ArtCenter College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.

Find out more about our department at artcenter.edu/mdp

How do designers operate in a world of perpetual change? What is the relationship between future speculation and today’s very real, very immediate challenges? And how might such conditions generate new practices in design? These are the issues students raise and tackle head-on in Media Design Practices (MDP).

Our interdisciplinary MFA is grounded in media—graphic, visual, interactive, spatial, experiential—and technology. We explore the role of design in the world through two different but related contexts, reflected in the names of our tracks: Lab and Field.

Lab track students use design to explore the implications of emerging ideas from science, culture and technology. Students design potential futures to grapple with issues such as digital privacy or connected bodies. Projects and partners change every year, and may include NASA scientists, offbeat Los Angeles cultural institutions or Silicon Valley engineers.

Field track students study local practices and global systems in diverse international contexts, from refugee camps to corporate boardrooms to urban slums. Using a mix of ethnography, prototyping and speculation, students design in the context of urgent social issues, working abroad for up to three months. The Field track partners with Designmatters, Art Center’s social impact program.

When these two tracks come together—in the studio, classes and reviews—a vibrant dialogue emerges. What results is an array of student perspectives that recast the role of technology in society in surprising new ways. Upon graduation, students are ready to launch a design practice that is uniquely suited to the challenges of our time.

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