The University of Southampton

ARTD6116 Design Laboratory

Module Overview

This semester 2 module aims to prepare students for their Final Project by adopting increasingly exploratory, speculative and critical approaches to design. Students participate in a Lab. Project* set for the whole programme culminating in an interim exhibition, after that students are assigned a personal tutor and start the process of defining a research focus for their Final Project. The teaching is centred on practical workshops covering relevant media production techniques and design research methods, whilst lectures seed potential research topics and wider social, cultural, ecological and political concerns. This module emphasises collaboration, critical and experimental approaches to design and enables students to develop innovative and rigorous research proposals. * The Lab. Project changes to reflect key contemporary disciplinary issues; previous topics have included: Data Visualisation, Speculative & Critical Design, Remix Culture and Post-Digital Print.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the module are to: - Develop advanced skills, tools and methods via increasingly critical and experimental information and interface designs. - Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the Lab. Project topic and identify a specific research focus. - Work effectively, both individually, and as part of a team, to communicate design proposals in a range of media.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The Lab. Project topic and an advanced understanding of a research topic
  • Theoretical underpinnings of design research and practice-led research
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Independently select and effectively employ advanced media production and design research methods
  • Analyse complex range of material, identify and communicate a clear research focus
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate the process and outcomes of design activities in a range of outputs including an exhibition.
  • Collaborate effectively on a group project and manage your time proficiently
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate exploratory, experimental and critical approaches to design via speculative outcomes
  • Define a design approach and research focus
  • Write reflectively and critically debate module’s key themes at an advanced level


Indicative content subject to change in relation to the Lab Project topic: - Design research theory and methods - Practice-led research - Critical and speculative design - Film editing and compositing - Data visualisation - Reflective writing

Special Features

- Interim Exhibition (Technicians are available to help students with special needs to mount their work)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: Workshops Lectures Tutorials Presentations Site visits Learning activities include: Design practice Group activities Independent study Reading Blogging Reflective writing

Independent Study350
Total study time400

Resources & Reading list

Dunne, A., (2008). Hertzian Tales: Electronic Products, Aesthetic Experience, and Critical Design. 

Frascara, J., and Winkler, D,. (2008). On Design Research. Design Research Quarterly. ,3 , pp. 0.

Fallman, D. (2008). The Interaction Design Research Triangle of Design Practice, Design Studies, and Design Exploration. Design Issues. ,24 , pp. pp.4-18.

Muratovski, G,. (2016). Research for Designers – A Guide to Methods and Practice.. 

Ratto, M., (2011). Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life. The Information Society: An International Journal. ,27 , pp. pp.252-260.

Speculation is Part of Every Designers Practice.

Critical Everything.

The Future of Design: When you come to a fork in the road, take it..





MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 80%
Project report  (800 words) 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Project report  (800 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Project report  (800 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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