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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Undergraduate Course: Environmental Practices (ARCH08051)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEnvironmental Practices introduces students to a range of theories and practices concerned with interpreting the environment as a dynamic context. Students respond to weekly themes, from which they undertake a series of site-related investigations, testing a range of observational and representational techniques. The course allows students to better understand how to initiate design thinking through critical site-related investigations, while developing awareness of their own creative agency, documenting this process in a critically reflective portfolio.
Course description Environmental Practices introduces students to comparative forms of creative practice, covering the allied fields of art, architecture and landscape architecture. From this students undertake their own field based explorations, testing a range of visual techniques introduced through the course. The course asks students to consider how a design process evolves from a critical interpretation of the environment, predicated on the creative use of visual skills to articulate observable actions and interactions between people, place, and nature.

Drawing and fieldwork hold fundamental significance within the course structure, allowing students to test and develop ways of expressing ideas through direct engagement with the environment. Students are encouraged to explore other representational methods, to experiment across a range of expressive forms and build awareness of visual communication and creative agency in their own practice.

While the course acts as an introduction to current environmental theories and practices, it also offers students an introductory step in understanding the role designers play in addressing the current biodiversity and climate emergencies. Current professional guidance promotes the role of design to preserve, integrate and enhance natural habitats which encourage biodiversity and support access to green infrastructure space for communities (ARB, Architects Registration Board), while developing understanding of natural processes and ecosystems with opportunities for improvements to biodiversity through landscape projects (UK Landscape Institute).

Environmental Practices responds to these criterion by setting out weekly themes that explore the ways in which humans, non-humans and environmental processes intersect with the surrounding world in dynamic ways. Indicative weekly themes include: Shadow / Rock / Water / Sun / Field / Soil / Vista / Living Matter / Darkness / Time. Supported by course tutors, students respond to these weekly themes through a series of investigative site-based works, to cumulatively build up a portfolio that documents their own investigative process, underpinned by written critical reflections.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  153
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 20, Fieldwork Hours 10, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Other Study Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 141 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study Hours: 1hr (workshop induction)
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative Assessment:

A mid-semester formal review at which students must present individual coursework they have developed. Feedback/Feedforward appraisal will be verbal and written.

Summative Assessment:

100% Coursework

There is a single component of assessment. This is a curated portfolio of your work, including written critical reflections, that comprises 100% of the total mark for this course.

The portfolio will document the project outline, process of investigation, articulate the findings and include a written critical reflection. The portfolio may be of mixed media work, models, drawings, and installations.

The assessment of the portfolio is based on the learning outcomes for the course. Each of the learning outcomes are weighted equally in assessing the course.
Feedback Students receive feedback regularly through informal studio weekly tutorials. The mid-semester formal review is the main opportunity for formative feedback, which is followed by individual verbal and written feedback.

Students receive written feedback at the end of the course following the assessment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate through critical reflection an understanding of concepts, principles and terms related to contemporary environmental thinking.
  2. Develop and apply representational skills for observing and analysing environmental phenomena.
  3. Communicate ideas and completed exercises configured in a portfolio of work.
Reading List
Decolonizing Nature - Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press) by T. J. Demos (2016)
Art and Ecology Now (Thames and Hudson) by Andrew Brown (2014)
The Artistic Progressions of Ecofeminism: The Changing Focus of Women in
Environmental Art (The International Journal of Arts in Society, Volume 6 Issue 1) Jade Wildy (2011)
Experimental Drawing (Watson-Guptill Publications) by Robert Kaupelis (1992)
Lines: A Brief History (Routledge) by Tim Ingold (2016)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. A critical understanding of contemporary environmental issues and theories.
2. Ability to contribute effectively in peer discussion.
3. Ability in articulating and effectively configuring creative works.
4. A creative engagement with a wide range of representational methods.
5. Be critically self-reflective in addressing ethical, social and sustainability issues.
Special Arrangements This course is only available to students on UG Programmes in Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
KeywordsLandscape,Architecture,Environment,Climate Change,Biodiversity,Sustainable Design
Course organiserMs Tiffany Dang
Course secretaryMr Brendan Sweeney
Tel: (0131 6)50 6329
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