Design, History and Culture


Course Objective

The learning objectives of this seminar are to learn students to:

1) Analyse contemporary forms of design in a critical way in an academic
paper with abstract, research question, sub-questions and a critical
analysis of a chosen theme or topic related to the course content, level
400 (5000 words)
2) Reflect on design practice in relation to
ethical and moral frameworks while assessing the value of design history
within these frameworks
3) Express critical insights in texts of a theoretical and philosophical
nature in discussions and presentations for peers, and in relation to
forms of design.

Course Content

In this seminar we will address how we can write about design in view of
current design practices in our culture and society. Taking our
case-studies from the most critical and cutting edge contemporary design
- projects which interact with biological sciences, biotechnologies, and
technological progress - we will discuss how these current practices are
addressed in discourses about design.
These forms of design comprise practices from a growing number of
international artists and designers. They reflect on the biosciences and
technologies in our society by way of future scenarios and speculative
realities about what might happen to humans and animals when particular
technologies are becoming part of our daily lives.

The course will also address the ways in which such futuristic types of
speculative design relate to design history. How has speculative and
futuristic design been dealt with up until now? What is its place in,
and relation to, historical canons of design?

We will analyse this by reading different texts, reflecting on the
presentations and exhibitions of designers, on different media related
to design projects, and on websites related to the topic. We will also
connect design projects to ethical and cultural issues and debates in
our society.

Teaching Methods

Research and lecture seminar (each 2 hours per week) with student panel
presentations about
course readings, group discussions about course readings, poster
pitches of 5 mins as regards the individual research paper, and a
written end paper.
Attendance is compulsory.

Method of Assessment

Panel presentation: 20%
Poster pitch presentation: 10%
Written paper: 70%

Matching of course objectives and assessment:
Objectives 1 and 2: Academic paper, 70%
Objective 3: panel and poster pitch presentations, 30% (20% and 10%)

The final grade is the average of the three grades (20%, 10%, 70%), as
This average must be 6.0 minimal in order to pass the seminar.
In addition, the final paper (70%) must be graded with 6.0 minimal.
Students may opt for one second chance if this paper is graded lower
than 6.0. There is no resit for panel presentations and poster pitch.

Entry Requirements

BA MKDA, BA Art History, BA Cultural studies, or an equivalent


The main course book is:
Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Speculative Everything. Design, Fiction,
and Social Dreaming. (Boston: MIT, 2013).

Please note that additional readings to be discussed for each week will
be assigned during the course!

Target Audience

MA students Design Cultures and Master students from related fields

Additional Information

This is a research and lecture seminar.
If you want more information please contact the lecturer Marjan Groot at

General Information

Course Code L_AAMAACW003
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. M.H. Groot
Examiner dr. M.H. Groot
Teaching Staff dr. M.H. Groot

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: