Visual communication has become essential to the experience of the contemporary world, and as new technologies continually emerge, design disciplines evolve and also merge. Further, our globalized era demands a greater awareness of the complexity of traditions and roles of visual communication across different geographical or cultural contexts. CommMA responds to these challenges with a choice of two pathways: Experimental Communication Design and Type Design as Research. Both allow for student practices with a wide range of aims while the latter supports studies in Southeast Asian typographies, specifically the countries of CLMV-Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. A unique aspect of CommMA is in the excavation and interpretation of overlooked or understudied aspects of local and regional histories.
Both pathways support the development of innovative methodologies. CommMA’s curriculum stresses creative and critical processes and solutions. The rapid development of digital technology in recent decades has allowed for equitable, widespread, access to design skills. Therefore it has become imperative that students learn from the contextual challenges of studio experience, to understand myriad ways of pursuing knowledge, solving problems, and achieving resolution.
Housed within the dynamic environment of the Communication Design Programme (CommDe) and Thailand’s leading Faculty of Architecture, CommMA students work alongside emerging and established practitioners. This fully ensures a broad view of communication design, its interdisciplinary potentials, and that our graduates are prepared for a range of professional contexts.
The MFA in Communication Design (CommMA) aims to instill graduates with the skills to employ creative practices as a tool, process and result of research. These practices are contextually and culturally sensitive. The programme also aims to cultivate a solid foundation for the advancement of communication studies in the region of Southeast Asia and beyond. Our students develop projects based in experimentation and shaped by methodological rigour while working across traditional, new and emergent media. With a curriculum that emphasizes reflexivity and encourages the broad significance of regional interests, CommMA functions as a genuinely innovative programme of study.
Communication Design is an ever-expanding area of practice and theory and CommMA embraces a wide range of methods while opening out possibilities for how design can function. Making is central to this. And making is rigorously understood as research, or the production of new knowledge. Our two pathways, Experimental Communication Design and Type Design as Research, allow for a critical understanding of practice-based research as a form of inquiry while supporting the individual concerns of students. This marries practice to theory and encourages, particularly in the latter pathway, a dialogue between the historical and the contemporary in acknowledging ‘design’ as a process to be continually reinvented.
Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world, socially, culturally and politically. Influences from ancient India, Imperial China and the West through to the uneven spread of modernity has created a layered and complex landscape. The city of Bangkok is established as a local gateway and CommMA understands our centrality both specifically and broadly. The programme supports research into regional and intra-regional forms of design while also investigating Southeast Asia’s international significance for visual cultures. Student practices are not all required to address these contexts but graduates emerge with a critical consciousness beyond Western-centric worldviews.
Students are welcomed from the disciplines of both art and design as well other practical and academic contexts. This interdisciplinary environment extends the achievements of our undergraduate programme, CommDe, which has established itself as a leading department for experimental communication design. To be part of our community is to be engaged in crucial dialogues with emergent practices and your peers. Our staff are experienced across a wide range of areas including conservation, design education, editorial design, new technologies, social and political histories of design, and visual cultural studies. And all have extensive contacts with industry and other professional contexts.
Browse profiles of our management team, teaching staff, and visiting lecturers.
Associate Professor Dr Juthamas Tangsantikul
Programme Director, Pathway Leader Experimental Communication Design
Associate Professor Dr Takerng Pattanopas
Dr Brian Curtin
Course Leader Academic Writing on Communication Design and Seminar in Communication Design
Dr Ratchada Jayagupta
Course Leader Southeast Asian Studies for Communication Design and Seminar
Pathway Leader Type Design as Research