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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: dLab(3): Design for Environmental Change (DESI11107)

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
SummaryThis DesignLab (dLab) interrogates the complex challenges and environmental issues resulting from our intense demand for natural resources which we require to thrive and survive. This demand is having a negative impact; some argue we have entered a new epoch defined by our impact, calling it the Anthropocene. Drawing directly from issue-based themes from the RCUK Global Challenges Areas and the UN's Global Goals, each year a particular area is identified for interrogation through design-led interventions, leading to propositions and prototyping of alternative futures which aim to facilitate new materialisms, new behaviours and new systems which are ecologically sound, environmentally neutral and enable individuals to have global impact in shifting attitudes and approaches to our planet.
Course description As we enter what some have termed 'the Anthropocene', the UK's ecological footprint is estimated to be 5.4 global hectares, meaning that 5 planets are required to support the way people in the UK currently live. So how do we start to take care of the one planet we've got? Our complex cycles of production and consumption put significant strain on our natural resources, and are having a monumental impact on the global ecosphere. New methods and approaches to developing alternative resources and supply chains, circular economies, healthy ways of consuming and a change in attitude about our relationship with the planet are urgently required. dLab(3): Design for Environmental Change, begins by examining current eco-centred initiatives such as carbon footprint reduction, circular economies, and sustainable development. We'll ask in what ways these low impact approaches can be made more mainstream, leading to alternative behaviours and ways of living which benefit our planetary ecosystem, ensuring a high quality of life for future generations to come.

In dLab(3): Design for Environmental Change, we place critical making and the examination of the impact of material cultures at the heart of understanding the relationship between people and the planet, in order to examine how new materials, new methods of manufacture and development, resource use, allocation, and new material interactions can be constructed and enacted, leading to consumption-oriented behaviour change, fostering a renewed commitment to socially responsible sustainability practices. Constructive design practices, interrogating materials, and visualisation strategies to uncover global impacts from local practices lie at the heart of the approaches undertaken in dLab(3): Design for Environmental Change.

Each year, one dLab theme is identified in partnership with relevant stakeholders, drawn from the Global Challenges debates - the UN Global Goals and the RCUK Global Challenge areas provide insights into the selected themes. Through coursework teaching design-centred practices through issue-based contexts, you'll learn to analyse the circumstances, synthesize findings in a designerly way, and evaluate, with others, successful pathways leading to preferential change within the identified theme. Communication and reflection are key components of design practice we foster throughout coursework over the semester.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs The nature of studio courses is such that there is reasonable expectation of materials being consumed and deployed in the development of prototypes, models, and visualisations (including printing). For this course, a reasonable expectation is that students may spend an average of £50, but these costs fluctuate significantly depending upon individual projects and student choices of materials involved with project execution.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 33, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course has 2 components of assessment.«br /»
«br /»
Component 1 (50%) is a textual submission with supporting visuals (2000 words) outlining examination and synthesis of findings to the relevant theme of inquiry, which establishes a future direction for the remainder of the studio coursework. Submitted Week 6«br /»
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Component 2 (50%) is a final series of visualisations, prototypes, models, or other related work which concretises the student's proposition for change through design, including written text (2000 words) supporting the students' evaluation and reflection of their intended design-led change, and the communicative potential associated with their work. Submitted Week 13.«br /»
Feedback In week 6, a group formative feedback event is held where each student delivers a visual presentation to their fellow students and teaching/research staff, summarising their written submission from Component 1, enabling internal examiners to provide audio captured verbal formative feedback regarding project scope, direction and future engagement leading to deeper understanding of requirements for component 2.

Further formative feedback is regularly provided through the course. This takes a variety of forms, including verbally through group and individual meetings where work and ideas are discussed with both peers and tutor.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. present a strong ability in examining issues involving complex data about phenomena beyond the human scale in a design-drive manner
  2. apply relevant practical skills in consolidating your understanding of complex information from an environmental and ecological perspective through appropriate methods and techniques of visualisation, modelling and mapping.
  3. demonstrate professional standards of communicating proposals for environmental change through appropriate design platforms including a range of texts, images and objects, either alone or in combination
  4. discuss selection criteria for judgment of personal project work in settings where complete understanding and full comprehension may neither be available nor possible
  5. articulate significant capacity to review your personal progress in managing, communicating and proposing complex design-driven projects leading to change
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Be open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking
Be able to identify processes and strategies for learning
Be ready to ask key questions and exercise rational enquiry
Search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding
Be able to respond effectively to unfamiliar problems in unfamiliar contexts
Be able to make decisions on the basis of rigorous and independent thought, taking into account ethical and professional issues
Keywordsdesign,issue-based design,strategic change,critical futures,environmentalism,Anthropocene
Course organiserDr Rachel Harkness
Tel: (0131 6)51 5753
Course secretaryDr Eadaoin Lynch
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
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