The more theoretical aspects of design—from design history to theory and methodology—are the focus of a new Design Studies graduate masters program at Parsons The New School For Design.
“We were trying to think of a program that shapes the future, bridging the past and the present and bringing the history of design into the future. We're thinking of a new tomorrow,” said David Brody, director of the Design Studies program. Brody has been with Parsons for eight years, and wrote the book Design Studies: A Reader with Hazel Clark, which will provide a base for the types of topics and courses that the Design Studies program will have.
While students will have the chance for more practical application if they choose, the 42-credit program is geared at shaping an overall understanding of all aspects of design, from commerce and ethics to the philosophy of design, creating a truly interdisciplinary program.
The program has already attracted attention, with an open house attended by 30 potential students, according to Brody.
“It's very exciting,” he said. “We are trying to attract students from a range of disciplines as well, from current interior designers to those with a background in history, engineering or sociology.”
The inaugural class will be small, about 15 students, ensuring a detailed and in-depth educational experience. And, while there its currently no undergraduate program in design studies, Brody doesn't rule out the possibility that one could be created in the future.
“We really wanted to rethink what's been going on with design studies,” Brody said. “We'll be looking at contemporary design practice and the questions around that, for example.”
Parsons currently has a masters in History of Decorative Arts and Design (which just celebrated its 30th anniversary) and the MA in Fashion Studies which launched last fall. The new Design Studies degree will launch Fall 2012.