School of Art + Art History

Graphic Design/Design & Visual Communications

Graduate Program (MXD) / Overview

video notes: Florencia’s pursuit of social design is an example of the MFA work for this new degree. Here she explains her fieldwork experience in Costa Rica.

How might we design sustainable and equitable solutions to pressing problems? 

… Create a more equitable future? 
… Preserve the biodiversity of Florida?
… Reimagine health?
… Prepare our coastal communities for climate change?
… Rebuild trust in our institutions? 
… Understand migration and diaspora?

In sum: Florida is our [design] laboratory.

We use Florida as our laboratory to research, identify, and co-design solutions to our most pressing problems. To be relevant and sustainable, we believe these problems must be explored collaboratively and in context. To this end, we are committed to working with people—partners, users, stakeholders, and subject matter experts—in context, working together to design for complexity. The program provides a framework in which we can mobilize resources to address the significant challenges and opportunities facing Florida’s peoples, communities, regions, the state, and beyond by collaborating with people in communities to address problems through a design lens.

Design better, together. 

By working directly with project partners and engaging users and other stakeholders, we are able to better co-design and implement innovative and sustainable solutions for real challenges people identify. This way we explore some of our most pressing problems—such as racial equity, climate change, agriculture, and health—and use design as a catalyst for change in Florida and beyond. Through academic and experiential learning, we will help designers and our partners better understand how we might operate within larger social, cultural, and economic systems.

The MXD—MFA in Design & Visual Communications

We have a 20+ year history in graduate design education, first offering an MFA in Art with a focus in graphic design, and now the MXD—focused on participatory and codesigning with people in context—using our research expertise and interest. Adding to our program’s long-term emphasis on embracing diverse knowledges, approaches, and experiences to shape research and practice, we are now focused on designing with people in context, we partner with local organizations, using the state as our laboratory to learn about complexities in and for which we design. This makes designing outcomes that are relevant and sustainable possible.

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