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Design education (cont)

There’s a curious mismatch between the demand for design and art education among school leavers (see my story about “Study art and never be unemployed” below) and the reluctance of industry to fund research. Design Observer drew my attention to a claim in Fortune that, in the USA, a master of fine arts (MFA) degree is in such demand that design schools can now be tougher to get into than Stanford or Harvard. While those schools’ MBA programs accept roughly 7% and 12% of applicants, respectively, UCLA’s MFA program admits just 3%. At the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), applications are up 50% over the past two years; they dropped more than 19% at Harvard and Stanford. Meanwhile, Media Lab Europe has closed due to lack of funding and design research everywhere is being squeezed by funding pressures. There is an argument that all design projects entail research -but my own impression is that the financial squeeze that’s affecting institition-based research also applies to paid-for design: there’s money for quick results, but not for investigation or reflection.

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