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)
Since 2011 David Schessl was part of projects dealing with parkour, public spaces, vacancy, hip hop and club culture. Within this context, he founded Urban Playground – a platform with the aim to support subcultures in Carinthia. Currently, he is working with the collectives einzigMARKTig and KUZO. He graduated in Social Design in 2021 and now runs the Social Design Stadtlabor and supports the team with his technical expertise.
Christina Schraml is a Vienna-based urbanist (practice and theory), whose work is situated at the intersection urbanism and arts/culture. She holds a master of Arts in European Urban Cultures and a master of Philosophy. Since 2012 Christina teaches at Social Design/ Angewandte. She is interested in urban phenomena, cities and their people, and the gap between the actual and the possible.
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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.
Herwig Turk lives and works in Vienna and Lisbon. His projects probe the interconnectivity of the fields of art, technology and science. Since 2010, he has been artist in residence at the Instituto da Medicina Molecular (IMM), Lisbon. His work has been shown at venues like the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Seoul Museum of Art and many more. His most recent exhibition "Landscape=Laboratory" took place at the Carinthian Museum of Modern Art (MMKK).
Anna Vasof is an architect and media artist. She studied architecture at the University of Thessaly (2010) and Transmedia Art (2014) at the University of Applied Arts. Since 2004 her videos and short movies have been presented in several festivals, some of them winning distinctions. She’s currently writing a Ph.D. thesis about an animation technique that she develops and is designing and building innovative mechanisms for producing critical and narrative videos, actions and installations.
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