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The University of Southampton

ARTD1121 Research in Contemporary Issues

Module Overview

This module is designed to develop knowledge of the issues that surround graphic arts. It introduces key ideas and concepts through a review of the social, political and cultural influences that are shaping where the discipline is heading. Using a range of relevant critical texts, case studies, projects and practitioners, we will introduce you to methods and approaches that will inspire you to critically examine contemporary practice and identify and unpack key ideas and concepts. You will communicate your ideas in written form utilising credible and substantiated source materials to gain further knowledge around the conventions that you will utilise during the rest of the programme

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To develop an understanding of the key critical and theoretical ideas that underpin current practice within the graphic arts • Further develop your ability to communicate in writing • Understand the conventions related to academic writing and research.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • key critical and contextual ideas and their impact on the development of graphic arts
  • the broad social, environmental and ethical dimensions of contemporary issues with graphic arts.
  • connections between theory and practice within graphic arts
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • start to inform your practice through reflection of your research on relevant critical and contextual concepts.
  • apply critical enquiry and reflection to evaluate the work of others
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • locate, utilise and evaluate an appropriate range of credible sources.
  • plan your time effectively and work to deadlines.
  • communicate in writing and utilise supporting visual material effectively


Indicative content for this module normally includes: Lectures and discussions will examine the individual ideas and themes that are contributing to the development of the contemporary graphic arts. You will be encouraged to contextualise these ideas through the discussion of key social, political and cultural developments before extending your research using the learning resources provided by the University. Seminars that will provide guidance in the preparation and planning for writing in response to themes introduced in the lectures. Peer feedback and discussion that will then support the creation of an academic essay according to the University academic writing guidelines

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures • Seminars • Supporting material distributed via online learning environments such as Blackboard and Panopto. • Online tutorials via Learning activities include: • Peer group discussion • Review and revision of material provided within lectures & seminars. • Guided independent research • Academic writing. • Study skills hub Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes This module will be directed by lectures which will support the development of the intellectual and skills framework necessary to enable you to apply critical, evaluative, reflection in the contextualisation of your ideas. Seminars and tutorials will enable you to analyse material provided and extend your knowledge and understanding via independent research. Tutorials will help you plan your time and work effectively to deadlines. Intellectual and research skills will be supported and enhanced using guidance and material distributed via virtual learning environments such as Blackboard, Panopto and The production of an academic essay will develop your ability to communicate in writing in accordance with University conventions.

Wider reading or practice79
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Completion of assessment task27
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list


Shaughnessy, A., (2013). Essays: Scratching the Surface. 

Mason, M (2009). The Pirate’s Dilemma. 


Armstrong, H. and Stojmirovic, Z., (2007). Participate: Designing withUser-Generated Content.. 


Core 77.

McCarthy, S. (2013). The Designer as...: Author, Producer, Activist, Entrepreneur, Curator and Collaborator: New Models for Communicating.. 

Rushkoff, D (2009). Program or be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age.. 

Eye Magazine.

Tapscott, D. and Williams, A. D. (2008). Wikinomics. 

Fast Company.

Open Source.

Jenkins H (2008). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.. 

Design Observer.

Reas, C. (2001). Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture.. 

Stallman, R. M (2009). Free Software Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M.. 


Bob National.

Harry Jenkins.

Shirky, C. (2009). Here Comes Everybody. 


Poynor, R. (2007). Obey the Giant: Life in Image World.. 

Lessig, L. (2008). Remix. 

Lessig, L (2004). Free Culture. 

McCandless, D. (2013). Information Is Beautiful. 

panopto. via blackboard.

Creative Commons.



Individual reflective blog


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  () 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  () 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  () 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading as appropriate

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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