduce Orit Halpern.  Orit is Assistant Professor in history at the New School for Social Research and at Eugene Lang College. The New School for Social Research… Read More

Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) has explored the intersection of traditional or unusual materials and techniques as viewed through the lens of contemporary art and design in a series of exhibitions that include Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting; Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary; Slash: Paper Under the Knife; Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes… Read More

Film Club

One of the four core areas of inquiry of the MA in Design Studies program has to do with how we ‘speak’ of design.  And since design speech includes video and film along with the written word, we’ve started a virtual Film Club. This is the first of several posts featuring films where design plays… Read More

Meet our Affiliated Faculty: Shannon Mattern

In this series, we will be introducing you to key faculty at the New School who teach courses that complement design studies, and will be available to our students as registration permits.  This week we introduce Shannon Mattern.   Shannon is Assistant Professor at the New School for Public Engagement. This division of the New… Read More

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

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… Read More

23rd Biennial of Design: Design Relations

Participation in the 23rd Biennial of Design The Biennial of Design (or BIO, from its Slovene acronym) is an international design exhibition that, through its selection of well-designed works and emphasis on quality, originality, and innovation, presents current trends in contemporary design. The exhibited works are eligible to receive the Biennial’s awards for the best… Read More

Projects about Objects

Some ongoing projects concerned with the value and significance of objects: A History of New York in 50 Objects An artichoke and an elevator. A Checker taxicab and a conductor’s baton. A MetroCard and a mastodon tusk. Inspired by “A History of the World in 100 Objects,” the British Museum’s BBC radio series and book,… Read More

Jilly Traganou leads London 2012: Space of Dissent / Space of Control Workshop

London 2012: Space of Dissent / Space of Control was the title of a workshop I conducted at the Royal College of Art last week (February 2-9). Participants included students of the RCA/V&A Design History and RCA Product Design programs, who worked in mixed teams. Students worked in teams to explore London Olympics as terrain… Read More

Video: Jilly Traganou on Co-Design

As core faculty — also in the new Urban programs of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons — I took part in a video production that presents the work of faculty. In this video I  discuss the relationship between multiple identity and belonging that characterizes contemporary societies, and the use of co-design as a method of… Read More

Bringing it Back: Design and Revivals

Bringing it Back is a symposium that looks at revivalist movements in the history of the decorative arts and design. The symposium examines design’s role as a cultural metaphor and as a mediator of sociopolitical perspectives. This event considers how design engages with the past and considers revivals from a variety of perspectives. Whether Egyptian,… Read More

Susan Yelavich lectures at RISD this spring

MA Design Studies Director Susan Yelavich will be a featured speaker in Rhode Island School of Design’s Textiles Department’s spring lecture series: Textiles at the Intersection: Architecture, Art, and Science.  On March 21, Professor Yelavich will speak of her research on her forthcoming book Petrified Curtains: Animate Architextiles in which she explores the relationship between textiles… Read More

Design Frontiers: territories, concepts, technologies

The 8th ICDHS conference, “Design Frontiers: territories, concepts, technologies,” aims to discuss how design history and design studies may push the limits of design knowledge. The frontiers of design may be challenged by the exploration of new territories, by the establishment of new concepts, by the emergence of new technologies, as well as by rediscovering… Read More

Mind the Gap

Open Design Now: Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive

I first heard the expression “mind the gap” on the London Underground.  I thought it so much more considerate than “don’t fall in between the trains.”  In the same spirit of consideration, we offer the following titles as a way of filling some of the gaps that are inevitable in anyone’s design education, given how… Read More

International Conference on Design Creativity

The 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity will provide a forum to discuss the nature and potential of design creativity from both theoretical and methodological viewpoints. It will include panel discussions on the directions for design creativity research. The aim of these discussions is to develop directions for future research on design creativity.

Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency: Common Assembly

Mar 14 – Jun 2, 2012 | Exhibition The James Gallery is pleased to present the work Common Assembly by Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency, a design group and residency program founded by Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal, and Eyal Weizman in Beit Sahour, Palestine. For their first exhibition in New York, Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency will produce… Read More


The School of Art Design History and Theory at Parsons and the History Department at the New School for Social Research are sponsoring Design/History/Revolution: An Experimental Workshop at the Frontier of Art, Design, Politics and Historical Study on April 27-28, 2012. This conference explores the relationships between design, history and revolution and brings together scholars… Read More

Insights Interviews Susan Yelavich

Design Studies director Susan Yelavich was recently interviewed by Insights, the magazine of the School of Art and Design History and Theory at Parsons. Here’s some of what she had to say about the new design studies program: I can imagine students who will be issue-driven, students who are driven by attraction to a particular… Read More

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.