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DSI / Social Design
About DSI


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.

International Students Information Session — 2015

Welcome to our international information session, wherever you are in the world. We have a tradition to post, after our New York reception, an online welcome of sorts to all our international applicants. In this film, you’ll find an overview of the program, and answers to the questions we are most often asked, from our first and second year students.

Information Session

In our short history, we’ve developed a tradition of creating an open house for all those too far away to make it to New York City for an evening. On November 11, we will be posting a pre-recorded version online created with some of our international students, talking about what it’s like to be a part of DSI, and answering some frequently asked questions. If you couldn’t make it to our open house here in New York, please join us.

Announcing the DSI Design for America Scholarship

We have come to know Design for America at both a national and local level, and we love them. DFA is an award-winning nationwide network of college students and community partners using design to create local and social impact in the areas of Health, Education, Economy and the Environment.

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