SIAT students interview internationally renowned designer Odo Fioravanti.


SIAT Design Field Schools

March 08, 2019

SIAT operates two field schools in design called “italiaDesign” and “ducthDesign” respectively. These field schools are organized and run in alternating years by SIAT Faculty member Russell Taylor. The two SIAT field schools are competitive entry, and limited to twelve students per offering. Taylor’s vision of the field school is inspired by the historic success field study project “Learning from Las Vegas”, offered in 1967 by architects and Yale Architecture professors Denise Scott-Brown, Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour.

In-field in Italy or the Netherlands, the program interviews 12-16 significant contemporary contributors to the field and study of design: designers, manufacturers, architects, artists, and craftspeople. The tangible outcome is an annual website housing the newly produced interviews in short interview video format. Check out the 2018 italiaDesign ( and 2017 dutchDesign ( websites. The two field schools have documented over 400 interviews with experts in the field and each website remains live on the internet as an open source educational resource, as well as short subject films.

Russel Taylor and Italia 2018 Field School Students in Toan Nguyen’s design studio in Milan.

This field school program is intended to be a professional program in design. Graduates of the two programs often emerge as an elite class of designer -  more fully culturally aware and able to connect cultural study and research to their design work and projects. In the fifteen consecutive years that the two field schools have run, over 200 of SIAT’s finest students have participated and contributed to this ongoing project. The 2018 website is a clear reflection of our undergraduate program overall, pulling important skillsets and knowledge in media, computational and design, from courses across the SIAT curriculum. Each year’s website requires the technical development of a web system, user interface design, video production, sound design, animations, photography, typography, graphic design, and interaction design. Each past website can easily be accessed from the current site for a specific year and each field school directly links to and references the other study as sister projects.

The field schools are worth 12-credits each of senior SIAT designation.  After the two SFU field schools, students return, every year, from the two months in-field, having lived and studied in places like Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Florence and Eindhoven.