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Semester 1

Environmental Design: Materials, Ecologies, Futures (DESI10122)







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Visiting student eligibility will be assessed (including any required Design background) on a case-by-case basis. **Please note that Design courses have extremely limited spaces available, and are very popular, so students cannot be guaranteed a space in any Design course.** These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the Design department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This course offers the timely and crucial opportunity to think about design in relation to a world undergoing huge environmental change. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, and bringing together work in design and art with that in political ecology and the environmental humanities, the course will equip students with a strong, critical and questioning understanding of issues related to what things and relations we design and make today and in the future, and how we go about designing-making them.

Course Description

This is a course in which students will be accompanied by a variety of thinkers and doers, writers and designer-makers, as they consider the question of how people's relationship with and understanding of the environment, in turn fashions and impacts upon environments, peoples and organisms. It is a course that will invite students to consider the fact that the benefits and effects of environmental change are unequally distributed in the world, and it will provide them with a sense of the way in which global processes connect social 'actors' at all scales (from the very local - even molecular - through regional, national, international to global). Richly nuanced ethnographic accounts of life and designs in different parts of the world will furnish the course so that students are able to build up a sense of environment and design that includes the non-Western and an idea of the many possible different ways in whichpeople work or might work with materials, different ecologies and different imagined futures to shape the world around them. Each fortnight, lectures, making activities, close-readings and student-led discussions will allow students to think through a theme that further interrogates the issue of what environmental design is/could be and how we (as designers but also as those that partake in the consumption, use and discourses of design) might pursue it. The four themes are: 1. Experience and the Environment: Design and the Senses, Making and Consumption; 2. Stories of Stuff: Labour, Social Justice and Design; 3. Materials and (New) Materialism: Bodies, Resources and Pollution; 4. Environmental Futures: Time, Hope and Possibilities in Design. Learning and teaching activities will be based on a repeating model of four different sessions exploring one of the four sub-themes. They include: Lectures (designed to provide overviews of the sub-theme and introduction to the key interdisciplinary literature and design precedents, including use of various creative means of communication such as excerpts from ethnographic film and documentaries, fiction/creative writing, animation, art and design); Facilitated close-reading groups where students and tutor read and analyse, in detail, a short key text on the sub-theme (e.g. Bennett on New Materialism or Crutzen and Stoermer on the Anthropocene); Workshops where the theme is explored through simple making activities (examples might include, repurposing/upcycling a post-consumer object, drawing, papier-mâché copies of things, or thinking through a material such as clay); Student-led discussion sessions where the sub-theme and its theorising is debated in relation to the/their practice of design. **In addition to the contact time, a significant number of directed and independent learning hours will be expected of the students. Some of these hours will be expected to be used by students to create weekly blog postings where they creatively respond to and reflect upon the material being worked through in class. At mid-point in the semester, these blog posts will form the basis of the formative assessment. At the end of the course the summative assessment will ask students to discuss a theme from the course in conversation with the work of one thinker writer/practitioner featured in 'Environmental Design'.**

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer