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Master in Design Studies: Art, Design and the Public Domain
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Above: Ashley Mendelsohn, Widener Waves.
Above: Ashley Mendelsohn, Widener Waves.

The phrase “spatial practice” has become a confident and widely used term to describe a variety of architectural and artistic engagements with society and the city. In many ways, it defines the new and moving boundary of the design discipline. Seeking to engage with the public and social realm—physical or virtual—with a view to shaping and transforming human action and historical experience, the Art, Design and the Public Domain (ADPD) concentration of the Masters in Design Studies (MDes) program gathers creative and ambitious individuals from all backgrounds and academic disciplines with a predilection for intervention, exhibition and public work, and a keen interest in contemporary issues of urban, historical, aesthetic and technological culture.
 The program offers a high degree of freedom for exploration and research in expanding the limits of spatial practice and integrating artists into the process of planning and design.

ADPD program participants are practicing artists, filmmakers, architects and cultural producers wishing to reframe, reboot and develop a practice of creative and imaginative speculation or art-related work with an emphasis on sophisticated thinking, advanced fabrication methodologies and techniques, and social and aesthetic engagement. The program strongly welcomes unconventional proposals for study that address emerging issues in all aspects of the changing social and cultural environment, and is designed to accommodate graduated MFAs as well as to serve the purposes of a traditional MFA program in lieu of an orthodox art academy. Students benefit from a wide variety of assets within the Harvard GSD—cultural theory, applied computation, fabrication, speculative design—and from strong links to other parts of Harvard University including Visual and Environmental Studies. In addition to collaborations with international centers of political and experimental arts, the program boasts an impressive group of associated faculty: contemporary artists and leaders of thought committed to working in a close relationship with the program and its participants.

Area coordinators:
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Professor in Residence of Art and the Public Domain
Sanford Kwinter, Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism

Associated faculty:
Giuliana Bruno, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies
Benjamin Buchloh, Professor of Modern Art
David Edwards, Professor of the Practice of Idea Translation, Founder and Director of Le Laboratoire
Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, and of History of Art and Architecture; Interim Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Jeffrey Schnapp, Affiliated Professor of Architecture, Professor of Romance Languages and Literature, Faculty Director of metaLAB
Sam Auinger, Faculty Associate
Theaster Gates, Faculty Associate
Alfredo Jaar, Faculty Associate
Natalie Jeremijenko, Faculty Associate
Ronald Jones, Faculty Associate
Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Faculty Associate
Jill Magid, Faculty Associate
Michael Rakowitz, Faculty Associate
Greg Sholette, Faculty Associate
Henry Urbach, Faculty Associate

Associated institutions:
Institute for Spatial Experiments
Ecole des Sciences Politiques
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

The Master in Design Studies (MDes) at the Harvard GSD is a post-professional design research program comprised of eight concentration areas: Art, Design and the Public Domain; Critical Conservation; Energy and Environments; History and Philosophy of Design; Real Estate and the Built Environment; Risk and Resilience; Technology; Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology.

The MDes Thesis Colloquium will take place on May 14, 2014.

For more information: gsd.harvard.edu/designstudies

To apply: gsd.harvard.edu/admissions
Application deadline: January 10, 2014

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November 26, 2013