Notes from The Studio: Issue #2

Class of 2023 with Director of Operations Eric Schwartau. From left to right, front row: Esty Bagos, Jessie Sun, Ian Beckman Reagan. Back row: Eric Schwartau, Evelyn Meynard, Auston Gonzalez, Lucas Albrecht.

Summer has begun, and our Class of 2023 has graduated and is off into the world! But design research does not rest, and our department is livelier than ever.

Here’s a brief snapshot of the goings on this season:

  • We learned How-To: Nail a Hammer with the Class of 2023! This cohort of critical thinkers blew us away with their work this year. Find their presentations below!
  • New York Review of Architecture remains in residence and just released Issue #34/#35 with another Catty Corner column penned by our very own Eric Schwartau. And NYRA publisher Nicolas Kemper joined our faculty to teach “Research & Writing IV: Style, Publishing & the Public,” a class that culminated in visits to the editorial departments of The New Yorker and The New York Times.
  • This June, we’re thrilled to be offering “Prose Stylists: Critical Writing on Fashion and Style” with critic-in-residence fashion historian and journalist Vanessa Rosales! Boost your writing skills and explore the gap between the coverage of the fashion industry (and its most problematic practices) by the consumer press and academic scholars. Register for this eight-session summer course today!
  • A few spots remain for Summer Intensive! We are now offering a hybrid option for our two-week program, so if you’d like to spend June 5–16 in our NYC studio apply today!
  • We are currently accepting students for Class of 2024 kicking off this September! If you or someone in your network is ready for an MA at the frontiers of design, share this newsletter and apply today!

Across creative industries, D-Crit alumni are at the forefront of conversations about the contexts and consequences of design. Our curriculum combines humanities-oriented critical thinking and journalistic tools to produce writing and editorial content intended to inform and engage broad audiences.

Read on to learn “How-To: Nail a Hammer” and catch up with the D–Crit community. We have several exciting announcements coming up, so stay tuned to learn more about the future of design research!

— Molly Heintz, Program Chair

Our community is filled with thinkers at the leading edge of their fields. Read the latest “In The Field…”, a series of conversations between our alumni to discuss their work and vision for the future.

Sandra Nuut (Class of 2014) is a design writer, educator, and currently the Curator at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design. Her work includes lecturing, writing and curatorial projects in the design field including the monthly publication Dear Friend, covering issues of design and culture. Her writing has been published in Sirp, Müürileht, and Design Observer. More about Sandra can be found by visiting her here.

Read our conversation now!

Last Tuesday, our brilliant Class of 2023 taught us “How-To: Nail a Hammer” during their graduate symposium and book launch! If you were unable to attend, view each of their presentations below or visit this playlist on our YouTube channel for the whole evening!

How-To: Dehumanize Parenthood by Emily Kwok

  • Emily considers the past, present, and future of the baby monitor, unpacking how technology and design has dehumanized parenthood.

How-To: Mobilize the Labor of Love by Jessie Sun

  • Jessie examines how media narratives shape public views on women in China.

How-To: Stay Cool by Auston Gonzalez

  • Auston reflects on the state of luxury retail as cultural hub, from Burberry to Dover Street Market New York.

How-To: Sell Youth Culture by Ian Beckman Reagan*

  • Ian explores the history of branding the American teenager, from It Girl “Teen-a” and Teen Vogue to Nike.

* Ian was invited to speak at AIGA’s Fresh Grad 2023 Showcase on June 8th. RSVP to attend, and join us in congratulating Ian!!

How-To: Re-Imagine City Life by Evelyn Meynard

  • Evelyn calls for drastic action in the face of climate change through careful examination of the critical zone and sponge cities.

How-To: Draw Conclusions by Lucas Albrecht

  • Lucas imagines the transformative potential of comics, breaking apart the Kirby Krackle.

How-To: Justify Empire by Esty Bagos *

  • Esty considers how Filipino identity has been constructed through cultural exhibitions.
  • Esty is also this year’s recipient of our department’s Paula Rhodes Medal for her outstanding research. Congratulations, Esty!

Our spring How-To: series was a smash! We were thrilled to host some incredible talks this spring.

  • Angela Riechers and editor Matt Rohal unpacked the Elements of Visual Grammar on April 11!
  • On April 25th, we karaoked with Prem Krishnamurthy and Department of Transformation during a lunchtime chat.
  • Pau Garcia and Anne Quito critically engaged with generative AI on May 2.
  • Justin Zhuang and Vera Sacchetti explored the foundation of Everyday Modernism: Architecture & Society in Singapore in a truly global conversation online on May 9th!

We’ll be back with more programming in the fall, so be sure to follow us on social media for updates!

Our alumni write across design industries for some of the leading publications. Check out a selection of recent clips to see what they’re thinking about!

Are you an alum with recently published work? We’d love to hear from you! Send your clips to us at

Our alumni include some of the brightest minds in design, ranging from authors to curators, designers to practitioners, innovators to critical voices. See what some of them are up to!
Avinash Rajagopal, Amelie Klein, Vera Sacchetti, and Molly Heintz (Class of 2011)
Matt Shaw (2013), Vera Sacchetti (2011), and Becky Quintal (2010)

Several of our illustrious alums were recently spotted at Milan Design Week and at the opening of the Venice Architecture Biennale. It is so good to see you all!

Join writer and critic Vanessa Rosales, to explore fashion and style through a critical lens, bridging the gap between the fashion industry’s most problematic practices and academic knowledge in eight sessions! Register today!

Only a few spots left for this year’s 2023 Design Writing & Research Summer Intensive. We’re now offering a HYBRID option! Click above to learn more and join us.

Know someone who would love Summer Intensive? Forward this newsletter along!



SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism
D-Crit: Notes from The Studio

We’re a two-semester MA program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City dedicated to the study of design, its contexts and consequences. Aka DCrit. ✏️🔍💡