University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Webmail | Maps | Newsroom | What's on

85505 Design Interventions: Making Theories

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


Every design embodies a theory about people, the world and the way people interact with products, environments and communications. This subject teaches how to develop well-constructed theories that can give new insights into situations and thereby develop more creative and more effective designs. Students are introduced to a range of current cultural theories including: visual culture – which focuses on the way the 'society of spectacle sees things'; and material culture – which focuses on the material things we depend upon and value by owning.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. have an introductory understanding of key western 19th and 20th century cultural theories as they bear on design
2. are able to apply cultural theories insightfully to explain current cultural phenomena
3. are able to select appropriate theoretical frameworks for design contexts
4. have a practical understanding of generative design research techniques such as cultural probes and critical design
5. have a practical understanding of co-design techniques
6. are able to undertake advanced reflective practice
7. have improved group work skills and appreciation of team roles
8. have an ability to develop arguments and rationales.


Arendt, H. ([1958] 1998) The Human Conditio, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Arendt, H. ([1963] 1994), Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the banality of evil, New York, Penguin. Arendt, H. (1965) On revolution, Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin. Arendt, H. (1970) On Violence, London: Allen Lane, The Penguin Press Argyris, C & Schon, D (1974) Theory in Practice, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers Baudrillard, J. ([1981] 1994) Simulacra and Simulation, Trans. S. F. Glaser, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Benjamin, W. (1999) The arcades project, Trans. H. Eiland and K. McLaughlin; prepared on the basis of the German volume edited by R. Tiedemann, Cambridge, Mass.; London: Belknap Press. Butler, J. ([1990] 1999) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1993) Bodies that matter: On the discursive limits of 'sex', London and New York: Routledge. Butler, J. (1997) The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection, Stanford: Stanford University Press. Butler, J, (2004) Undoing Gender, New York, and London: Routledge. Dant, T (1999) Material Culture in the Social World, Philadelphia: Open University Press Debord, G. ([1967] 1997) The Society of the Spectacle, D. Nicholson-Smith, New York: Zone Books. De Certeau, M (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley: University of California Press Derrida, J. (1976) Of grammatology, Trans. G. Chakravorty Spivak, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Derrida, J. (1987) The Truth in Painting, Chicago, Illinois and London, England: University of Chicago Press. Derrida, J. (1992) 'Mochlos; or, The Conflict of the Faculties', in R. Rand (ed.) Logomachia: The Conflict of the Faculties, Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press. Dewey, J (1991) How we Think New York: Prometheus Dreyfus, L. and Rabinow, P. ([1982] 1983) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Chicago: University of Chicago. DuGay, P, et al (1997) Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman, London: Sage Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison, Trans. A. Sheridan, New York: Vintage. Foucault, M. (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and other writings, 1972-1977, C. Gordon (ed), New York: Pantheon. Foucault, M. (1985) The history of sexuality: Vol. 2: The uses of pleasure, Trans. R. Hurley. New York: Pantheon. Glaser, B (1992) Basics of Grounded Theory Analysis, Mill Valley, California.: Sociology Press. Grosz, E. (1993) 'Bodies and Knowledges: Feminism and the crisis of reason', in L. Alcoff and E. Potter (eds.), Feminist epistemologies, London: Routledge, pp. 187-215. Grosz, E. (1994) Volatile Bodies: Toward a corporeal feminism, St Leonards: Allen and Unwin Hall, S (1999) Visual Culture, London: Sage Haraway, D. (1991) Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The reinvention of nature, London: Free Association Books. Heidegger, M (1966) Discourse of Thinking New York: Harper. Hebdige, D (1988) Hiding in the Light, London: Routledge. Irigaray, L. ([19974] 1985) Speculum of the other woman, Trans. G. G. Gill, Ithaca, New York, Cornell University Press. Irigaray, L. ([1994] 2000) To Be Two, Trans. M. M. Rhodes and M. F. Cocito-Monoc, London: The Athlone Press. Jones, A. (ed) (2003) Feminism and the visual culture reader, London and New York: Routledge. Kirkup, G., Janes, L., Woodward, K. and Hovedon, F. (eds.), The Gendered Cyborg: A reader, New York. Kristeva, J. ([1980] 1982) Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, New York: Columbia University Press. Lacan, J. (1977) Écrits: A selection, Trans. A. Sheridan, New York: Norton. Lefebvre, H. (1991) Critique of everyday life, Trans. J. Moore, London, New York: Verso. Miller, D (1987) Material Culture and Mass Consumption, Oxford: Blackwell. Plant, S. (1992) The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age, Routledge: London. Rorty, R (1989) Contingency, Irony, Solidarity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tuana, N. and Tong, R. (eds.). Feminism and Philosophy: Essential Readings in Theory, Reinterpretation and Application, Boulder, San Francisco and Oxford: Westview Press. Ulmer, G (1989) Teletheory, New York: Routledge. Ulmer, G (1994) Heuretics: The Logic of Invention Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Uni Press.