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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Biodesign project (DESI11102)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course, you will engage with biology-related discoveries in areas such as chemistry, engineering, biomedical sciences and synthetic biology and will develop new design applications that will integrate of discuss these discoveries. You will be invited to reflect on how the application of biological systems may challenge the way we consider artefacts and systems, as well as other species and social relationships.
Course description The course will be underpinned by a series of lectures offered by experts in biology-related areas of research. You will work in small groups, engaging with a specific theme of common interest. Through continuous iteration of research, ideas generation and practical experimentations, students will develop a critical framework that will result in the development of a final design.

The course will:
1. Support your ability to plan, carry out and articulate the development of a design application based on biological concepts.
2. Develop skills to critically analyse research and innovation regarding economic, political, social and environmental impact, while interacting with various stakeholders.
3. Provide a context for enquiry and study exploring interdisciplinary research and innovation and articulating a particular position based on active learning.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Students will cover material costs for developing final prototypes and demonstrators.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 12, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 18, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Tutorials and Supervised Practical sessions will be delivered in groups.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will be assessed through the three Learning Outcomes, with each Learning Outcome carrying the same weighting. Learning will be demonstrated through 3 components, as follows:
1. Participation in class, including oral presentations, where student will actively take part in 3 short and 2 long presentations and production of one blog posts describing research, design decisions, or iterative design process. Short 6-min presentations will take place at the start of initial classes, and the 2 longer 20 min presentations will take place in the midterm and end of semester. Each student will produce one blog posts that will report on the work of the group 25%
2. Artefact, installation or design intervention that incorporates knowledge acquired in the course plus a 5-min video that presents this artefact. 50%
3. A 1500-word written reflection that summarises a personal perspective and insights on the project. 25%
Components 1 and 3 will be assessed individually while component 2 will be assessed within the groups.
Feedback Feedback will address the 3 Learning Outcomes.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Examine research materials and design precedents, critically assessing opportunities presented by scientific research, while actively identifying appropriate use of methods for speculative development and analysis.
  2. Conceptualise and develop an artefact that critically integrates principles of biology in design.
  3. Articulate a theoretical framework that supports the production of a design application through a synthesis of theory and practice.
Reading List
Agapakis, C. M. (2013). Designing synthetic biology. ACS synthetic biology, 3(3), 121-128.

Born, G., & Barry, A. (2010). Art-science: From public understanding to public experiment. Journal of Cultural Economy, 3(1), 103-119.

De Laet, M., & Mol, A. (2000). The Zimbabwe bush-pump mechanics of a fluid technology. Social studies of science, 30(2), 225-263.

Dade-Robertson, M., Figueroa, C. R., & Zhang, M. (2015). Material ecologies for synthetic biology: Biomineralization and the state space of design. Computer-Aided Design, 60, 28-39.

Gast, M. (2015) Synthetische Biologie/ Synthetic Biology In: Form Magazine. Design and Ethics no. 206.

Ginsberg, A. D., Calvert, J., Schyfter, P., Elfick, A., & Endy, D. (2014). Synthetic aesthetics: investigating synthetic biology's designs on nature. MIT press.

Myers, W. (2012). Bio design. Museum of Modern Art; Distributed in the United States and Canada by ARTBOOK/DAP.

Weiss, E. B. (1990). Our rights and obligations to future generations for the environment. The American Journal of International Law, 84(1), 198-207.

Yetisen, A. K., Davis, J., Coskun, A. F., Church, G. M., & Yun, S. H. (2015). Bioart. Trends in biotechnology, 33(12), 724-734.
Additional Information
Demonstrate and/or work with:
. A critical understanding of a range of specialised theories, concepts and principles [in design, biology, and possibly the social sciences].
. Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms, much of which is at, or informed by, developments at the forefront.
. A critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline/sector and one or more specialisms [particularly focused on bio-technology].

Apply knowledge, skills and understanding:
. In using a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are at the forefront of, or informed by forefront developments. [Students will engage with living organisms and materials that are the forefront of technological developments]
. In applying a range of standard and specialised research and/or equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry. [Students will engage in both practical and theoretical research mixing methods from design, social and natural sciences]
. In planning and executing a significant project of research, investigation or development.
. In demonstrating originality and/or creativity, including in practices.
. To practise in a wide and often unpredictable variety of professional level contexts.

. Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues, or issues that are informed by forefront developments in the subject/discipline/sector.
. Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues
. Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues.
. Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.

Use a wide range of routine skills and a range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline/sector, for example:
. Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
. Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.

Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.
. Take responsibility for own work and significant responsibility for the work of others.
. Take significant responsibility for a range of resources.
. Work in a peer relationship with specialist practitioners.
. Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
. Practise in ways which draw on critical reflection on own and others¿ roles and responsibilities.
. Manage complex ethical and professional issues and make informed judgements on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.
KeywordsBiodesign,Biotechnology,Speculative design
Course organiserDr Larissa Pschetz
Course secretaryMr Mathieu Donner
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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