Designing Utopia

Designing Utopia

Bard Graduate Center

Photo: Da Ping Luo.

April 23, 2024
Designing Utopia
Summer course in New York City
Application deadline: May 1
Program dates: July 10–23
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Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street
New York, New York 10024
United States

Contact: [​at​]

Design is an act of revolution. The complex human process of designing–conceiving, planning, iterating, and executing–new (or improved) objects for a spectrum of uses and purposes is a direct and concrete means for effecting social, cultural, and political change. 

Designing Utopia,” Bard Graduate Center’s summer course in design history and material culture studies, is open to undergraduates and recent college graduates. Based in NYC and led by associate professor Freyja Hartzell, the curriculum combines small seminars with visits to museums and private collections. This intensive two-week course explore the history of modern and contemporary design in North America and Europe, from the nineteenth century through today, as a series of utopian projects. The experience culminates with a final project that will utilize BGC’s object study collection and provide students with the opportunity to experience first-hand the delights and challenges of “designing utopia.”

Participants will examine landmark events and movements in the history of design–such as nineteenth-century British design reform as a response to the Industrial Revolution; twentieth-century German design as a nationalist impulse; and Soviet design in the wake of the 1917 October Revolution–as well as less canonical design projects, such as the Oneida community’s attempt to blend religious fervor, free love, and furniture design; the feminist push for clothing and interior design reforms; design interventions for maternity and childhood, including toy and doll design; communes and 1960s counterculture; design for disability and access; speculative design; and Afrofuturism.

Participants may earn three upper-level undergraduate credits. Housing provided in Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Apply today!

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Bard Graduate Center
April 23, 2024

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