The MFA in Design & Technology at Parsons Paris (MFADT-Paris) will launch in fall 2014 and is the sister program to Design & Technology at Parsons, the first two points in an international design learning network. The emphasis of the program in Paris is the interchange between progressive scholarship and real-world projects, allowing for imaginative work in theory and grounded practice. Distinguishing factors of DT-Paris include more opportunity for peer exchange supported by the curricular structure, collaborative projects and extracurricular activities with peers and faculty at DT-NYC, a smaller cohort, and a dynamic and central location in Europe providing access and influences from the region, extending to the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
The emphasis of the Design & Technology program in Paris (MFADT-Paris) will be interactive systems, including games, physical interfaces, interactive art, dynamic data visualization, mobile media and more. This will take place within a studio-centric curriculum. Each of the four semesters, students will take a Studio course that provides a hub for their research and creative practice. A core full-time faculty member will teach the studio, providing a link to Parsons-NYC and ensuring the development of a studio culture within the program. In addition to the Studio, students will take an Academic course. In the first year, this will be the lecture course “Design for This Century”, which will be run in conjunction with New York. The course’s lectures will happen in either Paris or New York and will be delivered via video-recorded lectures and downloadable slides to the other city. An on-site recitation section will provide context for the lectures, foster discussion sessions, and provide support for assignments. Collaboration Studios provide opportunities for real-world interface through design, collaborative skills, and work that is grounded in a social context. For the program’s inaugural year, Collaboration Studios will begin in the Spring semester. Finally, to complete the curricular structure, courses focused on the development of design craft and practice augment the Studio courses. These include “Creativity and Computation Lab”, a course extending and reinforcing the skills of programming and physical computing.
To support a diverse set of courses and potential interests within the constraints of a small class size a new course called “Design & Technology Workshop” will be created to house a variety of workshops in different areas of interactive practice. DTW will expose students to the range of object-types, tools, techniques and methodologies used by the fields that operate under the DT banner. The course will also allow a peer exchange between DT-NYC faculty, students and alumni, as well as special guest lecturers from the region.
The course will be consist of mini (3-5 class sessions) and micro (1-2 class sessions) workshops in specific areas, amounting to a diverse set of topics in 15 weeks (see course description below). These workshops can be conducted online, on-site, or in online/on-site combination. A possible sequence:
Week 1: Micro 1: Subject
Weeks 2-4: Mini 1: Subject
Weeks 5-7: Mini 2: Subject
Week 8: Micro 2: Subject
Weeks 9-11: Mini 3: Subject
Weeks 12-15: Mini 4: Subject
In the second year of the program, there will be an advanced-level Design & Technology Workshop where the topics will be determined in advance from student thesis topics. This will entail an identification of general areas of research and work in the Spring and Summer prior to the thesis year. This will enable invitation and calls for workshop session leaders. Workshop facilitators could come from within the faculty or student/alumni body at Parsons NY, within Paris, or from abroad.
Bootcamp is an important entry-point and introduction to the DT program and its culture. DT Paris students are encouraged to attend the NYC bootcamp in order to build skills, make important connections with DT NYC students, and gain entry into the unique culture that is Design and Technology. It’s important that the incoming cohort have a bonding experience with their peers from both programs to ensure that there is a genuine impulse to connect, exchange and work together through future Workshops and other collaborative opportunities and to promote general camaraderie.
|Major Studio 1||6||-|
|Design for this Century (Lecture)||3||-|
|Design for this Century (Recitation)||-||-|
|Creativity and Computation Lab||3||-|
|Design and Technology Workshop||3||3|
|Major Studio 2||-||6|
|Thesis Studio 1||6||-|
|Design Writing and Research||3||-|
|Collaboration Studio or Elective||3||-|
|Collaboration Studio or Elective||3||-|
|Thesis Studio 2||-||6|
|Collaboration Studio or Elective||-||3|
|Collaboration Studio or Elective||-||3|
Major Studio 1 and 2
The Major Studios provide the unifying core experience of the program. In Major Studio 1, students build a set of design tools they will use throughout the program: iterative design methodologies, presentation and critique, creative ideation and choosing appropriate technologies. In Major Studio 2, students will build on this toolset with methods for sustained research and connecting to a community of practice, generating a “mini-thesis”.
Design for this Century
This lecture course is designed for first-year graduate students as an introduction to comprehending design as a mode of acting in the world. The course considers design generically without preference to one specialism and draws its examples from the full spectrum of design professions and activities. The context it adopts is to consider design in relation to the some of the major shifts opened in the C21st, particularly in relation to the deep un-sustainability of what-is and the emergence of the artificial as the horizon and medium of life. The course looks at design in three ways: (i) in terms of the capabilities of design; (ii) poetically, or the question of design as resonance and attunement; (iii) as Meta-Design in terms of the expanded field of practice necessitated by the shifting conditions and challenges of the C21st; (iv) as a critical, political and ethical practice.
Design for this Century Recitation
This is the recitation course for Design for this Century. This is an on-site course.
Creativity and Computation Lab
As an introductory course, we will build upon the Bootcamp Code curriculum towards exploring the basics of programming at the service of art and design. After delving deeper into the Processing environment, we will introduce concepts of Physical Computing with Arduino and introduce the openFrameworks creative coding platform, with an ultimate goal of providing support of major studio projects.
Design & Technology Workshop
Sample Structure for one semester:
- Prototyping and Iteration (2 weeks)
- Game Design (5 weeks)
- Computer Vision (2 weeks)
- Sound Synthesis (1 week)
- Physical Interfaces (5 weeks)
Mini-workshops could include (but are not limited to):
- Interaction Design
- Game Design
- Physical Interfaces
- Creative Coding
Micro-workshops may include:
- Computer Vision
- Mobile and Locational Media
- Sound Synthesis and Sonic Interfaces
- Prototyping and Iteration
- Design and Ethnography
- Toy Hacking
- Data Visualization
- Urban Interventions
Essential to the students’ development in the MFADT program is exposure to the theoretical ideas, work, and design research practices of key individuals working within the realm of design and technology. Academic Electives expose students to the theories, methodologies, and development processes that contemporary design and technology projects require. Because of the diversity of the MFADT student population, these courses tend to look at design and technology from a variety of cultural perspectives. The location of the school in Paris encourages additional cultural cross-pollination.
Academic Electives support the primary and secondary research being done by students within the Major Studio and serve as preparation for the Thesis Studio in the second year of study. The hope is that the two types of courses (studio and seminar) feed off one another, equipping the student with a robust conceptual and critical toolset. Academic Electives are taught in a seminar format, and emphasize critical thinking, design writing, discussion, and the development of an individual perspective.
Within the Parsons DT studio environment, great emphasis is placed on collaboration and team dynamics. Collaboration Studios (or Collab Studios) are a unique type of studio course within the DT curriculum, which places these two ideas at the center of their curriculum and course goals. The Collab studio pairs teams of students with industry partners to undertake real-world projects. Many of the collaboration studios are dedicated to faculty research areas, with cross-disciplinary teams formed from the various design disciplines at Parsons.
Thesis 1 & 2
The thesis is the systematic study of a design question. It requires students to identify an idea and area of study, research its major assumptions and precedents, explain the significance of the undertaking, set forth the process and method for proposing solutions, create prototypes, and offer a conclusion through the production of a body of work. The finished project (product) evidences originality and experimentation, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. The Thesis Project can take many forms, from a game or software tool, to an installation, database, or social experiment, and demonstrates the application of ideas within an applied context, whether it be design, art, commerce, or theory.
Design Writing & Research
Learning to use design writing as a way to document and develop research concepts, methods, and prototypes is the primary objective of the Thesis Writing and Research Laboratory. Students will explore various forms of design writing including (but not limited to) white papers, essays, process documents, and design briefs as forms of expression for their thesis concepts. The goal is to begin to better understand the range of writing activities in which design technologists engage, and to see the invaluable role writing plays as a creative and critical act within the thesis design process. Writing fundamentals will be covered including structure (part to whole organization, hierarchical headings to guide readers); connectivity (coherence and flow of main ideas with supportive illustrative, detail, part introductions, transitional phrases), mechanics (sentences and paragraphs as units of thought; vocabulary that conveys meaning) and author voice/persona (direct communication with readers about the project and its process).
Design & Technology Workshop II
Series II of the DT Workshops is formed through the interests of students engaging in thesis. Before the semester begins (a semester ahead of the next), a set of topics will be developed by students and faculty. First years with experience can take this with permission. One thing to consider: first-year students partnering with second year students to learn and work with them on thesis areas of research and development.