Alternative Models and Modernities: The Past Present and Futures of Speculative Design is the launch event for the new Speculative Design major taking place on February 10, 10:30 am - 3:30 pm.  

To view the live stream of Alternative Models and Modernities event please visit:


Can Art and Science --fearless creativity and technical insight-- come together to change the world?

Can you major in the future?  ‘Yes’ to both.

In Fall 2015 UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts launches UCSDSD, one of the first undergraduate programs in Speculative Design.

Speculative Design is a 21st century mix of art, science, and emerging technology focused on aesthetic, entrepreneurial and activist intervention. Bringing together laboratory and field research in a creative studio setting, UCSDSD works from nano- to the urban scales to stimulate new ideas and new solutions.

What  is  Speculative  Design  and  how  is  it  different  from  other Design  programs?

Speculative Design focuses on possibilities and potentials. It confronts an uncertain and ambiguous future and seeks to give it shape.

While Speculative Design teaches and uses Design best-practices and methodologies, its goals are more ambitious than traditional programs that focus on certain fixed outcomes. Instead of only optimizing what we do have, Speculative Design explores what we could have.

Today’s Designers need to be able to do more than solve known problems; they must be comfortable working with uncertain opportunities and capable of inventing the unexpected by giving form to the ingenious.

UCSDSD is based in the highly-ranked Department of Visual Arts, and builds on the rich interdisciplinary legacy of this program. It is also collaborative partner with UC San Diego’s world-class scientific and technological research platforms.

Four  areas  of  emphasis  for Speculative Design majors:
•      Public Culture  &  Urban  Ecology

•      Design Computing

•      Design Research

•      Media Design  

After graduation, whats next for Speculative Design majors?

UCSDSD prepares students for different paths but gives them a strong and flexible foundation for the 21st century economy. While some economists predict that in coming years more and more jobs will be automated, we also know that among the most difficult things to automate are exactly what
UCSDSD teaches: open-ended creative thinking; debating values, possibilities, and outcomes; understanding human contexts and mobilizing interests; and exploring ambiguous problems in an unexpected way. Students go on to:

Art and Design Worlds:
The Creative industries  (from architecture  to  graphic  design  to filmmaking  to Art)  account  for  almost  $300  billion  in  California alone  and  1,447,100  jobs  (direct,  indirect  and induced). Speculative Design graduates are creative leaders, some composing valuable and profound works of Art, others remaking our cities, platforms, networks, infrastructures, and interfaces, and some doing both.

Graduate school:
The Speculative Design curriculum was developed in consultation with the Deans and Directors of some of the world’s top Graduate Schools of Design including Harvard, Columbia, Art Center, and SCI_Arc. They have indicated that the unique focus of the Speculative Design major is an ideal preparation for their programs.  

and perhaps most importantly…

Invention and Innovation: 
Ask not ‘for whom will I work?’, ask ‘of what will I be in charge?’ Speculative Design is also geared for students who will invent their own jobs and who will create jobs for others. Majors are given a long-term perspective on contemporary problems and opportunities, drawing on history and looking to the future, and learn how to ideate, organize, intervene, and build what comes next.