MDES Design Innovation & Citizenship

The Masters in Design Innovation & Citizenship at The Glasgow School of Art explores the relationship between design practice and contemporary society and encourages a design-led critique of the present aimed at informing the future. The programme asks design practitioners to step beyond their traditional professional and occupational role and to consider the broader application of design practices, as a means of formulating and articulating social change.

This programme offers students the opportunity to address directly both the prevailing and emerging social and economic production of interactions, interfaces, services and experiences. In challenging the purpose, methods and ambitions of current design practice, students will identify opportunities for new design activity, pioneer innovative forms of engagement and collaborate with citizens to generate responses to emerging problems, political issues and social phenomena.

Graduates will be able to demonstrate a research focused, critical and collaborative design process, capable of tackling the challenges of 21st century life; of exploring the transformative possibilities of new technology and data; of mapping the changing role of the public sector and its interventions in the lives of its citizens; of identifying and developing new social and economic models of design and production; of utilising the language and practice of design to formulate innovative approaches to complex problems and emerging social relationships.

Graduates of Design & Citizenship will seek to deploy their creative capacity beyond the world of consultancy or in-house design, embracing challenges within areas as diverse as public policy, private sector enterprise, citizen or social advocacy, public sector service provision, social enterprise and/or the voluntary sector. We believe the designer as citizen is a reflective professional who is as intellectually adept at formulating a new design challenge as he or she is at creating an innovative response to such a challenge.

The programme will focus on these specific areas:
– Contemporary civil society and its engagement with the Social, Public, and Private Sectors;
– Emerging issues in society – the challenges provoked by new scientific, technological, economic constructs and/or material possibilities;
– Extending the epistemological framework of design practice and the engagement with contemporary culture and the lives of its inhabitants.

It will encourage the following types of design activity:
– The making of artefacts, services, systems and experiences that respond to contemporary social relations;
– Articulating a critique of the cultural conditions presently shaping citizenship and the effects upon these caused by scientific or technological advances;
– The generation of new strategies, methods, tools and processes to contribute to social change prompted by economic, societal and ecological transformation;
– Strategies and activities involving direct political and social action affecting issues of change encompassing governmental policy, health, wellbeing and the lived environment.

An international studio
Students benefit from strong links with other academic institutions across Europe and internationally (USA, India and China). The course is taught in a truly collaborative studio setting that brings together students from around the world, e.g. UK, China, India, South Korea, Japan and South America.

Our international links provide an opportunity to gain experience that is relevant on a global platform. You will experience our annual Winter School, which is a collaboration with students and faculty from schools such as The Royal Academy of Art & Design (Copenhagen) and KISD (Køln), while participants from Japan and the USA may also feature.

Programme Director
Dr. Gordon Hush
Programme Leader
Don McIntyre
Programme Co-ordinator
Dr. Iain Reid
Studio Leader
Elio Caccavale & Dr. Brian Dixon
Studio Tutor
Ian Grout

How to Apply

More information on this course is available on The Glasgow School of Art website.

Further Information on applying to the Graduate School is available from registry@gsa.ac.uk