AH4008 - Design Culture

What will I learn on this module?

You will acquire the basic building blocks of Design Enquiry that will underpin your further learning experience in both Three Dimensional Design and the knowledge and skills for Life Long Learning. These skills are grouped around the 4 main first level questions: What, where, when and who? What is Design, the object of study, what is included or excluded? Where is design located, where did it originate, change, spread to? When did design emerge as a discrete subject? Periodisation and the key periods and movements: Classicism, Eclecticism, Modernism and Post-Modernism. You will become familiar with the main thinkers and designers who have influenced the development of design as it became the Global Phenomenon we know today. (At level 5 you develop these questions to include How and Why?)

How will I learn on this module?

You will develop methods of enquiry and analysis through study of design in representation and at first hand. Your knowledge and information will be acquired through lectures, directed study, study visits and reading. Your communication skills will be practised in workshops and seminars and demonstrated in writing and presentations.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Through lectures, seminars and tutorials. Course and e-learning materials will be available through the e-Learning Portal.

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?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of historical and contemporary design issues and contexts through enquiry and presentation.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Source, review and discuss design related issues or topics in a scholarly manner as evidenced through the presentation of critical argument.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Show a fundamental awareness of global, cultural and ethical issues and responsible design practice through design context studies.

How will I be assessed?

Portfolio 50%
Essay 50%

This assessment is based on a series of set exercises that test your ability to reflect on and critique the work of others in the construction and communication of your own viewpoint. Formative feedback will be provided during participatory seminars where you will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas.
Portfolio 50%

At the end of the module you demonstrate your understanding of the subject and your acquisition of skills in a 1000 word academic essay in response to set questions.
Essay 50%





Module abstract

Design Cultures provides the toolkit to situate your design practise in a wider cultural context. Few practises of intellectual and commercial human activity reach into so many areas of everyday public and private life as Design. Sessions are structured thematically, so the historical precedents of how design became the global phenomenon it is today are studied alongside the crucial issues of contemporary life such as sustainability, globalisation or consumerism. What, for example, do historical figures such as William Morris or Adam Smith contribute to debates about a designer’s responsibility in the 21st Century? Design Cultures provides an opportunity for first year students to develop key (secondary) research skills whilst engaging with theoretical issues that will go on to underpin their project work. You will learn the skills of research, visual and textual analysis, questioning, synthesis and verbal and written communication.

Course info

UCAS Code W260

Credits 20

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 2023 or September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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