Social innovation is one of the most dynamic, expansive and exciting fields of endeavor today. It is the application of new strategies and models to solving the challenges facing the world, and to strengthening society. In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken describes its remarkable force in the world as "the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location, and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. Like nature itself, it is organizing from the bottom up, in every city, town and culture, and is emerging to be an extraordinary and creative expression of people's needs worldwide."
SVA's two-year graduate program is the first MFA program to help prepare designers to participate fully in social innovation in all its forms. It will provide students with the design tools, skills and experience they need to become creative leaders in social innovation—unlocking new worlds of potential through mastery of design thinking, innovation, social technologies, data visualization, and communication design—at the intersection of business, society and the natural world.
Under the guidance of leaders in social technology, data visualization, conservation, systems thinking, sustainability, communication design, cognitive science and emergent business models, students in the Social Innovation Department will be given opportunities for hands-on experience using design in the classroom and the design lab, in corporations and in the field with non-profits and social entrepreneurs around the globe.
The MFA in Design for Social Innovation at the School of Visual Arts is geared toward designers looking for meaningful and engaging work through which they can make a significant contribution to society, as well as for graduates in other disciplines who want to learn to harness the power of design to create positive change and transformation.
Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in design firms and advertising agencies, in corporations in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), in non-profit organizations, or as social entrepreneurs. They will be skilled in the design of concepts, communities, organizational models, communication, information design, mapping and implementation.
The MFA in Social Innovation curriculum encompasses a broad range of issues including poverty, aging, women's rights, food and agriculture, social justice, environment, working conditions, fair trade, education, community development and health.