One of the remarkable developments in contemporary culture is the convergence of practices that once unambiguously belonged to either art or design, but which today share methods, means and concerns.

Of particular importance are practices that seek to engage with the public and social realm. The phrase “spatial practice” has become a widely-used term to describe a variety of architectural and artistic engagements with the city, society and with aesthetic practice in general. In many ways it defines the new and moving boundary of the design discipline.

The MDes program in Art, Design, and the Public Domain seeks creative and ambitious individuals from all backgrounds and academic disciplines with a keen interest in contemporary urban, aesthetic, political and technological culture with a predilection for intervention, exhibition, and public work. This program also seeks practicing architects, artists, filmmakers and cultural producers wishing to ‘switch gears’ and develop art-related work, with an emphasis on sophisticated thinking, advanced fabrication methodologies and techniques, and aesthetic and social engagement.

This program is designed to both accommodate graduated MFAs or serve in lieu of a traditional MFA program in an orthodox art academy. The GSD has a wide variety of assets in cultural theory, applied computation, fabrication, art-related practice and speculative design. The GSD also shares links with the departments of Visual and Environmental Studies, Film and Literature, and has innovative new collaborations with international programs in the political and experimental arts. The program strongly welcomes unconventional proposals for study that address emerging issues in (the history of) technology, science, performance, industrial design, typography and all aspects of the changing social and cultural environment.


Affiliated Faculty and Associates

Giuliana Bruno, Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Dan Byers, Lecturer in Architecture and John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University
Pieranna Cavalchini, Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Sarah Herda, Director, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies
Jeanne van Heeswijk, Artist
Jill Johnson, Dance Director & Senior Lecturer, Theater, Dance & Media, Department of Music, Harvard University
Annemartine van Kesteren, Curator, Design and City Collection, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Curator, Architect, and Partner, OMA
David Macy, Resident Director, MacDowell Colony for the Arts
Micaela Martegani, Founder and Director, More Art
Ra’Shaun Nalls, MPA, Director of Community Engagement, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Eve Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Mary Schneider Enriquez, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums
Dr. Gregor Sholette, Co-Founder, REPOhistory project, Professor CUNY
Alfredo Jaar, Associate
Jill Magid, Associate

Research Affiliations

Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Cambridge
Institute for Spatial Experiments, Berlin
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago (curatorial/public programs fellowship)
MacDowell Colony for the Arts
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston




by Keith Hartwig (MDes ’19) This project will reveal the entanglement of cold-producing technologies and…


Spring 2018