University of Technology Sydney

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.

OPELA and Language Development Tutorials

An aim of this subject is to help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills in order to succeed at university and in the workplace. To determine your current academic language proficiency, you are required to complete an online language screening task, OPELA (information available at https://www.edu.au/research-and-teaching/learning-and-teaching/enhancing/language-and-learning/about-opela-students) [or a written diagnostic task].

If you receive a Basic grade for OPELA [or the written diagnostic task], you must attend additional Language Development Tutorials (each week from week [3/4] to week [11/12] in order to pass the subject. These tutorials are designed to support you to develop your language and communication skills.

Students who do not complete the OPELA and/or do not attend 80% of the Language Development Tutorials will receive a W (result Withheld) grade. This grade can be lifted when students complete a Language Development Intensive (LDI) or Language Development Online (LDO).

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

Hochschild, Arlie Russell. The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Univ of California Press, 2012.

Kimbell, Lucy. The service innovation handbook: Action-oriented creative thinking toolkit for service organizations. BIS publishers, 2014.

Laurel, Brenda. Computers as theatre. Addison-Wesley, 2013.

Penin, Lara. An introduction to service design: designing the invisible. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.

Sherman, Rachel. Class acts: Service and inequality in luxury hotels. Univ of California Press, 2007.

Winograd, Terry, Fernando Flores, and Fernando F. Flores. Understanding computers and cognition: A new foundation for design. Intellect Books, 1986.