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89110 Design Theory: Social Futures

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

Subject level:

Postgraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject introduces students to philosophical and theoretical lenses for interpreting the various contexts of reception within which their designs are encountered, engaged with, experienced or consumed. The subject is one of a pair of subjects that focus specifically on engaging texts as a stimulus to design understanding. In these subjects students engage with texts that are or have been influential in shaping ways in which designers think about the worlds that designed things enter into and redefine. Different kinds of text, including theoretical, literary, designed and multimedia, are introduced.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. Students are helped to understand the importance to design, of rich and critically informed accounts of human ways of being in the world, and of the human-non-human dynamics in which designed things participate.
2. Students are expected to engage with, and understand the significance of, a range of ideas drawn from relevant philosophical and theoretical texts.
3. Students are encouraged to appreciate the role of creative texts in communicating human experience of the world.
4. Activities in this subject help students develop and communicate theoretical understanding through shared engagement with, and conversation concerning, philosophical, theoretical and creative texts.
5. Activities in this subject help students to relate the understandings they have gained from philosophical, theoretical and creative texts, to their designing.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes to the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Value for the designer's role as a responsible global citizen, including alertness to the impact of design on environmental ecologies and issues of social justice (A.1)
  • A commitment to ethical acknowledgement of sources and the work of others (A.2)
  • Sensitivity to social and cultural diversity (A.3)
  • Professional attitude to clarity, accuracy and effectiveness of communication (C.1)
  • Capacity to work flexibly within a team and make a positive contribution to team dynamics (C.2)
  • Ability to re-imagine human practices and human-technology relations (I.3)
  • Possession of a developed aesthetic sensibility (P.2)
  • Ability to develop well-supported arguments and rationales (R.1)
  • Ability to analyse and synthesise complex ideas (R.2)
  • A disposition to adopt practices and approaches that embed critical reflection (R.3)

Teaching and learning strategies

Face-to-face classes will incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including short presentations, workshops, student group-work, film viewing and discussion of films and readings. These activities will be complemented by independent student reading and ongoing engagement with creative texts.

Content (topics)

Themes and arguments relevant to design, drawn from philosophy, sociology, anthropology, cultural theory, design theory and creative texts. Specific discussions may be oriented by the following (and/or other) groups of terms:
Embodiment / experience;
World / doing;
Politics / ethics / judgment;
Production / urban life; 
Power / resistance;
Subjectivity / desire;
Image / affect; 
Practices / interpretive worlds / metaphor;
Technology / hybridity / assemblage.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Critical engagement with texts: readings

Intent:

Engagement with theoretical texts and readings: argument analysis and critical reflection

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 4

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.2, C.1, R.2 and R.3

Type: Exercises
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%
Criteria:

1. Demonstrated ability to analyse and synthesise complex ideas (R-2)

2. Ability to reflect on the relevance of a theoretical argument to design (R-3)

3. Clarity, accuracy, eloquence and professionalism of written communication (C-1)

4. Demonstrated commitment to ethical acknowledgement of sources and the work of others (A-2)

Assessment task 2: Critical engagement with texts: film

Intent:

Group-work completed during intensive session following film viewing. Students will engage with filmic texts to develop a rich picture of human-non-human dynamics within different social and cultural settings. Group assessment will be moderated through SPARK.

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.3, C.1, C.2, R.1 and R.3

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 25%
Criteria:

Assessment of the groupwork will be based on the following criteria:

1. Demonstrated awareness of the participation of designed things in different social and cultural ways of being in the world (A-4)

2. Demonstrated ability to communicate textual analysis through well supported arguments and rationales (R-1)

3. Quality of reflection on the role of non-human things within the setting analysed (R-3)

4. Clarity, eloquence and professionalism of visual and oral communication (C-1)

The group mark given to each group submission will be moderated by SPARK to arrive at a final mark for individual students. The moderation by SPARK will seek to assess

1. Capacity to work flexibly within a team and make a positive contribution to team dynamics (C-2)

Assessment task 3: Responsive text

Intent:

Developed understanding of a range of theoretical concepts and terms through application to designed things and contexts

Objective(s):

This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 4 and 5

This task also addresses the following course intended learning outcomes that are linked with a code to indicate one of the five CAPRI graduate attribute categories (e.g. C.1, A.3, P.4, etc.):

A.1, C.1, I.3, P.2, R.2 and R.3

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%
Criteria:

1. Ability to analyse and synthesise complex ideas (R-2)
2. Ability to reflect on the relevance of a theoretical argument to design (R-3)
3. Demonstrated ability to re-imagine human practices and human-technology relations (I-3)
4. Value for the designer’s role as a responsible global citizen (A-1)
5. Demonstration of aesthetic sensibility (P-3)
6. Clarity, accuracy, eloquence and professionalism of visual, written and verbal communication (C-1)

Minimum requirements

Regular attendance of and participation in classes, and successful completion of all tasks

Required texts

Set readings will be made available online and from the UTS library.

References

Bennett, J. 2004, 'The Force of Things: Steps Towards an Ecology of Matter', Political Theory, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 347-372.
Bennett, J. 2010, Vibrant matter: a political ecology of things, Duke University Press, Durham and London.
Braun, B., Whatmore, S. & Stengers, I. (eds) 2010, Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy and Public Life, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
Callon, M. 2005, 'Disabled Persons of All Countries, Unite!', in B. Latour & P. Weibel (eds), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ZKM & MIT Press, Karlsruhe, Germany & Cambridae, MA, pp. 308-313.
Connolly, W.E. 2010, 'Materiality, Experience and Surveillance', in B. Braun & S. Whatmore (eds), Political Matter: Technoscience, Democracy and Public Life, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
du Gay, P. 2010, 'Performativities: Butler, Callon and the moment of theory', Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 171-179.
Fry, T., Dilnot, C. & Stewart, S. 2014, Design and the Question of History, Bloomsbury, London and New York.
Hadlaw, J. 2003, 'The London Underground Map: Imagining modern time and space', Design Issues, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 25-35.
Harvey, J. 2007, 'Showing and Hiding: Equivocation in the Relations of Body and Dress', Fashion Theory, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 65-94.
Hawkins, G. 2011, 'Packaging Water: Plastic Bottles as Market and Public Devices', Economy and Society, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 534-552.
Hayden, D. 1984, Redesigning the American dream: the future of housing, work and family life, W.W. Norton, New York.
Idhe, D. 1990, Technology and the lifeworld, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
Kimbell, L. 2012, 'Rethinking Design Thinking: Part 2', Design and Culture, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 129-148.
Kimbell, L. 2013, 'The Object Strikes Back: An Interview with Graham Harman', Design and Culture, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 103-117.
Latour, B. 1991, 'Technology is society made durable', in J. Law (ed.), A sociology of monsters: essays on power, technology and domination, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 103-131.
Latour, B. 1992, 'Where are the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts', in W.E. Bijker & J. Law (eds), Shaping technology / building society, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass., pp. 225-258.
Latour, B. 2008, 'A Cautious Prometheus? A Few Steps Towards a Philosophy of Design (with special attention to Peter Sloterdijk)', paper presented to the Networks of Design: meeting of the Design History Society, Falmouth, Cornwall, 3rd September 2008.
Latour, B. & Weibel, P. (eds) 2005, Making things public: atmospheres of democracy, MIT Press; ZKM/ Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Cambridge, Mass; Karlsruhe, Germany.
Lupton, E. 1992, The bathroom, the kitchen and the aesthetics of waste: a process of elimination, Princeton Architectural Press, Cambridge Massachussetts.
Michael, M. 2000, Reconnecting culture, technology and nature: from society to heterogeneity, Routledge, London.
Michael, M. 2006, Technoscience and everyday life: the complex simplicities of the mundane, Open University Press, Maidenhead.
Morshed, A. 2004, 'The aesthetics of ascension in Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama', Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 63, no. 1.
Muniesa, F. 2008, 'Trading-room telephones and the identification of counterparts', in T. Pinch & R. Swedberg (eds), "Tools of the trade." The socio-technology of arbitrage in a Wall Street trading room, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA, pp. 291-313.
Preda, A. 2005, 'The Stock Ticker', in B. Latour & P. Weibel (eds), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ZKM & MIT Press, Karlsruhe, Germany & Cambridae, MA, pp. 622-627.
Rubin, B. 2005, 'Dark Source: Public Trust and the Secret at the Heart of the New Voting Machines', in B. Latour & P. Weibel (eds), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, ZKM & MIT Press, Karlsruhe, Germany & Cambridae, MA, pp. 828-833.
Scarry, E. 1985, The body in pain: the making and unmaking of the world, Oxford University Press, New York.
Schatzki, T. 2010, The timespace of human activity: on performance, society and history as indeterminate teleological events, Lexington Books, Lanham, Md.
Sennett, R. 2008, The craftsman, Yale University Press, New Haven.
Shiga, J. 2007, 'Translations: Artifacts from an Actor-Network Perspective', Artifact, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 40-45.
Shove, E. 2010, 'Social Theory and Climate Change: Questions Often, Sometimes and Not Yet Asked', Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 27, no. 2-3, pp. 277-288.
Shove, E. & Southerton, D. 2000, 'Defrosting the Freezer: From Novelty to Convenience: A Narrative of Normalization', Journal of Material Culture, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 301-319.
Sloterdijk, P. 2005, 'Atmospheric politics', in B. Latour & P. Weibel (eds), Making things public: atmospheres of democracy, ZKM centre for Art and Media & MIT Press, Karlsruhe & Cambridge Mass., pp. 944-951.
Verbeek, P.-P. 2005, What things do: philosophical reflections on technology, agency and design., Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pa.
Verbeek, P.-P. 2011, Moralizing technology: understanding and designing the morality of things, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London.
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