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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Postgraduate Course: Objects of Desire (DESI11164)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers an opportunity to think about craft and design in relation to the objects that surround us. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the course will equip you with a strong, critical and questioning understanding of the conceptual and historical aspects of craft and design and encourage you to think about the implications of making, value and taste on the production of objects. You will undertake a personal project related to a social biography of an object.
Course description Objects surround us; they inflect upon everything we do; they literally determine the world we live in. However, so often they remain taken for granted. In this course we will investigate the capacity that objects have to tell us about the societies in which they were created and used. Based on a combination of historical research, cultural theory and contemporary uses and potential of design, this course will focus on the context of production, materiality and making. It will provide a close study of the representation and consumption of objects and the ways that taste and value contribute to our understanding of the world. All lectures will be delivered by historians, theorists and practitioners from the School of Design. The aims of the course are:

To introduce you to the conceptual and historical aspects of craft and design.

To encourage you to think broadly about the implications of making, value and taste on the production of objects.

To allow you to undertake a personal project related to the social/cultural biography of an object.

This course has a hybrid delivery and is organised through a mix of pre-recorded weekly lectures (weeks 1-11). The course uses a flipped classroom approach, which means that you will watch the online lecture and complete the weekly online blog tasks in advance of each weekly seminar session. Your weekly 1-hour seminars and group tutorials will all be in person. You will have regular points of contact with your course tutor, including written feedback on your work at the formative and summative assessment points. You will receive live feedback from your course tutor during the weekly seminars and group tutorials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, External Visit Hours 6, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework - equally weighted against learning outcomes
Biography of an object
The final summative submission asks you to create a fully documented biography of an object: Provide a brief description of the physical appearance and materials of the object, followed by an examination of at least one of the following perspectives: social, cultural, historical, or technical context of the object. As well as thinking about the origins, manufacture, use or meaning of your object, you might also want to discuss the object's biography in its present context, for example as a museum or gallery artefact (how it was acquired, what previous uses or exhibitions are associated with it?)
You should also include a section explaining why the object is of interest to you.

Your Biography of an Object should be fully referenced and (where appropriate) illustrated - and will take the form of a 3500-word essay. You will receive written feedback, a final grade on each learning outcome and an overall grade for the course.

Summative Assessment counts towards your final grade/mark and appears on your academic transcript. It evaluates your learning (again the learning outcomes for the course).
Feedback Written feedback will be given. This formative feedback point will give you specific formal feedback on the proposed subject matter of your end-of-course summative essay.

Formative assessment does not count to your final grade/mark but is used to support your learning. Feedback on formative assessment is designed to help you learn more effectively by giving you feedback on your performance and on how it can be improved and/or maintained.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the social and cultural relations that objects create.
  2. Critically analyse and engage with a range of textual and non-textual discourses concerning the production, dissemination and consumption of objects.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to write and visualise narratives about objects and the web of social and cultural relations that surrounds them, using a variety of creative strategies.
  4. Use autonomy and judgement, to critically compose a constructed, original and personal narrative related to an object biography.
Reading List
Adamson, G. (2009). The Craft Reader. London: Bloomsbury
Candlin, F & Guins, R. (Eds.) (2009). The Object Reader. London: Routledge
Forty, A. (1986). Objects of Desire: Design and Society since 1750. London: Thames and Hudson
Highmore, B. (Ed.) (2008). The Design Culture Reader. London: Routledge
Julier, G, (2013) The Culture of Design, Sage
Miller, D. (2009). Stuff. London: Polity Press
Bennett, J. (2010). Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press
MacGrgegor, N, (2012). A History of the World in 100 Objects, Penguin
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will encourage critical thinking, inventiveness, social awareness, whilst helping to hone communication skills (spoken, written for a number of different audiences, and visual), as well as increasing confidence and creativity.

The topic (related to craft and design objects) and structure of this course is designed to help equip students with:

Generic cognitive and subject specific skills: directly related to the field of craft and design.
Communication skills: the ability to integrate the key concepts of the course & relate them to their own practice.
Professional skills: the ability to write and deliver a creative narrative on an object.
Transferable skills: autonomy, accountability, engaging and working with others.
Additional Class Delivery Information Wednesday mornings
Course organiserDr Jessamy Kelly
Tel: (0131 6)51 5816
Course secretaryMr Aidan Cole
Tel: (0131 6)50 2306
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