Trans (across) Discipline (study)

Parsons The New School for Design launched a new Masters program this spring:

"Emphasizing collaborative design-led research, the MFA Transdisciplinary Design in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons will serve as an academic laboratory in New York City for graduate students seeking to define the next phase of design practice globally.

The complex problems that confront a networked 24/7 global culture call for broad design approaches. Parsons created the MFA in Transdisciplinary Design (TransDesign) for a new generation of designers who want to address pressing social issues using new ideas, tools, and methods. Students work in cross-disciplinary teams, consider issues from multiple perspectives, gain insight from industry leaders, and emerge with a portfolio of projects showcasing design as a process for transforming the way we live in the 21st century.

Graduates of the MFA TransDesign program will possess a unique set of skills and capacities that will distinguish them professionally. Students learn to practice:

• Reflective collaboration – working flexibly in multidisciplinary teams to solve highly complex problems

• Complexity modeling – visually modeling complex systems and social structures to yield new insights

• Critical reframing – examining problems and turning them into design opportunities

• Design-led research – articulating a research problem and exploring it through a design process

• Fitness prototyping – discovering an appropriate resolution of a problem that belongs to no single design field.

Read an interview with Jamer Hunt, chair of Urban and Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons.

What does "Transdisciplinary" mean? Just ask the man or woman on the street...

Selected Reading