Cities are our natural world, created by us and yet, in their constantly shifting complexity, almost beyond our grasp. Urbanization processes do not end at the city boundaries. Almost infinite networks, alienated communication, hasty consumption and conflicts of social marginalization or economic injustice determine our urban survival. Cities form contested spaces, whose present refers back to the past, whose power structures can be identified and also changed. It is important to predict the need for change well in advance but also to be able to react to acute crises great and small with fresh solutions.

Innovations are driven on a bottom-up basis. Not infrequently they arise at the margins of society, where established structures encounter influences from without, traditional responses no longer work, or safeguards apply to some but not to others.
The projects developed in the studio situation of our Social Design program show that societal innovation–meaning extraordinary results and unexpected approaches–becomes possible where different forms of knowledge and methods interact, where artistic acumen combines with creativity from the so-called hard sciences, where design, theory, architecture and the fine arts not only pool their strategies but also enter into confrontations and alliances that can be both risky and productive.

Innovative methods construct new meanings, strengthen responsibility and thus create the preconditions for identification with one’s own actions. Students who choose the Master’s in Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation signal their determination to play a critical and active part in influencing society and a refusal to discount the future!


The master programme Social Design Arts as Urban Innovation at the University of Applied Arts Vienna is oriented towards graduates from diverse fields of study, thereby stipulating work in transdisciplinary teams as the central teaching and learning approach in the programme. On the basis of professional competences acquired in their respective previous studies, students become acquainted with transcending disciplinary codes and thinking and working in greater interrelationships. Art in synergy with project-related scientific methods and knowledge is seen as a tool for urban innovation.

Duration and Scope:
4 semesters / 120 ECTS 
Graduation: "Master of Arts" (MA)

Download the curriculum as a PDF:  Deutsch  English



Theo Deutinger

Architect, Author, Artist, Flachau/Amsterdam

Theo Deutinger is an architect, writer, and designer of socio-cultural studies. He is founder and head of TD, an office that combines architecture with research, visualization, and conceptual thinking in all scale levels from global planning, urban master plans and architecture to graphical and journalistic work.

Elina Kränzle

Urbanist, Vienna

In her interdisciplinary research, Elina Kränzle investigates processes of urban social change as they emerge in lived experiences, discourses, as well as in specific social, cultural and political contexts. As a doctoral candidate at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, TU Wien, she explores different phenomena of space production by the nation-state in Vienna linking discourses on nationalism and urbanization as constitutive forces of contemporary societies.

Urban Studies

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair

Artist, Vienna

Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair is a visual artist, researcher and curator. Between 1999 and 2009 she studied painting and sculpture in Nuremberg, Berlin and Vienna. Since 2004 Shapiro-Obermair lives and works in Vienna. In her works she questions critically appropriation of historical narratives, dealing with post-factual knowledge, and interaction of form and ideology.

Her works have been shown in Austrian and international museums and galleries.

Fine Arts, Soviet Modernism, Memory Culture

Katarina Šoškić

Photographer, Artist Researcher, Belgrade/Vienna

Katarina Šoškić is a photographer and artist researcher from Belgrade, based in Vienna. She is interested in the potency of an image – the way its narrative qualities could be employed to question social structures. She uses photography and words to research and analyze social phenomena, culture and subculture, the impacts of tradition and history, the constriction of social roles and underlying psychological mechanisms. 

Visiting Artist WS2020

Karin Fisslthaler

Artist, Vienna

Karin Fisslthaler studied Experimental Design in the department of Fine Arts at the University of Arts in Linz and finished her PhD in Practice Studies in 2019. She works in the field of fine arts, film/video and electronic music (under the name of Cherry Sunkist). 
Many of her collage-works, videos and installations stem from her response to the way media and pop culture portray the human body and how that affects notions of representation, identity and acts of communication.

Visiting Artist SS2020
Fine Arts, Film/Video and Electronic Music

Barbis Ruder

Media and Performance Artist, Heidelberg / Vienna

Barbis Ruder uses her body and her artificial corporate bodies to mix topics like economy, work, intimacy and convention into complex, but also minimalistic and reduced compositions that take shape in performance, installation, video and sculpture. As fine artist she is both creating work for exhibition spaces as well as for the stage. Her performances are always staged and related to the variety of media and form: from the body to the moving image, sound, sculpture and installation in space.