DE5005 - Design: Context

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What will I learn on this module?

This module encourages you to understand the complex issues raised by the proposing and manufacturing of products. The act of design is explored in The Subject component of the module where you investigate the challenges faced by society and the opportunities created by culture. In the designer you begin the lifelong challenge of placing your own practices in the context of wider world.

The subject. This module component is issue driven and is designed to expand your knowledge of the influences on contemporary design. The meanings, values and ethics of design are explored in relation to case studies of current practice, legislation, institutions and major global trends. In doing so it enhances your understanding of theoretical questions introduced at level 4. The craft of writing, debating and presenting informed opinions is central to the teaching of this component.

The designer. This studio and seminar based component requires you to place your own developing practice in the contexts explored in The Subject. You will carefully consider how the skills developed in the ‘Design: Atelier’ module can be used to make a positive contribution to the world of things. Studio based projects provide the opportunity for you to articulate your understanding of a variety of motivations for the creation of things via both design practice and writing. By engaging with user centred and technology driven approaches to design and considering how social comment can be made through or by design practice you will further develop your appreciation of the designer’s role in both cultural and commercial terms. This component develops both the academic and creative skills to formulate the research themes that underpin the self-written Major Design Study in Level 6

How will I learn on this module?

The subject component is seminar based. Tutor led subject delivery is combined with structured group discussion and debate. By proposing and presenting a topic for closer inspection you are able to develop your ability to analyse information and formulate independent judgements.

By reflecting on the critical debates raised by your study and your initial understanding of them you will then, with tutorial support, produce a piece of writing that evidences your ability to further independently source and engage with a broad range of material and formulate a defendable argument/ view.


The Designer is studio and seminar based. Learning is via both the study of and the engagement with the design process. Project critiques provide opportunities to account and defend your points of view as well as providing a rich learning experience. Presenting your own issue driven practice during the course of the module for formative feedback promotes reflective practice and aids your meeting of the module learning outcomes evidenced in the portfolio of projects for summative assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The subject: support is provided by regular group and individual tutorials and by staged formative feedback. Timetabled sessions provide you with opportunities to engage on a weekly basis with the academic staff.

The designer: Academic support is given by regularly timetabled tutor facilitated studio and workshop sessions that provide multiple opportunities for constructive dialogue around the themes explored in the module. One to one tutorials following each of the projects provide you with formalised formative feedback prior to the presentation of the component’s portfolio for summative assessment.

In addition, Tutor Guided Independent Learning/Student Independent Learning as part of both components will help you start to make constructive use of feedback received in class, and to take responsibility to direct your own learning needs. Such learning may include a range of activities such as; contextual reading; software skills and techniques; traditional media experimentation; photographic practice; practical skills-based learning.

The module is supported by a specific virtual learning environment (eLearning Portal (eLP)) where you will find all the relevant documentation (briefs, module guides, assessment requirements etc.) The eLP also provides access to Turnitin® for electronic submission of written assignments. The digital submission of interim works for tutorial guidance and formative assessment allows for expedient communication and the effective review of work whilst also utilising industry standard practices.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

On successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

? Demonstrate a critical awareness of historical, cultural and contemporary issues through creative design practice.
? Recognise the importance of ethical and responsible design practice through through both theory and practice led methodologies.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

? Demonstrate critical analysis in the selection and evaluation of research evidence or source material in the formulation of project work 1.
? Defend/account for your concepts through verbal presentations and project work with reasoned judgement, located in and informed by current critical debate.

Personal Values Attributes

? Demonstrate your ability to take greater responsibility for your own learning, evidencing a decreasing reliance on supervision to achieve outcomes.

? Show ability to effectively communicate through one or more of the following means; written, visual, oral.

How will I be assessed?

The module has 2 assessment tasks:

The Subject component of the Design: Context module has one formal formative assessment point and one summative assessment point:
Formal formative assessment is made at the end of semester 1 via the submission of a subject proposal and presentation.
Summative assessment is based on the submission of a written assignment in semester 2. IPSA 1,2 PVA 3

The proposal and presentation for The Subject (semester 1) and the projects that form semester 1 of The Designer provide the opportunity for summative assessment points (20 credits 50%) for students joining the module for a semester from another institution in the second semester.

The written assignment for The Subject (semester 2) and the projects that form semester 2 of The Designer provide the opportunity for summative assessment points (20 credits 50%) for students joining the module in semester 2 from another institution or are returning to Northumbria after taking the option of exchange in the first semester.

The Designer component of the Design: Context module consist of a number of projects completed during semesters 1 and 2 that are formatively assessed as part of the teaching of the module.
Summative assessment is via the submission of a portfolio of projects at the end of the semester 2.
This component addresses all 5 MLOs.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This module encourages you to understand the complex issues raised by the proposing and manufacturing of products. The module has two components: the act of design is explored in The Subject component of the module where you investigate the challenges faced by society and the opportunities created by culture. In the designer you begin the lifelong challenge of placing your own practices in the context of wider world.

Course info

UCAS Code W260

Credits 40

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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