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

Published on: October 7th, 2012

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 design studies as a branch of
the humanities and the social sciences, and a critical force in industry. An international
roster of scholars, practitioners, and entrepreneurs will consider how design both shapes
specific experiences and embodies fundamental assumptions about our relationship to,
and with, the world and each other. Together, they will explore the unique potential of
design studies to operate between among the realms of research, analysis, and advocacy.

Friday, March 1, 5:00 to 7:30 pm

Welcome: Joel Towers, Dean, Parsons; Sarah E. Lawrence, Dean, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons

Introduction: Susan Yelavich, Director, MA Design Studies program, Parsons


“Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things”
Peter-Paul Verbeek, Socrates Chair, Philosophy of Man and Technology, University of Twente, The Netherlands

Saturday, March 2, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

9:30 am Breakfast

10:00 am    Welcome

Tim Marshall, Provost, The New School

10:15 am – Noon Session I: The Values in (and of) Reflective Research

“The Present-day turn towards Design Anthropology”
Alison J. Clarke, Professor, Design History and Theory, University of Applied Arts, Vienna

“Design Studies: The Challenge to a New Field”
Victor Margolin, Professor Emeritus of Design History, University of Illinois at Chicago 

Moderator: Clive Dilnot, Professor, Design Studies, Parsons 

Noon – 1:30 pm Lunch Break

1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Session II: The Values in (and of) Applied Research 

Introduction to the afternoon
Susan Yelavich

“Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Design – But Were Afraid to Ask”
Jürgen Häusler, Chairman, Interbrand Central and Eastern Europe; Professor for Strategic Business Communication at the University of Leipzig

“Design as an Essentially Political Activity—Especially within Business”
Hugh Dubberly, Principal, Dubberly Design Office, San Francisco

Moderator: Cameron Tonkinwise, Director, Design Studies, Carnegie Mellon University

3:30 pm Break

4:00-5:00 pm   Summary Roundtable: Design Studies Perspectives

Respondent Panelists:
Orit Halpern, Assistant Professor, Committee on Historical Studies, New School for Social Research
Aleksandra Wagner, Assistant Professor, Sociology, New School for Public Engagement
James Dodd, Associate Professor, Chair Philosophy, New School for Social Research
Moderator: Susan Yelavich, Parsons

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.