DE6017 - Future Practice in Context

What will I learn on this module?

This module will help you deliver a body of new design-led research that will underpin and provide criticality and context to your final self-initiated studio practice. We will support you by offering refresher online and live lectures, presentations and seminars on a selection of interdisciplinary methods and contemporary design challenges as a way to help you finalise and finesse your critical contextual research project in advance of your writing up of the project.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, group seminars and independent study. By these means, you will have a clear methodology to complete your critical and contextual research project relating to your design problem/setting. The topic of your research should be an are or issue that you wish to contribute to as a designer in your level 6 and beyond.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Once your final proposal and assessment format has been negotiated and signed off by the tutor/s you will be allocated a key supervisor and seminar group to support your research journey. You will be expected to independently work through your project and actively share insights and questions with your seminar group. Where possible we will tailor supervisors and seminar groups to support your areas of interest e.g. those proposals using predominately primary research methods, groups working on developing design writing as a practice and those projects exploring public engagement and or user experience.

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:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
Engage with appropriate Design theories within global, historical, contemporary and cultural contexts and demonstrate an ability to locate and add purpose to your practice in these evolving contexts. (KU01)

Independently source and engage with a broad range of research material, and demonstrate your ability to review, reflect on and evaluate the findings. (KU02)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Show a developed and enhanced skill/ability to analyse information and experiences, formulate independent judgements, and articulate reasoned arguments through reflection,review and evaluation of source materials. (IPSA01)

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

Possess the capacity to work independently; reflect on your own learning and development; and determine your own future learning needs. (PVA01)

Demonstrate the ability to communicate up to a professional standard, in written, visual and other presentation forms. (PVA02)

How will I be assessed?

This module will be summatively assessed at the end of the module through one of the below formats:

Dissertation (5000-words): a fully articulated piece of writing which is the culmination of a substantial and sustained research into an appropriate subject based on your design problem/setting and realised as an article for a key industry publication (e.g. Design week, Journal of Design History, Design Research Society and or Designing Interactive Systems). (KU01) (KU02) (IPSA01) (PVA01) (PVA02)

Or a Research Report: this report should evidence an equivalence in effort, time and the level of research and understating achieved.

The report should contain an abstract / introduction, research documentation, analysis, and a set of conclusions/insights/findings. These findings should be presented both in clear plain text or diagrammatic manner (as suits the material) as well as through a data visualisation and or creative infographic allied to the designated audience/sector. (KU01) (KU02) (IPSA01) (PVA02)

This report should be supported by a 500-word appendix containing a personal reflection stating how this project is relevant to your design practice, how it supports your plan for final year and beyond. (PVA01)

Or a Public Engagement Report: this report should evidence an equivalence in effort, time and the level of research and understating achieved.

This report is an illustrated document that proposes a clear rational for a public engagement activity (e.g. an exhibition, design festival, symposium or a design-activist community event). This document should clearly be supported by professional use of communicative / scene setting images indicating how the public would engage with your selected design setting/problem/topic.
(KU01) (KU02) (IPSA01) (PVA01)

This report should be supported by a 500-word appendix containing a personal reflection stating how this project is relevant to your design practice, how it supports your plan for final year and beyond. (PVA02)

Formative feedback will be given throughout the module culminating in a final submission. Formative feedback will be given verbally, whereas summative assessment will be written, giving a marks breakdown of how the submission met the five individual learning outcomes.





Module abstract

This module will represent your culminative critical and contextual research project that allows you as a designer, to confidently use design research methods to draw together insights that can be used to support/inform your future self-initiated design practice.

Unlike traditional theory-based modules that often remain rooted in theory and written discourse for primarily academic dissemination, this module encourages the practical application of research in contemporary professional and research contexts as a stepping stone into your graduate destinations.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years and 4 months

Location Various Locations

City Newcastle

Start January 2022

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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