Located in the heart of one of the vibrant creative economies in the world, the BFA program in Art, Media, and Technology (BFA AMT) takes full advantage of Paris, offering students extraordinary educational, cultural, and professional opportunities for the growing number of students who seek a range of experience across art, design, media, technology, globalism, and culture. The next generation of creative thinkers, products and experiences will demand local and global relevance and sophistication, which is supported by a streamlined, distributed, international experience. At the heart of the program is the shared concept of creative practice concerned with expressive, transformative and persuasive aesthetics made manifest by the synthesis of making, thinking and articulating.
The core curriculum provides a unique combination of drawing, photographic thinking, and visual computing as the primary foundation. As the student progresses, the program supports an integrated, interdisciplinary path of inquiry and making, embracing the iterative prototyping and research processes comprising idea development, as well as production of meaningful and responsive works.
The program will present two informal advising pathways: “Art” and “Design”. Rather than differentiating between the realms of art and design, these two pathways are intended to accommodate and support students undertaking work in either area, or potentially both. Students will be expected to develop breadth of knowledge across disciplines, as well as deep knowledge and skills within at last one discipline/domain. The goal of the program is to foster reflective practice, shaping students into critically engaged, cosmopolitan innovators. As with all undergraduate programs at Parsons, the “City as Laboratory” will provide an overarching theme and container.
By providing broad pathways in “Design” and “Art”, the program’s approach will appeal to the growing numbers of students that are not served by existing programs, which are shaped by single-disciplinary curricula:
The “Design” pathway combines a variety of areas of emphasis (graphic design, animation, photography, publishing, Internet). This is expected to appeal to increasingly sophisticated students who wish to work across visual domains with the ability to adapt to changing markets and creative industries, in which disciplinary boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred.
The “Art” pathway expands the more traditional approaches of Art practice to provide the space and support for students interested in areas of emphasis that connect photography, new media, and computational technology to the study of drawing, painting, and sculpture.
The aim of this curricular structure is to innovate in emerging, interdisciplinary, and/or collaborative art, media, and technology areas using a curricular approach that allows and encourages students to reflect directly on their experience prior to enrolling in the program; the ultimate goal being to prepare students for a dramatically shifting employment world post-graduation. Through a dynamic exchange between studio and liberal arts courses, the curriculum bridges worldviews, disciplines, and practices in an effort to further advance new and compelling strategies of creative production in an increasingly complex and globalized economy.
In the BFA AMT, students develop their creative work in the context of an interdisciplinary exchange between singular disciplines, among various audiences, and within various perspectives and methodologies. Students explore increasingly complex concepts of scale within their curriculum, moving from a human or personal scale towards an urban/systems scale.
During the freshman year, all Parsons students share a new first year curriculum, which provides a foundational experience in art and design, with other freshman BFA students. In the common first year experience, students have the opportunity to select options from within the first year studio courses. Students may choose to explore broadly or to seek out courses inflected by their disciplinary interests. This opportunity to make choices within the first year aligns with the flexibility that is an important aspect of the larger curriculum re-design, allowing for students to experience a variety of pathways through Parsons, including full transferability to the New York Campus.
During the sophomore and junior years, the curriculum of the BFA AMT program continues work started freshman year on developing core design principles within visual and time-based foci, and introduces new themes such as photographic, computational, interactive, installational, and performative media. Within these studios, students are introduced to critical perspectives within the discipline(s). They learn new methodologies of working, and engage with studio work within an increasingly rigorous design process.
The primary curricular element that provides cohesion within the program is the suite of Core Studio courses, which are paired with a Lab course in the ﬁrst three semesters to provide a broad skill base. Students are able to elect additional studio courses each semester, which will help further shape their area of emphasis. Students integrate their design research, interests and elective course work into a series of their own projects that emphasize self-definition and engender rigorous art and design practices.
Students are encouraged to experiment across boundaries and build up experience, rather than having to formally decide between art and design pursuit. Later, during their junior year curriculum, BFA AMT students will choose “Topics” and “Collaborative” studios that begin to delineate their final capstone projects. Students within the BFA AMT program are never required to choose strictly and formally between art and design, but instead to make their choice, more informally, via course selection and project definition. Because the BFA AMT program relies on studio and elective courses within the five existing AMT disciplines (Fine Arts, Photography, Communication Design, Design and Technology, and Illustration), there is flexibility for movement between programs up until the start of the junior year (students “transferring” out of the BFA AMT into one of the more disciplinary-focused majors, and vice-versa, students choosing to transfer into the BFA AMT from the more disciplinary-focused majors).
During the senior year, the Thesis 1 & 2 Studios shape the year-long thesis process. The fall semester is dedicated to ideation, research and prototyping. Students are expected to begin the second semester with a solid design concept and research, and dedicate the spring term to the production of the thesis project. Throughout both their junior and senior years students take studio electives to support their Core work, as well as shape their area of emphasis in anticipation of the thesis work. At some point during their final two years students within the BFA AMT will be encouraged to undertake a professional internship.
|Integrative Studio 1 and Integrative Seminar 1||6||-|
|Integrative Studio 2 and Integrative Seminar 2||-||6|
|Objects as History: From
Prehistory to Industrializationndustrialization
|Core Studio 1: Narrative||4||-|
|Core Lab 1: Narrative||2||-|
|Dynamic Drawing & Letterforms||3||-|
|History of Art, Media & Technology||3||-|
|Core Studio: Spatial||-||4|
|Core Lab: Spatial||-||2|
|Art History Elective||-||3|
|Core Studio 3: Responsive||4||-|
|Core Lab 3: Responsive||2||-|
|Core Studio 4: Topics||-||6|
|Art History TBD||3||-|
|Art History TBD||-||3|
|Art History TBD||3||-|
|Art History TBD||-||3|
COURSE DESCRIPTIONS: FIRST YEAR
Drawing / Imaging
This course is an introduction to the way that meaning is constructed and communicated through visual images. In this intensive studio, students use traditional drawing and digital imaging methods to explore the conceptual, aesthetic and formal qualities that inform how concepts are expressed on a two-dimensional plane. Students explore visual organization, representational and abstract forms and engagement through drawing from observation, photography, digital image creation, and integration of a variety of media. The tools and methods explored in this course form an introductory platform that Parsons students will build upon in their upper level disciplinary courses.
Space / Materiality
This studio course is an active engagement with spaces and materials. Projects introduce students to a variety of skills, tools, media and methods and utilize the Parsons’ modeling facilities and hybrid studio/shop classrooms where first-hand experience affirms the relationship between making and learning. Students confront the many aspects of spaces and materials, such as malleability, weight, texture, color, durability, smell, sound, taste, life cycle, and ecological impacts.
The relationship of making and thinking is central to this studio. Students examine their own process and intentions as they experience the relationship between the self and the world around them. Areas of focus include the movement of the body and how it impacts the experience of a project’s development and the way that a choice of a material or tool can change the way that an idea grows. Drawing and imaging are used as exploratory tools to visualize ideas as well as to create work plans that can be developed in the modeling facilities and studio. Discussion, critique and written responses offer opportunities for students to communicate ideas about their projects and those of their classmates and to understand their work in historical and cultural context.
Integrative Studio 1 and Integrative Seminar 1
In Integrative Studio I students explore a range of visual, analytical, and making skills while working on projects that are collaborative and cross-disciplinary. The focus of this course is not only on the “how” of making things, but also the “why.” How is it that we make sense of our ideas, the information we collect, and our hunches and theories? And what can this inquiry tell us about why we make decisions as creative thinkers? Students work in teams on projects that encourage exploration through research and prototyping, and are expected to integrate learning from other first year courses and experiences into their work.
This course shares a common theme with Integrative Seminar I and at various times in the semester, the two classes share ideas, concepts and assignments, bringing together reading, writing and making in a manner that is essential to the creative work of artists and designers in every discipline. The Parsons Learning Portfolio is introduced and developed in this course type.
This course surveys, from multiple perspectives, the sources of energy that designers make use of when designing better futures. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, and fieldwork and experiments, students will be introduced to the physics, chemistry and biology of energy, and how these principles translate to the everyday experiences people have of their food, devices, clothes, rooms, buildings, transport and cities, etc. Students will learn about the issues surrounding societal energy sources, such as the pollution associated with their production and use, risks of climate change, or the challenges associated with infrastructural dependence on dwindling supplies. From a common foundation, students will be able to focus on the energy systems associated with particular kinds of designing.
Integrative Studio 2 and Integrative Seminar 2
This course builds from the work of the fall semester as students explore issues relevant to the disciplines and creative practices that they might pursue in their future studies at Parsons. Students engage in a wide range of approaches to research and process as they work on projects that investigate and re-interpret the systems that surround us.
Research is approached collaboratively, and teams gather information and insights in order to create individual art and design responses through project-based discovery. Students make explicit use of digital tools and online platforms that extend the research and creative problem solving undertaken in class and in their fieldwork. The studio is paired with the Integrative Seminar and these two courses bring making, reading, writing and research together in a way that is a crucial element in future study and practice.
In this course students explore issues relevant to the disciplines and creative practices that they might pursue in their future studies at Parsons. As with the first semester, the Integrative Seminar II privileges all types of reading and writing and builds necessary skills such as reading strategies; formal writing strategies; argumentation and thesis development; and self and peer assessment. The skills acquired in the first semester are expanded through the introduction of a wide variety of research methods, both digital and analog and in projects that are shared with the paired Integrative Studio II course. Concepts, skills, and projects move between the two classes to reinforce the way that artists and designers generate, execute, and communicate their ideas and to help illuminate questions that face contemporary creative practice.
This course is an introduction to the cultural and perceptual constructions of time. Learning to work with time involves more than editing video and sound into linear sequences. It entails the consideration of time as a designed idea that can function as a tool to understand how objects can function, environments can be perceived, and experiences can be shared.
Studio projects, readings, writing, and examples of many artists’ work are used to examine how ideas such as frame, duration, and speed have evolved to impact our understanding of time. A variety of methods and media, from digital video, to drawing, to performance, are used to explore and represent different cross disciplinary notions of time found in the fields of art, design, science, and industry. Students will leave the course with a basic knowledge of creating digital sequential layouts and audio-visual sequences.
Objects as History: From Prehistory to Industrialization
This course introduces students to major trends in world history and to the considered study of objects as expressions of a particular place and time. Its structure is roughly chronological, beginning in prehistory and continuing until the dawn of mass industrialization—a development that occurred at different times for different cultures. The focus will be on objects—from ordinary tools of daily life to extraordinary monuments of skill and design. These objects will be explored in terms of how and why they were made, by whom and for whom, how they were used, what they meant to their users, and what social structures are embedded in them. It also serves as an introduction to artistic styles and stylistic change. The course will thus touch upon aesthetics, philosophy, religion, technology, cultural and political structures, economic development, and will build upon interrelationships among societies and types of objects across time. Students will gain an understanding of the broad arc of historical eras and the varieties of human culture as well as training in the visual analysis of design objects. The course will deemphasize categorical divisions between the fine arts and other forms of production, focusing instead on the inherent cultural meanings, sacred or profane, exclusive or popular, of particular objects for their makers and users.
First Year Elective
This course provide students an opportunity to complement and build upon their first-year studio experiences with offerings that might include disciplinary studios, advanced skills studios, and exploratory studios. The course options give students the chance to bolster their skills, experience a topic related to a discipline of interest, or to simply explore an unfamiliar way of experiencing art and design.