Curriculum

Our curriculum connects the head, hand and heart to materials, making processes, entrepreneurial strategies, and social and environmental engagement. We often ask, how can our work be in service to others?

  • Year One
  • Year Two

Fall

Course
Studio Practice
Graduate Critique
Contemporary Craft + Design History
Elective

Spring

Course
Studio Practice
Graduate Critique
Creative Entrepreneurship
Elective

Fall

Course
Studio Practice
Graduate Critique
Creative Entrepreneurship
Thesis: Research

Spring

Course
Studio Practice
Graduate Critique
Thesis: Writing
Elective

Course Descriptions

Graduate Critique

In Graduate Critique, students engage in a thorough analysis of their work and the work of others. This class provides candidates with an intellectual community and critical forum to test, temper, and enlarge the ideas that underlie their creative goals. Frequent discussions and critiques with visiting artists, designers and guest critics help students develop the language that surrounds their practice. In Graduate Critique, students will engage in thorough, critical analysis of finished work and benefit from in-depth exposure to the wide variety of disciplines represented in the Program.

Studio Practice

With students' individual spaces located in a workshop environment, the AC+D program embraces an approach to design rooted in the culture of making the community of craft and emphasizes learning from materials to ground concepts. This learning happens through making and dedication to a minimum of 18 hours of independently lead studio work supported through weekly hour mentor meetings. The mentor-student relationship is personal and unique and is at the heart of the MFA in Applied Craft and Design program. The mentor acts as an advocate, critic, resource, and colleague for the student, providing a supportive setting to pursue self-designed, independent investigation and experimentation. Mentors come from a group of accomplished artists, designers, makers, and faculty.

Contemporary Craft + Design History

Contemporary Craft + Design History provides students with an in-depth understanding of the issues related to contemporary craft and design history. The course focuses on a series of themes in the discipline’s histories, as well as critiquing and redressing the historical biases and exclusions of the discipline. The course emphasizes a careful engagement with key individuals and movements rather than a comprehensive survey. In this way, students focus not only on the history of these fields but on the critical assessment of what frames them

Creative Entrepreneurship

Creative Entrepreneurship course provides students with frameworks, knowledge, and strategies to build a sustainable career as a craftsperson and designer. The course will cover every aspect of starting and maintaining your own business, including mapping, planning, goal setting, identifying, and working with customers and clients, project management, promoting your business, business structures, taxes, copyright, contracts, selling your work and more. Classes are structured around a pyramid of knowledge and skills, along with an understanding of multiple professional pathways.

Theory of the Object

The Theory of the Object class attempts to understand what an object is and how we interact with them. Objects are studied through the lens of multiple disciplines. This course will prepare students to articulate why objects matter and what role objects and object makers play in the world today. Through this course students develop a critical point of view that guides their studio practice and making. This course helps students connect theory and practice in their work and the work of others.

Thesis Research + Writing

The Thesis Research and Writing are a two part class that supports students in the process of in-depth practice based researching writing connected to their Thesis. The Thesis emphasizes a practical application of knowledge or skill in a new way. At the end of the two courses students will produce a Thesis project and paper that is understood in relation to its cultural context as well as the student’s career path.

Electives

Electives allow students to hone techniques in making, participate in internships, global studios, or further pursue courses in history, theory, and criticism. Students are required to take two electives during their time in the program. Graduate level electives include Applied Systems Thinking, Styles of Facilitation and Collaboration, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Theory, Creative Writing among others.

Curricular Themes

Each semester in the MFA Applied Craft + Design program we focus on vital themes that make a lifelong creative practice viable. These themes are explored within AC+D’s curriculum through making, collaboration and iteration.


Semester 1

PRACTICE
PROCESS - HABIT - RHYTHM
Establishing a productive + rigorous creative, iterative practice.

Go wild. Look far and wide, produce in abundance. Emphasize disciplined continuous making, physical embodiment of ideas, thinking with the hands.


Semester 2

VOICE
NARRATIVE - MATERIALS - IDENTITY
Identifying + elaborating upon what you bring to your material(s).

Focus on your relationship with materials and processes, and develop this dialogue. Articulate what it is about how you use materials and explore processes that bring specificity to your work.


Semester 3

ECOSYSTEM
PEOPLE - THINGS
Audience, viewer, user, communities, environment, non-human. Addressing who + what is served by your practice.

Analyze the system you and your work operates in and the dynamics at play. Understand, apply and draw connections between your work and its context.


Semester 4

VISION
DIRECTION - ACTUALIZATION - APPLICATION
Fulfilling the promise of your work.

Realize a major project, the Thesis. Establish a decision-making process that is responsive to change, that you can communicate, and that can be generalized to your practice after you graduate. Challenge yourself to develop rhetoric regarding the importance in the world today.

Questions?

Reach out to MFA in Applied Craft + Design Program Head, Sara Huston, to schedule a tour or to learn more about the program.

Get in touch