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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Design and Society (DESI08140)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the powerful role that design plays in shaping our physical and social worlds and the ways in which designers have sought to develop socially and environmentally responsible practices that critique and challenge existing power structures. Following an introduction to the history of Social Design, a set of themed lectures on Race and Decoloniality, Gender, Disability, Age, Sustainability, the Local and Global, and Community and Place will challenge students to think critically about design and its transformative potential. The course will also support students to develop their own research interests arising from these themes.
Course description This course will introduce students to design practices that stand self-consciously outside the mainstream of consumer driven design and which instead seek to employ socially and environmentally responsible practices that foreground the needs of marginalised groups and challenge existing power structures. Through a set of themed lectures that encompass and connect the personal with the social, the local to the global, and the artificial with the natural, students will explore the ways in which designers have responded to these themes and will critically engage with the strategies they have adopted. Running through this, particular attention will be paid to the relationship between designers and the people they design for (or with). It will ask, how are people or communities conceived and framed, what knowledge structures underpin this, what is the relationship between human and non-human, the natural and artificial, and how can design work to disrupt and reconfigure these relations to create more emancipatory and sustainable futures? The course will encourage students to develop their own research interests arising from these themes and where relevant it will also support them to approach their own design practices in a reflexive and critically informed manner. The course is delivered through weekly lectures and seminars. 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
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  100
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 8, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Fieldwork Hours 2, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There is one summative assessment task. The summative assessment takes the form of a 2500-word essay, which will be graded against all three Learning Outcomes. Each learning outcome is weighted equally and the summative assessment counts towards 100% of the course mark.

There is one formative assessment point which is designed to prepare students for the final summative essay. This will take the form of a group presentation accompanied by an individually authored supporting statement of 500-words plus bibliography.
Feedback Students will receive written feedback and grades on their formative and summative submissions via the course Learn site. This will be within 15 working days of submission. Note that formative grades do not count towards the final course mark and summative grades remain indicative until approved by the relevant exam board. Written feedback will provide guidance on areas of strength and improvement in relation to the Learning Outcomes.

Verbal formative feedback will be provided on a weekly basis in relation to the ongoing seminar and workshop exercises.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Use scholarly sources alongside complimentary research strategies to investigate a topic within the field of design and society
  2. Demonstrate a contextual knowledge and understanding of social design through a critical analysis of the research topic
  3. Use a range of visual strategies to support the communication of complex arguments and analysis of the research topic
Reading List
Fry, T. (2009) Design Futuring. Oxford: Berg
Fuad-Luke, A. (2013) Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World. Routledge
Resnick, E. (2016) Developing Citizen Designers. London: Bloomsbury
Tauke, B., Smith, K & Davis, C. eds (2016) Diversity and Design. London: Routledge
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.
Course organiserMr Paul Glavey
Course secretaryMr Aidan Cole
Tel: (0131 6)50 2306
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