PNCA Press Center

PNCA Launches MFA in Collaborative Design

Release date: 12/06/10

December 6, 2010

Leslie Miller, External Relations Specialist
Pacific Northwest College of Art 503 821 8959

Becca Biggs, Director of Communications and Public Programs
Pacific Northwest College of Art 971 255 5511

PNCA Launches MFA in Collaborative Design

Design Ecologies, Systems Thinking and Cultural Entrepreneurship

December 6, 2010 – PORTLAND, OR – PNCA introduces its newest graduate program, the Master of Fine Arts in Collaborative Design, to commence in the Fall 2011 semester.

Utilizing design ecologies, collaborative research and art/design thinking, Collaborative Design prepares students with expanded design practices and skills to meaningfully address the emerging challenges of the 21st century. Students will work in transdisciplinary teams, assemble and maintain networks of people, places and artifacts, and engage in design solutions as they respond to briefs containing environmental, social and technological challenges. Teams will examine “wicked” problems, such as resource depletion, emerging technologies and global demographic shifts that demand dynamic design practices that take into account the concerns of a diverse range of human and non-human stakeholders.

Through the program’s close partnerships and connections with world-class to DIY creative enterprises, the city of Portland, Oregon becomes the Collaborative Design Learning Lab. Students will graduate with a portfolio of projects that feature design as a process for considering and acting in a complex and highly interconnected world and the skills to deliver form and leadership using facilitation strategies and collaborative approaches.

“PNCA is expanding its modes of research and creative production through increased internal and external collaboration and the diversification of its programs,” states Greg Ware, PNCA’s Provost, “and, we are delighted to launch this new program as part of this process. We anticipate that the transdisciplinary appeal of the MFA in Collaborate Design will attract a high caliber of national and international students who will want to work with industries, government and civil society to initiate and instigate change opportunities.”

The MFA in Collaborative Design, a two-year, 60-credit program, is open to students of varying backgrounds who demonstrate their inclination toward an expanded design practice including collaboration, working across disciplines and as advocates for a particular community. They will be passionate about making a significant impact and understanding its effect on the local, regional and international challenges of tomorrow.

This MFA program is part the PNCA+FIVE initiative that explores and establishes new and innovative programs, hosts outstanding artists- in-residence, supports first-rate exhibitions, encourages advanced research, independent inquiry and cross-disciplinary dialog and engages in community service and interaction. PNCA is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.
PNCA seeks highly motivated students from a variety of disciplinary and professional backgrounds to apply for this unique Master’s program by March 1st, 2011. For more detailed information, please visit

About Pacific Northwest College of Art
Since its founding in 1909, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) has become a leader in innovative educational programs that connect students to a global perspective in the visual arts and design. In addition to its nine Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, PNCA offers graduate education with an MFA in Visual Studies and an MFA in Collaborative Design, as well as an MFA in Applied Craft and Design developed in collaboration with Oregon College of Art and Craft.
PNCA is actively involved in Portland’s cultural life through exhibitions and a vibrant public program of lectures andinternationally recognized visiting artists, designers and creative thinkers. With the support of PNCA+FIVE (Ford Institute for Visual Education), the College has a partnership with the nationally acclaimed Museum of Contemporary Craft. For more information, visit

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