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Announcing the 2018 Paul Polak Scholarship for DSI

We are delighted to announce that for the fourth year, incoming students can apply for the Paul Polak Scholarship from MFA Design for Social Innovation. Paul has been a friend, adviser and inspiration to our program, and to the millions of people around the world whose lives he has changed through his work to end…

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New Clients and Partners

DSI students learn the practice of Social Design not only by theory, but through practice, working with exciting organizations, on the most important issues. This year, teams in the Communication Design class are working with Dr. Ruth Gates, a marine biologist who is selectively breeding corals to withstand the effects of climate change in the…

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Announcing the first Fast Track Winners

Fast Track is a new DSI initiative intended to take students’ bold ideas to the real world. DSI faculty Asi Burak and Maggie Breslin are leading the program, and will mentor the winners and get them the help they need to realize their ideas. The first winners are Catalina Cipri, who is developing a Facebook…

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A Definition Five Years in the Making

Social innovation design is the creation and propagation of healthy, mutually beneficial relationships between humans, technology and the earth. It has the potential to impact every business, government, city, neighborhood and individual. This is what our program is about, what we teach and what our graduates are out in the world doing. To put it more succinctly, it’s the design of the relationships between people and things instead of only the things themselves.

Open House 2016

Now in our 5th year, DSI’s annual Open House has grown in both numbers and spirit, with this years festivities the liveliest so far. With potential students coming as far as Colombia to learn about our program, it was a wonderful mix of people who plan to apply, current students, alumni, faculty and staff. Four…

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DSI Career Fair: Looking Forward

On April 1st, current DSI students and interested parties engaged in an afternoon of discussion on design for social innovation. Following the successful structure of last year, the annual career fair was facilitated by four categories of discussion between both DSI students professionals in the field. Discussion Topics were as follows: Purpose Setting the stage…

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Cheryl Heller on The New Age Of Uncertainty

The current refugee crisis and the mass migrations that climate change is likely to trigger will disrupt not only the lives but the identities of hundreds of millions of people — torn from place, uncertain (at best) of their context in the world. Where we come from is, to an enormous extent, who we are. Culture determines the food we eat, what we learn, who we marry and how we live. The place where we live determines our culture, and so our identity.

Mapping the Health of a Community Through Social Design

This symposium was the culmination of several months of events that brought together residents of Harlem, first year students of DSI, community leaders, health care professionals, and community mappers.

Can social impact design influence the health of a community? Announcing a DSI Symposium, Monday February 1st

How can social impact design influence the health of a community? Join DSI and symposium panelists Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan District Attorney; Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of the Arnhold Global Health Institute; Clyde Williams, community leader and public servant; Rob Carmona, co-founder of Strive; and Carmen Quinones, Harlem resident and tenants’ activist on Monday, February 1. Healthcare professionals, designers, community leaders, Harlem residents, and data scientists will gather at the SVA Beatrice Theater, to discuss what it takes to improve the culture of health in Harlem.

Cheryl Kiser on Design and Entrepreneurship in China

Last month, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to co-present at two different universities in China with long-time friend, mentor, and collaborator Cheryl Heller, Founding Chair of the Design for Social Innovation (DSI) program at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Working in that capacity together, I was able to see firsthand how the pathways in design and entrepreneurship are much more similar than they are different.

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