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65 5th Ave, Room 411
New York, NY, 10003
United States

Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought at the New School incubates advanced transdisciplinary research and practice at the intersection of social theory and design and fosters dialogue on related themes across the university.


Scott Brown

Scott Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at The New School for Social Research exploring social design's forms of knowledge and practice through an ethnography of professional design practice and design education.

SCOTT BROWN is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and a member of The Parsons DESIS Lab. His research is an ethnographic exploration of the forms of knowledge and practice that constitute social design practice.

As issues over healthcare, education, urban planning and the provision of public services dominate public discourse, it has become increasingly common to see designers enter as stakeholders into such debates. In addition to the traditional focus on creating specific objects such as buildings, clothes, and interfaces, designers now work on a wider range of material, social, and political problems by designing social systems and processes. Designers today are increasingly hired by governments, NGO’s, and corporations to solve an array of complex political and social problems ranging from healthcare service delivery to the relationships between citizens and government. Practitioners claim a sensibility for negotiating material, aesthetic and social factors in the development of new goods and services seeking to satisfy the needs of clients and the public at large. Prototyping the Social: An Ethnography of Social Innovation Design seeks to understand the manifold ways in which issues of social and political complexity are rendered into problems of design by focusing on the areas of professional design practice and design education.