Additional Resources

While design education may be centralized within institutions like Pratt, there have been myriad responses to institutional shortcomings regarding rising discourses of ethics and responsibility. Both IRL and URL groups have formed in response to the urgent need for politicized design pedagogy.

The 20th century played host to a wave of counter-institutional learning; perhaps the most famous of these experimental ventures was Black Mountain college, an alternative university with a co-operative ethos and ambitions to dissolve student-teacher hierarchies. (1) New models of teaching were tested in Roy Ascott’s “Groundcourse,” (2) and student insurrection roared at London’s Hornsey College of Art (3). Though these three examples represent no single attitude, they underscore an understated-but-constant dialogue between the student body and their institution. Radical pedagogy resists stasis, and all parties involved must commit themselves to the project of learning.

Not all design education programs have resisted the changing global landscape. Tucked away in the Netherlands, Werkplaats Typografie (4) and the Sandberg Instituut (5) are often lauded as counter-commercial programs focused on instilling within their students critical approaches to design practice.

Smaller local initiatives have cropped up across the world. In Los Angeles, the Southland Institute “is dedicated to exploring, identifying, and implementing meaningful, affordable, sustainable alternatives in design and art education in the United States.” (6) In New York, spaces like SSHH (7) and XXXI offer opportunities to enroll in single or multiple session courses trained around specific creative skill sets. London’s Evening Class (8) approaches topics like unionization and post-capitalist desire through self-organized working groups, and Chicago-published Extra-curricular (9) speculates on new models for design learning. As larger institutions hopefully begin to reevaluate their design curricula, peer-organized learning continues to open space for missing conversations.

In approaching this initial “Where Are We?” work, I found that much of the framework that proved helpful for considering new design pedagogy came from beyond the immediate scope of the design field. I have compiled these resources (along with more design-centric content) on a microsite, directly linking full texts when possible. (10)

Though this body of work was initiated as my undergraduate capstone, I truly hope to continue pushing “Where Are We?” as a collaborative publishing platform. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out! I would love to share this space for our collective musings on graphic design practice. (11)

  • 1

    "Black Mountain College was an experimental college founded in 1933 by John Andrew Rice, Theodore Dreier, and several others. Based in Black Mountain, North Carolina, the school was ideologically organized around John Dewey's principles of education, which emphasized holistic learning and the study of art as central to a liberal arts education."

  • 2a

    Shift/Work: Roy Ascott | Groundcourse

  • 2b

    "In 1961 Roy Ascott established his first “Groundcourse” at Eailing Art School. An experiment in radical pedagogy, Groundcourse methodically applied cybernetic theories concerning systemic relations, communication, interactivity, participation and feedback to an everyday art school environment."

    Space Studios
  • 3

    "A student revolt as re-lived by the students themselves, The Hornsey Film reconstructs the arguments and succession of events that led to the occupation of Hornsey College of Art between May and July 1968."

    The Hornsey Film
  • 4

    "The Werkplaats Typografie (WT), a part of the ArtEZ University of the Arts, is a two-year graphic design masters programme founded in 1998 by Karel Martens and Wigger Bierma. The WT is centered on assignments and self-initiated projects with lectures, seminars, meetings and readings geared towards self-accountable and independently motivated work and research."

    Werkplaats Typografie
  • 5

    "As the postgraduate programme of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam, the Sandberg Instituut offers Master Programmes in Fine Arts, Interior Architecture and Design. The five Main Departments aim to deepen the practices of artists, designers and critics. In addition, the Temporary Programmes reflect on specific urgencies in society and the arts, and the Hosted Programmes focus on collaboration with other institutes."

    Sandberg Instituut
  • 6

    Southland Institute

  • 7

    "Sixth Street Haunted House is a new multi-purpose mutant space where you can come and learn, make, buy or share something. We opened on October 31st, 2018. SSHH is run by Bráulio Amado and Nick Schiarizzi."

  • 8

    Evening Class

  • 9


  • 10

    Ethical Practice Reader

  • 11

    Please email me with any questions, thoughts, or ideas; I would love to talk.

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