Course detail

Contemporary Theory of Design

FaVU-STDESAcad. year: 2019/2020

The series of lectures and seminars introduces selected topics from the field of contemporary design theory with overlaps to other areas, such as philosophy, ecology, anthropology or media theory. It focuses on methodological issues in design and ways of designing in the context of current political and environmental challenges.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The students will acquire basic overview of current challenges of the design theory and the context of the discipline. Thanks to the gained knowledge they will be able to reflect on contemporary design practice in a deeper and critical way.

Prerequisites

Basic orientation in contemporary design and the knowledge of English language.

Co-requisites

Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Donald Norman, Design pro Každý den, Praha 2010.
Ezio Manzini, Design, when everybody designs, Cambridge 2015.
Kat Holmes, Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, Cambridge 2018.
Arturo Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverses, Durham 2018.
Wendy Gunn - Ton Otto - Rachel Charlotte Smith (eds.), Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice, London 2013.
Stuart Walker - Jacques Giard (eds.), Handbook of Design for Sustainability, London 2013.
Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, New York 2014.
Tony Fry, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice, Oxford 2008.
Tony Fry, Design as Politics, London 2011.
John Thackara, How to Thrive in the Next Economy. Designing Tomorrow's World Today, London 2015.
Benjamin H. Bratton, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignity, Cambridge 2016.
Manuel Arias–Maldonado, Rethinking the Environment for the Anthropocene: Political Theory and Socionatural Relations in the New Geological Epoch, London 2019.
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, Durham 2008.
Keller Easterling, Medium Design, Moscow 2017.
Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft. The Power of Infrastructure Space, New York 2016.
Anne Marie Willis, Transition Design: The Need to Refuse Discipline and Transcend Instrumentalism, Design Philosophy Papers, 2015, vol. 13, č. 1.
Dan Hill, Dark Matter and Trojan Horses. A Strategic Design Vocabulary, Moscow 2012.
Anthony Dunne - Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything, Cambridge 2013.
Bruno Latour, Down to Earth. Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Cambridge 2018.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures with seminar components. The lecture part will introduce the topics from the field of contemporary design theory to the participants of the course. The lectures will be complemented by students’ presentations dedicated to specific theoretical texts and by collective discussion.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Credits awarded based on the presence at the lectures and an essay written on the subject of one the discussed topics.

Language of instruction

Czech

Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. What is „good design“? (Introduction to the discussion on changing criteria for assessing the value or quality of design in the context of the contemporary world)
2. Design and (un)sustainability (What is „sustainability? Is it possible to „solve“ the ecological crisis by design?)
3. Design for the future (How to „redesign“ the profession of a designer in the era of climate change and unstable political situation?)
4. Design for humans (What is „user-centered design“ or „human-centered design“ and what are their limits?)
5. Design without a designer (How does the notion of authorship in design changes and what is the potential of participative design practice?)
6. Design and community (What are the principles of „decolonial“ approach to design and how to design in the context of specific communities?)
7. Design as strategy (What is „strategic design“ and what is the potential of a designer working outside of the narrowly defined context of design?)
8. Design and power (What are the relations between design and political or economic power?)
9. Design as system (What is the relationship between material objects and (seemingly) immaterial systems?)
10. Design and speculation (How to speculate and create alternative scenarios of the future in the context of design?)

Aims

The goal of the course is to introduce recent theory and methodology of design to the students and instigate them to deeper contextual thinking about design and to critical reflection of contemporary design practice or the profession of a designer.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Attendance compulsory (80%).

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme VUB Bachelor's

    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 1. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, compulsory
    branch VU-D , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 2. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, compulsory
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 3. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-D , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-VT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional
    branch VU-IDT , 4. year of study, summer semester, 2 credits, optional

Type of course unit

 

Lecture

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

Seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

eLearning