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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Modernism and After (DESI08097)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the defining characteristics and events of modernity and postmodernity, and to the key critical concepts of modernism and postmodernism. It identifies and engages with the significant critical and aesthetic debates and creative practices that have shaped design and screen cultures since the late nineteenth century. The specific aims of the Course are to enable you to acquire an understanding of the defining features of the evolution of design and screen-based creative practice since the late nineteenth century; to help you develop competence, imagination and understanding when applying key critical concepts relevant to the analysis and production of design and screen cultures; and to support you in your investigation and analysis of some of the core issues that will establish a historical foundation for the development of your studio practice.
Course description Modernism and After offers a survey of the key themes and ideas that have created the material world we live in today. Its primary focus is on the significant cultural, social and political events that have influenced designers, filmmakers, and cultural producers more broadly, as well as the impact that design and screen cultures have had on wider society. The course takes a broadly chronological look at the rise of modernity from the late nineteenth century, including processes of industrialisation. In the first half of the course you will be introduced to key moments in the history of modernism including: the role of fashion in shaping cultural identity; the significance of the Bauhaus as an educational force; the relationship between technology and film; and the continued importance of the handmade. The second half of the course deals with the postmodern turn, where many of the ideas associated with modernism were challenged. You will consider a further range of topics including: the roots of postmodernism; subjectivity in the postmodern era; pastiche and irony; and the rise of brand cultures.

The course is delivered through lectures, seminars and film screenings. Each week students will be required to undertake research activities and prepare work, as part of their directed learning hours, for presentation or discussion in seminar and in preparation for the final submission.
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 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  180
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Formative Assessment Hours 4, Other Study Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 169 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Film viewing
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative tasks will take place on a weekly basis within the seminars and workshops. The formative tasks will include, but are not limited to, approaches to annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, as well as developing academic referencing skills.
There are two summative assessment tasks:

The first assessment task assesses Learning Outcome 1, 2 and 3 and will take the form of a written submission (1,000-words). This task will take place during the course and all learning outcomes will be equally weighted.

The second assessment task takes the form of a written submission (1,500 words), which will also be graded against Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 3. This task will be submitted at the end of the course and learning outcomes will also be equally weighted.

Each summative assessment task will account for 50% of the overall grade.

The summative assessment tasks are specifically designed to allow students to demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes and are graded directly against the three learning outcomes of the course. All the learning outcomes are equally weighted.
Feedback Formative feedback/forward will be provided on a weekly basis within seminars and workshops. For the summative assessment written feedback and grades will be provided within 15 working days of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate broad knowledge of a range of debates on modernism and postmodernism in the context of visual and material culture.
  2. Evaluate the key ideas and debates relating to modernist and postmodernist developments both in your field and in relation to their wider cultural influence.
  3. Convey pertinent ideas using a range of forms of communication effectively in both familiar and new contexts.
Reading List

Modernism with Ali Smith and Kevin Jackson (2012) BBC Radio 4. 22 October 2012, 21:30. available from « [6 December 2012].
Barbican Art Gallery (2012) Bauhaus: Art as Life. Koln: Koenig in Association with Barbican Art Gallery.
Crouch, C. (1999) Modernism in Art, Design and Architecture. New York: St Martins Press.
Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) (1991) Art in Theory, 1900-1990: an Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell.
Howard, M. (2000) The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lupton, E. (1996) Mechanical Brides: Women and Machines from Home to Office. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.
Osborne, P. (2010) The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Overy, P. (1991) De Stijl. London: Thames and Hudson.
Wilks, C. (2006) Modernism, Designing a New World. London, VandA Publications.


Appignanesi, R. (1995) Introducing Postmodernism. Thriplo: Icon.
Branxi, A. (1984) The Hot House: Italian New-Wave Design. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
Featherstone, M. (1993) Consumer Culture & Postmodernism. London, Sage.
Jencks, C. (1986) What is Post-modernism? Academy.
Harvey, D. (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford, Blackwell.
Harrison, C. and Wood, P. (eds.) (1991) Art in theory, 1900-1990: an Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell.
Howard, M. (2000) The Oxford History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
McCracken, G. (2008) Transformations, Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture. Bloomington, Ind.: Indianna University Press.
Sardar, Z. (1997) Postmodernism and the Other: New Imperialism of Western Culture. London: Pluto Press.
Sparke, P. (2004) An Introduction to Design and Culture: 1900 to the Present. 2nd Edition, London: Routledge.
Thackara, J. (1988) Design After Modernism. London: Thames and Hudson.
Miller, D. (1998) Shopping, Place, and Identity. London: Routledge.
-- (1991) Material Culture and Mass Consumption. Oxford: Blackwell.
V&A (2011) Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990. London: V&A Publishing.
Ward, G. (1997) Postmodernism. London, Hodder.
Watson, C . (2000) Multiculturalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Woods, T. (1999) Beginning Postmodernism. Manchester: MUP.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To be able to identify processes and strategies for learning;
To be able to identify, define and analyse problems and identify or create processes to solve them;
To be able to search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding;
To make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding.
KeywordsDesign theory,design history,screen cultures,modernism,postmodernism
Course organiserDr Mike Anusas
Tel: (0131 6)51 5728
Course secretaryMiss Emili Astrom
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