Transdisciplinary Design 101

Last week, Parsons the New School for Design announced that it will begin offering an MFA in “Transdisciplinary Design” this fall. If you have no idea what that means, you’re not alone–the program’s chair, Jamer Hunt, recently made a short video to find out how some random New Yorkers would define the nascent discipline. (Watch until the end for a cameo appearance by MoMA’s Paola Antonelli.)

Tongue-in-cheek reporting aside, the new program is essentially an attempt to bring design thinking into the academy. According to a press release, it will focus on “studio-based projects that bring together experts from a variety of backgrounds and points of view to tackle real-world challenges.” Students will enroll is one of four “flexible pathways that address social, sustainability, systems and urban issues.”

To learn more, keep an eye on Hunt’s TransBlog–or head over to the Theresa Lang Student & Community Center tomorrow at 6 p.m. to catch the first of a series of lectures on transdisciplinary design, featuring Harvard legal professor Yochai Benkler in conversation with the Swedish designer Anna Valtonen (full details here). And mark your calendars for March 26, when Parsons and MoMA will present a one-day symposium on “the untapped medium of scent as a new territory for design.”

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