SPD launches the new Masters in Designing Digital Cultures and Communication Design

The new Master’s degree in partnership with 2050+ will flank the one in Communication Design and prepare students for professional paths related to the world of digital technologies, with a specific focus on immersive technologies, Artificial Intelligence and game design, providing them with critical theoretical tools and practical skills employable in the fields of visual arts, animation, game design and cinema.

An interdisciplinary team of teachers will support the students in learning the most up-to-date audiovisual production techniques through the use of immersive technologies and artificial intelligence.

SPD Scuola Politecnica di Design, the first school for design disciplines in Italy belonging to the Plena Education group, announces the inclusion of two new Master of Arts courses in its educational offer: Designing Digital Cultures in collaboration with the interdisciplinary studio 2050+ and the Master in Communication Design with Emanuele Viora, Executive creative Director of ACNE, as course leader. The courses will start in April 2024 and will be accredited by Teesside University (UK).

Designing Digital Cultures

This new Master’s programme aims to open a dialogue between digital technologies and the spaces they shape, as cultural artefacts deeply embedded in everyday life. Going beyond traditional design education, Designing Digital Cultures not only provides practical skills, but also nurtures a critical, analytical and speculative approach to research and design. The programme maintains a continuous exchange between digital design and its technical manifestations, exploring its social, political and environmental implications. The Master in Designing Digital Cultures acts as a catalyst for careers in the creative professions: graduates will be skilled in a variety of capacities, especially in the fields of animation, visual arts, film, set design, game design, media distribution and production.

The programme includes a diverse and interdisciplinary team of professors led by 2050+, including Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Erica Petrillo and Kamil Dalkir. 2050+ is an interdisciplinary agency working at the intersection of technology, environment, politics and design. Since its foundation, 2050+ has realised a variety of projects spanning curatorial and research practices, exhibition design and architecture. 2050+ regularly collaborates with fashion brands by realising temporary installations, films, public events and editorial initiatives. In the meantime, the agency is engaged in several independent research projects, including writing short films and critical texts that have appeared on numerous publishing platforms, often dealing with the relationship between data and the material world.

Responsible for the modules are video artist and director Davide Rapp, former founder of the studio
-orama for the Immersive Technologies module, the visual artist and independent researcher Francesco D’Abbraccio (aka Lorem) for AI and Creative Coding, and the duo Claudia Molinari and Matteo Pozzi of the indie video game development agency We Are Müesli, leaders of the Digital World Building module.

The course revolves around four key areas: Immersive Technologies, which explores the applications of augmented, virtual and mixed reality in various domains, bringing together physical and digital domains for alternative experiences of understanding, storytelling, restitution, and interaction. Digital World Building, which uses Game Engines as speculative tools, modelling and exploring digital realities to expand creative possibilities within the digital domain; AI and Creative Coding, which teaches how to design algorithmic architectures to facilitate human-machine creativity, investigate co-operative and co-creative scenarios through AI-based applications; and Critical Practice, which aims to develop research skills, with a focus on ethics, historical accuracy, critical analysis, narratology, but also to impart the skills necessary for independent research and practical application.

Communication Design

The SPD Master’ of Arts in Communication Design has a duration of two years. The first semester is inspired by the motto ‘Think now, design later‘ and is designed to enable students to understand the logic behind creative, communication and marketing processes. The second is structured through a series of collaborations with external companies, market leaders in Italy, which will allow students to directly experience working within different product sectors, to deal with real briefs, under the guidance of professionals of excellence who will help them build a personal portfolio spendable in the future to propose themselves in the job market. A central and distinctive element of the Master will be precisely the 7 specific focuses, dedicated to the reference industries in the current panorama (Fashion, Food, Automotive, Consumer Goods, TLC, non-profit and public sector) which will be carried out in the second part of the course: a truly ‘immersive’ working mode, which will allow young students not only to understand which sector they are most passionate about, but also to discover where their talent can really make a difference, reaffirming SPD’s typical approach to training.

The new course leader of the Master in Communication Design will be Emanuele Viora, who will be in charge of conceiving, developing and consolidating the master’s concept, coordinating the professors in charge, selected by himself, of the various modules that structure the course. Currently Executive Creative Director for the communication agency ACNE, Emanuele Viora has over 20 years’ experience as a guide and reference point for talents who wish to establish themselves within the communication, marketing and creativity sectors. He has had the opportunity to work with some of the most influential companies, such as Armando Testa, Leo Burnett, DLV BBDO and Publicis and to win dozens of awards national and international, leading successful projects not only for Italian brands, but also for international companies

Alongside Viora, Samanta Giuliani, entrepreneur and strategist; Michelangelo Cianciosi, Executive Creative Director with many years of experience in the field; Fabrizio Marvulli, Client Service Director; and Paolo Ferrara, General Manager of Terre des Hommes, will also be taking part in the project.

In both courses, the Advanced Practice module, in the first semester of the second year, will allow the student to carry out an internship experience, a project work on a company brief or a study period abroad. The masters then culminate in the Major Project in the second semester of the second year, in which students will be able to develop a research project also in connection with one of the companies encountered along the way.