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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Multi-Sensory Cultures (DESI10061)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is about the importance of multi-sensory experience. Rather than a purely visual engagement with the world the course explores the way in which a truly multi-sensory involvement offers an opportunity for a richer understanding of the 'things' that surround us. To examine this the course pays particular attention to a range of cultural applications from fields including art, architecture, design, sound studies, and the wider built environment.
Course description This course deals with experience. What is it to experience the material world? Its primary aim is to consider how our experiences are conditioned through multiple senses. Whilst the visual realm is, for many, still the fundamental way in which we experience the world this cannot be separated from the intermingling of all senses. In taking this position the course sets out to examine the complex relationships between the different senses and how these affect our engagement with the world around us. With a particular focus on material cultures the course employs a range of cultural contexts from art, architecture, design, sound, and the built environment. It will explore these contexts through a variety of thematic approaches including (but not limited to): embodiment; hegemony of the visual; sounding objects; the olfactory imagination; touch and texture; immersive atmospheres; affect; mediated experience; rhythm analysis; creating the multi-sensory.

Whilst many of the key themes and ideas of the course will be disseminated through lectures, the course also provides ample opportunity for student discussion through seminars. It also includes practical workshops where students will explore multi-sensory experiences through creative engagement.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If this course is Core to your programme, you will automatically be enrolled. For all other students, including Design students, the course is open on a first come, first served basis until the course is full. This course may have limited availability for non-Design students. Please contact the Course Organiser if you wish to enrol.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  43
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, 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) Formative:

Students will be required to submit a 500-word written proposal and plan for the final assessment, including an indicative bibliography. This will be submitted in week 6.


Students will be required to submit a 3000-word essay based on their 500-word proposal. This will be submitted in week 11.

Relationship between Assessment and Learning Outcomes:

The summative essay will be assessed against each of the four learning outcomes. The learning outcomes are equally weighted.
Feedback Formative: Students will receive written feedback on their proposal via Learn. This will be within 15 working days of submission.

Summative: Students will receive written feedback on their essay via Learn. This will be within 15 working days of submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and analyse the key discourses and debates on multi-sensory experience.
  2. Apply theoretical and contextual ideas to appropriate case studies.
  3. Engage in a variety of research approaches and methods appropriate to the multi-sensory.
  4. Communicate arguments in a creative and coherent manner through appropriate forms of dissemination.
Reading List
Bachelard, G. (1992). The Poetics of Space. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press

Bull, M. & Back, L. (Eds.). (2003). The Auditory Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg

Classen, C. (Eds.). (2005). The Book of Touch. Oxford: Berg

Gregg, M. & Seigworth, G.J. (Eds.). (2010). The Affect Theory Reader. Durham. Duke University Press

Howes, D. (Ed.). (2004). Empire of the Senses: The Sensual Culture Reader. Oxford: Berg

Jay, M. (1994). Downcast Eyes: The Denigration Vision in Twentieth Century French Thought. Berkeley: University of California Press

Pallasmaa, J. (2005). The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Chichester: John Wiley

Serres, M. (2008). The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies. London: Continuum
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To exercise autonomy and initiative in the development of projects;
To be able to be able to identify and apply processes and strategies for learning;
To be able to search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding;
To be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest;
To make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding.
KeywordsMulti-sensory experience,visual culture,sound cultures,affect,design cultures,cultural studies
Course organiserDr Agnese Sile
Tel: (0131 6)51 5800
Course secretaryMiss Emili Astrom
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