From high-tech research to creating social change, the Media Design Practices program’s two new tracks foster a hotbed of ideas. Department Chair Anne Burdick explains how.
Dotted Line: Why did you recently introduce two tracks?
Anne Burdick: Bringing new practices to design and media is a key aim of our program. So when we see an emerging direction that offers our graduates opportunity and adventure, we go for it.
We saw our alumni generally heading in one of two very different directions: future-oriented research and experimental media or on-the-ground social engagement. We felt if we created a curricular experience tailored to these orientations, we could create a vibrant dialogue and an environment that becomes a hotbed for new ideas.
DL: Talk about the two tracks.
AB: The two tracks are Field and Lab. The curriculum for each is built on a project-based model in which students approach complex situations from multiple perspectives. But the time frame and context that structures their work differs substantially.
Lab track prepares students for work in high-tech, future-focused settings. Before working on a thesis project, Lab students work on five “inquiries”— three-week intensives in which they investigate recent advances in culture, science and technology. Each inquiry is team-taught with researchers, experts, and industry leaders.