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The University of Southampton

ARTD2043 Introduction to Design Futures

Module Overview

This module aims to introduce you to current debates that underpin theoretical and practical approaches to design and their applicability in the creative industries. It will encourage you to think, discuss and write critically about a variety of issues concerning design and the creative industries, including: collaborative and environmental practices, material and economic sustainability, consumption, social enterprise, and corporate social responsibility. Additionally, you will engage with ethical issues and sensitivities associated with critical and cultural matters of difference (such as gender, social class, ethnicity, and age), and their relevance to design practice, design communication, and design consumption. Finally, the module will encourage students to reflect upon the impact of relevant theories and practices in local and global contexts.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • theoretical concepts relevant to responsibility and ethics in the creative arts & design contexts;
  • practices that are responsible with regards to materials and technologies for idea generation and concept development;
  • practices that demonstrate an understanding of integrity in creative design e.g. copyright;
  • practices that are responsible with regards to environmental issues, social and cultural communities, social enterprise and sustainability, within local and global economies;
  • practices that communicate these issues to a wide audience (i.e. through filmmaking, campaigning and activism).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify central themes and problematics in creative arts and design contexts. Students of practice-led programmes will be able to relate those to their own practice;
  • make informed decisions regarding working practices and justify those decisions;
  • present and debate a basic understanding of low impact practices, environmental design and sustainability, in consideration with wider local and global communities;
  • present and debate a basic understanding of social and cultural issues (i.e. identity and consumption) relevant to ethical practice in creative arts and design contexts;
  • present and debate a basic understanding of communication strategies related to ethical practices in creative arts and design contexts.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • engage in group discussion, deliver and receive constructive criticism;
  • manage the time and resources available;
  • present the outcome of your research in a seminar context;
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills and interact effectively with peers and tutors through discussion and negotiation;
  • meet deadlines and work independently.


This module introduces you to some of the current debates that are central to an ethical understanding of design practices and their impact within local and global contexts. You will be introduced to such issues as social responsibility and cultural sensitivity with regards to design and creative practices, material and economic sustainability, as well as design and communication for social change. You will be encouraged to debate these definitions, perspectives and the application of these theories relative to you subject specific discipline. The critical perspectives addressed in this module are viewed from the point of view of the practitioner, but also from a theoretical standpoint. The skills offered by this module also offer a career-orientated focus for your programme of study.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars • Tutorials Learning Activities • Lectures • Contributions to group discussions • Online research and reading • Peer group learning Relationship between the teaching, learning and assessment methods and the planned learning outcomes You will be introduced to a range of subject material through lectures and seminars. You will have the opportunity to discuss and debate these subjects in seminar groups. You will be encouraged to research and study particular aspects of social responsibility and ethical practices in design, design communication and related practices, with regards to your own subject discipline. You will have the opportunity to critically reflect on your study discipline or your creative practice, and to debate your awareness of ethical issues in the creative arts and design contexts. The module will be assessed by an illustrated essay of 2500 words and a minimum of 10 Harvard referenced illustrations, equal to 500 words. .

Completion of assessment task20
Follow-up work16
Wider reading or practice16
Project supervision4
Preparation for scheduled sessions64
Practical classes and workshops4
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Tutor. You will receive guidance from your tutor regarding preparatory and ongoing reading, which enables you to situate your work within existing literature and the contemporary theoretical and practical frameworks.




Essay proposal


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated essay  (2500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 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 text 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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