Social Design - Arts as Urban Innovation

Master programme

Academic degree: MA (Master of Arts)
Credits: 120 ECTS
Duration: 4
Language: Deutsch und Englisch / German and English

Urban Environment

Today, more than half of the world population lives in cities, and according to UN reports another 200,000 people arrive each day. In the next 20 years, cities around the globe will expand by 1.5 million square kilometres and in 25 years two-thirds of the world population will live in cities. In this global event we can identify the triggering factors behind tremendous restructuring processes: the transformational power of the industrial and digital revolution. This development places cities as complex, self-generating environments under enormous pressure. Through the densification and concentration of the population, economy, capital, and media, as well as culture and knowledge in urban agglomerations, both their spatial and social fabric are subject to overproportional stress.

Social Design

In order to account for this global development, new concepts are needed that address the overall process of knowledge production in society. Especially art universities are predestined to formulate these new, distinct perspectives on the inherent logic of cities and the corresponding dynamics of their processes. Artistic research can generate links between multifaceted disciplinary expertise and the problems posed by the urban realm. The University of Applied Arts Vienna (Angewandte) has therefore implemented a new master degree programme dedicated to these challenges that emerge within urban social systems and the broad spectrum of related issues.
The shaping of reality viewed on the example of urban agglomerations and contrasted with the urban context of Vienna initially forms both the field of work and the scale for the realisation of the individual projects.

Transdisciplinary Programme Structure

A new type of programme structure has been developed to realise these ambitious goals. The programme places the respective (study) project at the centre of an inter­national teaching environment constituted specifically for each project. Different artistic and scientific experts are assigned as teachers in diverse constellations tailored to the respective project’s requirements and are involved in its development. The objective of the programme is to integrate diverse disciplinary expertise when dealing with the complexity of urban systems. To this end, it is not theoretical dis­course that serves as the pretext rather the direct reference to urban reality underpins the project work.
The master programme is oriented towards graduates from diverse fields of study, thereby stipulating work in transdisciplinary teams as the central teaching and learning approach in the programme. On the basis of professional competences acquired in their respective previous studies, students become acquainted with transcending disciplinary codes and thinking and working in greater inter­relation­ships. Art in synergy with project-related scientific methods and knowledge is seen as a tool for urban innovation. The academic principle of research-oriented teaching is further enhanced by cooperations with non-university institutions.

Qualification Profile

Graduates will have undergone a process of transformation and conscientisation in their studies that enables them to define their artistic identity anew and to employ art as a tool of urban innovation. The programme endows students with the capacity to identify, analyse, and evaluate questions and issues relevant to urban systems. In particular, they should be able to assemble, organise, and lead competent teams of people from diverse professional backgrounds. Graduates are qualified for work fields in the context of the development of effective and socially responsible urban concepts and their implementation.

Information and Contact

Social Design

Arts and Society - Social Design

Infos Social Design
Entrance Exam
Detailed information about the Entrance Exam

Submission of Portfolio
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last week of february - exact dates are to be confirmed - in the Social Design studio