D–Crit Year in Review: 2023

The 2023 fall semester at SVA MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism (D-Crit) was one of the liveliest and most productive on record. We welcomed a slate of dynamic guest speakers into the studio, while our MA candidates got outside of the seminar room to explore overlooked spaces and design archives across the city. Over the last few months, the students dove into research methodologies, read stacks of cultural theory, refined their interviewing and feature-writing skills, and just last week gave outstanding thesis work-in-progress presentations to faculty and invited guest critics.

Across creative industries, D-Crit alumni and faculty are leading a wide array of critical thinking and writing projects and productions. Scroll through to see what our the global D-Crit community is up to, including several exciting announcements.

So much thoughtful work on urgent topics offers good reason to be optimistic about the future of design research as well as the year ahead. Wishing you all the best in 2024!

- Molly Heintz, Program Chair
MA Design Research, Writing & Criticism

ALUM & FACULTY UPDATES

Our alumni and faculty are out in the world working as editors, curators, designers, strategists, consultants, writers/authors, and more. Here a few highlights from 2023…

Exhibitions & Fellowships

  • Jared Dalcourt (2022) received the department’s new Applied Media Fellowship co-sponsored by Museum of 21st Century Design, D-Crit, and Susan Merritt (2015) to support turning his thesis project “Stereotypographic,” an investigation of the image of the Black male in contemporary media, into an exhibition and book.
  • Sandra Nuut (2014) curated Uneversum: Rhythms and Spaces, a new exhibition at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design in Tallinn that uses everyday objects and radical visions to explore the times and spaces in which we sleep.
  • MorcosKey, the studio of Jon Key (2021, faculty), designed the graphics for the exhibition An Atlas of Es Devlin at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
  • Looking Ahead: Objects of Change, an exhibition by William Myers (2010) and Museum of 21st Century Design, opened at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
  • Michele Y. Washington (2011) supported the exhibition Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party at Poster House as a design historian.

Bylines & Interviews

Awards & Presentations

Are you an alum with recently published work, or a new project to share? We’d love to hear from you! Send your clips to us at designresearch@sva.edu.

Members of the Class of 2024 with faculty Karrie Jacobs during a recent
site visit to TSX Entertainment in Times Square.

NOTES FROM THE STUDIO

Here’s a brief snapshot of the goings-on this season:

  • Class of 2024 kicked off the fall with several site visits around New York City for Karrie Jacobs’ course Contemporary Issues in Design: Public Space, including a visit to TSX Entertainment, the newest cultural venue in Times Square.
  • In Approaches to Design History, students visited the Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at Cooper Union with faculty (and alum) Jon Key, as well as the Cooper Hewitt library design archives with chair Molly Heintz to immerse themselves in thrill of hands-on archival research. Learn more about our courses!
  • This December, we launched “Podcast Workshop: Writing for the Ear,” with SVA Continuing Education, a two-day online workshop led by faculty member and audio journalism expert Leital Molad!
  • New York Review of Architecture is hosting a weekly editorial workshop with our students, helmed by D-Crit faculty and NYRA publisher Nicolas Kemper.
  • Class of 2024 wrapped up the semester with fantastic thesis-work-in-progress presentations! Topics include: the impacts of subversive iconography used by white supremacists and Russian nationalists; street culture in Indonesia; the design of queer domestic spaces; the role of museums in civil society; AI as a perpetrator of bias; and designing safety in synagogues. Stay tuned for final thesis presentations in May at the SVA Theatre — it’s going to be a thought-provoking day!
  • We are currently accepting students for Class of 2025! If you or someone in your network is ready for an MA at the frontiers of design, share this newsletter and apply by January 15!

STUDIO SESSIONS

During Studio Sessions this fall we hosted a collection of thinkers, writers, and designers transforming design discourse. Links to their work below:

Mindy Seu performed a reading of cross-references in her book Cyberfeminism Index, an “anti-canon” celebrating and spotlighting cyberfeminism’s long-ignored origins and its expansive legacy.

Jarrett Fuller reflected on alternative publishing and design discourse through his podcast Scratching the Surface.

  • Pau Garcia and Martina Nadal (Domestic Data Streamers) investigated writing AI anti-prompts to circumvent bias.
  • Maggie Taft unpacked the research process behind her new book The Chieftain and the Chair about rise and promotion of Danish mid-century design.
  • Tara Dabir (Pentagram) dissected the power of writing impactful case studies for designers of all disciplines.
  • Leo Porto and Felipe Rocha (Porto Rocha) argued for the power of collaboration for designers of all types, and how it amplifies the value of work.
  • Jennifer Krasinski, Jessica Lynne, Niela Orr, and Jennifer Kabat gathered to discuss how research empowers their work as prolific writers, editors, and critics.
  • Photographer Christopher Payne and design journalist Julie Lasky dug into his new book Made in America during the 2023 Ralph Caplan Memorial Lecture.
  • Yin Kong (Think!Chinatown) and innovation strategist Amanda Ramos explored how design can support social change, and how it starts with care and awareness of impacts on communities.

More vibrant conversations about design to come in this spring — stay tuned to our email list and social media!

Applications are now open for Class of 2025! Interested in a career grounded in design research, writing, or criticism? Our two-semester master’s that explores the contexts and consequences of design may be perfect for you.

Join our INFO SESSION on TUESDAY JANUARY 9 at 7pm, the last event before the January 15 application deadline. Attendees will receive an $80 application fee waiver. Program Chair Molly Heintz, D-Crit faculty, and alumni will give an overview of the program, including insights into the experience for ELL and international students, and FAQs about applying and scholarship funding.

Learn more, and apply by January 15, 2024!

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SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

We’re a two-semester MA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City dedicated to the study of design, its contexts and consequences. Aka DCrit. ✏️🔍💡