PE7034 - Contemporary and Cultural Influences on Design

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What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn to consider the interrelationship of a diverse range of contemporary influences on design by exploring the big issues of our time from the perspective of their social, economic, cultural, environmental, legal, political and technological perspectives. You will use the factors identified through your research to inform the creation of a broad contextual problem space for design engagement.

Additionally you will also learn about cross-cultural collaboration by applying relevant concepts from literature whilst working in multi-cultural teams to highlight good practice and to develop the skills to manage diverse teams in effective co-creation.

Whilst grounded in a literature review both these fields of knowledge are also supported and informed by academic staff research specialisms.

Through this module you will also develop your knowledge and practice around contemporary influences on design and cross cultural collaboration as described above, you will interpret this knowledge relative to your own practice and in line with your PDP. You will additionally learn to apply this knowledge in co-creative practice within different contexts and domains and will reflect on your experience to summarise the utility and limitations of methods employed.

How will I learn on this module?

Each module session follows a similar structure of Learn, Explore Further and Apply. All learning materials and resources are accessible via our virtual learning environment.

You will access virtual classrooms (available on the e-learning portal) for live discussions and virtual taught sessions, which will be recorded and stored on the e-learning portal. These online sessions are timetabled weekly and will deliver relevant knowledge, information and direction for you to fulfil the learning outcomes. Through the e-learning portal you will be provided with resources in the form of scanned articles, links to books/articles/journals, PowerPoint lectures, word document, video lectures etc. relevant to your module. You will be given a reading list, but will also be required to create your individual reading resource as well. You will be using a discussion board to share your work and create a knowledge base for your peers. You will also use Wiki (a learning tool on e-learning portal) to form focus groups on module submission and assessment criteria.

Part of your directed learning will involve practical application and testing the theory, knowledge, and concepts that you have learnt.

On-line sessions, project supervision sessions and group tutorials will allow you to engage with tutors and fellow students to explore and discuss the interrelationship of contemporary influences as well as variations in cultural standpoints.
You will be conducting independent study as well, as it forms an important element of the module. Independent learning will centre upon the students identifying and pursuing areas of interest, by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of approaches are adopted to accelerate your learning in this module.

During the first week of this module, you will receive information about the module and Teaching & Learning Plan. The teaching and learning plan (TLP) sets out
• Learning outcomes and overall module and programme aims
• Teaching, learning and assessment strategy
• Teaching schedule
• Directed reading references (text and journals) and core texts for the module

During this module your module tutor will provide academic support including:
• Delivering on—line materials
• Providing guidance in relation to assignments
• Development of key resources, made available through the VLE
• Assessing assignments and assess or review any other agreed summative or formative outputs as appropriate

You will be supported by a team of academic experts and will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas and methods through project supervision. You will engage in a rich dialogue with tutors (and fellow students) and receive feedback on on-going work giving you the opportunity to respond directly and as part of your process. You will keep a record of this feedback in order to progress your work to enhance both your skills and intellectual understanding and also to develop your Portfolio and PDP.

Where appropriate, students may also be directed to engage with Study Skills +, or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support.

The Library is open 24 hours a day and E-Learning Portal houses all your module documents including your timetable. These services can be accessed on a range of devices

The module will also have an e-reading list, which directs learners to specific reading for each session. This includes direct access to repositories, journal articles and other academic sources. You will also be provided with access to a significant set academic research sources via the Northumbria University library portal.
You will also have opportunities to receive formative feedback from your tutor in response to opinions you express and issues you raise during workshop sessions and face-to-face or online tutorials. These formative feedback sessions are formally scheduled at key points throughout the module.

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 (KU):
1) Demonstrate scholarship in masters level research through a comprehensive literature review in the fields of contemporary influences on design and cross cultural collaboration
2) Develop your personal interpretation the theory and develop personal insights relevant to your field of practice

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Application (IPSA):
1) Demonstrate the application of knowledge/theory/methods (as described in KU) in the context of your professional practice.

Personal Values Attributes (PVA):
1) Critically review and reflect on the application, utility and limitations of the contemporary influences on design and cross cultural collaboration knowledge you have applied and the impact of this knowledge on your practice

How will I be assessed?

You will prepare a 5 minute video presentation investigating the relationship of contemporary and cultural influences (through literature review), application and implementation of this knowledge in your practice and a summarising the adoption and utility of this knowledge including evaluation and possible recommendations.

The module will be marked as Pass/Fail.

This module is exempt from the Anonymous Marking Policy. The nature of working closely and directly with the students in workshops makes anonymity unfeasible.

Formative assessment will take place through on-going dialogue in group work, project supervision, assignment discussions and tutorials throughout the course of the module.

Summative feedback will be provided to students on a module assessment sheet against the module learning outcomes.





Module abstract

In this module you will learn to build a broad contextual framework for design by investigating contemporary social, economic, cultural, environmental, legal, political and technological influences and their interrelationship. You will also learn about cross-cultural collaboration by applying relevant concepts from literature whilst working in multi-cultural teams.

The module aims to expand your awareness of influencing factors on design and our individual cultural responses to these. As part of the module you will also develop strategies for cross-cultural collaboration and effective communication between both professional disciplines and nationalities.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Distance Learning

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location Design Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start Academic Year 2020/21: October 20, January 21, April 21, July 21

Fee Information

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