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Detail, “Strata–gies” program and publication, designed by Andrew McQuiston

What is “Strata–gies?”


Strata-gies: a lexical dismemberment reflecting the building up and breaking down and piecing together the sedimentary traces of history, memory, experience, perspective, and observation that define our knowledge and shape our expectations.

As emerging design researchers, writers, and critics, we must chip away at the surface to look beyond what’s visible to the naked eye, and unearth the strata below, even though it may destabilize our preconceived notions of fact and
fiction. This journey is the source of questions that drive all of us to look a little deeper at the world, to realize the infinite amount of layers surrounding us. However, that realization is just the beginning: How do we make sense of it? How do we add our own layers without contributing to the oppression of past layers, the degradation of the environment, the repurposing of old stereotypes, the erasure of history, the dismissal of nostalgia and joy?

Over the past year, the six of us have embarked upon individual quests to uncover the meaning behind designed systems, experiences, and products that shape the ways we move about in the world. There were times when we found ourselves falling and flailing into the abyss of our own making — wading through dense, confounding, frustrating, and contradictory material, all while trying to live and learn in the midst of a pandemic — but we remained grounded through our questions. The strategy of always returning to our foundational and critical questions about design allowed us to chart a
course of action for the program’s short timeframe but also beyond. Our work here is merely the beginning, the first of many layers that will continue to build upon itself and the world around us.

— CLASS OF 2022



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SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism

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. ✏️🔍💡