University of Technology Sydney

85509 Design Differences: Community Identities

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 2022 is available in the Archives.

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


Designers fulfil the needs and desires of others through empathy. This subject explores notions of identity so that you can have more insight into your own background and more flexibility when trying to understand the backgrounds of others. You will examine changing senses of self and community in an age of globalised media and commerce using contemporary cultural studies perspectives. The subject also explores the politics of marginal and mainstream identities through a range of experiences and experiments. As a result, you will become more adept at working with a range of competing and often incompatible stakeholder expectations.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. have an introductory understanding of key contemporary cultural theories as they bear on the construction of individual and community identities within a globalised world
2. have a practical understanding of the potential of collaborative and service design
3. be able to develop personas and scenarios that will further understanding of design contexts and of potential user-engagements with proposed designs
4. have furthered their ability to develop arguments and rationales
5. have furthered their experience and skills in negotiating interdisciplinary design situations
6. have been encouraged to appreciate and value cultural diversity and difference.

Teaching and learning strategies

10 x 1 hour lectures, 22.5 hours studio/workshop.

Face-to-face classes incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, discussions, studio activities and student presentations. These are complemented by independent student reading, participation in online forums, reflection on studio work, and group and individual project work.

Content (topics)

Lectures, Seminars, and Workshops on the following topics:

· Identity Politics: communitarianism, liberalism, marginalisation, hegemony

· Gender Politics: feminism, masculinity studies, trans-gender

· Sexual Politics: heterosexism, queer studies

· Class Conflict: post-industrialism, post-materialism, aspirational global consumer class

· Social Capital: social support, network analyses, social entrepreneurship

· Social Design: enabling design, participatory design, social marketing

· Active Welfare: creative communities, value co-creation

· Service Design: experience notation, service blue printing, touch points


Assessment task 1: Literature Review

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 2: Futuring and Scenario-based assignment

Weight: 40%

Assessment task 3: Project – Proposal for design intervention for the researched community

Weight: 30%

Required texts

All essential readings can be accessed online through the UTS library catalogue. Students must complete each week’s set reading (with the exception of week 1) before the lecture and tutorial on Friday. Readings will be available online as PDFs and/or e-Books.

Recommended texts

Agamben, G. 2007, 'The Work of Man,' in Sovereignty and Life, Matthew Calarco and Steven DeCaroli (eds), Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Agamben, G. 1998, Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life, translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Arendt, H. 1958, The Human Condition, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Bauman, Z. 2007, Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 5-27.

Bauman, Z. 2004, Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts, Polity Press, Cambridge, pp. 9-33.

Bauman, Z. 1998, Globalization: The Human Consequences, Columbia University Press, New York, NY, (Chapter 4: Tourists and Vagabonds).

Brown, T., Sklar, A., Speicher, S., Solomon, D. & Jocelyn Wyatt, 2009, Design For Social Impact, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York.

Findley, L. 2005, Building Change: Architecture, Politics and Cultural Agency, Routledge, London.

Ford, S. 2005, The Situationist International: a user's guide.

Fuad-Luke, 2009, Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World, offers a broad treatment of design activism, Earthscan, London.

Fry, T. 2011, Design as Politics, Berg, Oxford, pp. 76-95.

Julien, F. 1995, The Propensity of Things, a history of efficacy in China, Zone Books, New York.

Jordan, T. 2002, Activism! Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society, Reaktion Books, London.

Latour, B. 2004 Politics of Nature: How to bring the sciences into democracy, Harvard University Press, Harvard.

Lyotard, J. F. 1992, The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Nield, S. 2006, “There is another world: Space, theatre and global anticapitalism,” Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 51-61.

Nietzsche, F. 2006, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. Adrian Del Caro, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.

Spinosa, C., Flores, F. & Dreyfus, H. 1997, Disclosing new worlds: entrepreneurship, democratic action, and the cultivation of solidarity, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

St John, G. 2008, “Protestival: Global Days of Action and Carnivalized Politics in the Present,” Social Movement Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 67-90.

Turchi, P. 2004, Maps of the Imagination: The writer as Cartographer, Trinity University Press, San Antonio, Texas,
pp. 11-25 (Chapter 1: Metaphor: or, the Map).

Whitely, N. 1993, Design for Society, Reaktion, London.

Other resources

A week-by-week list of web resources accompanying each lecture will be available on UTS Online. Additional readings are provided on UTS Online along with course information documents.