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



Alessia Scuderi

Multimedia Artist, Catania / Vienna

Has a focus on visual arts and visual languages. In the last years, she has focused her personal work on architectural photography and recently on the existing relations between urban aesthetics and space experience. Highly interested also in the political value that forms of art can represent in contemporary societies in order to produce social change.

New Art Technologies
+43 676 6835639

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

Swati Soharia

Innovator - Sustainable Design , Vienna

I volunteer with disadvantaged women, training them on up-cycling and crafts design. I strongly believe in sustainable living, and work extensively on frugal innovation and sustainable design.

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

Katharina Spanlang

Dialogue Designer via Theatre, Mediation, Cooking and other Arts , Vienna

Born & raised in a small austrian village. Origininally educated in engeneering but always interested in participatory artistic work. Professional in mediation/conflict resolution & in activist theatre field.

Dialogue Designer

Fabio Spink