The University of Southampton
Courses

ARTD6084 Display: interpreting the Language of Design

Module Overview

The module provides thematic examples of the theories and practices of visual presentation and display explored through interdisciplinary and critical contexts appropriate to the MA pathways. It offers a number of critical “tools”, enhanced through references to fundamental critical theories which will diversify and contextualise the individual expertise gained in your pathway. These tools will help you expand the scope of your work, assess its impact and relevance across a number of fields and arenas, and generate the confidence to present creative material informed by relevant contextual analysis. Critical discourses drawn from art and design history, fashion and textile theory, sociology, anthropology, institutional critique and media analysis will be evaluated and applied in this module. In addition examples from film, literature and popular culture will illustrate and emphasise models of presentation and display.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Consolidate your critical and historical knowledge of design contexts • Facilitate your understanding and use of appropriate critical discourse in professional design contexts • Analyse key historical developments in visual communication in relation to your chosen pathway • Explore and apply the potential of interdisciplinary approaches to design and display

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Key themes in modern and contemporary critical thinking and how they have shaped and been shaped by developments within visual communication and design
  • Central debates that have influenced the history and development of your chosen pathway, and how this these inform your professional development
  • How major shifts in socio-cultural attitudes are accompanied by similar shifts in design and art practice
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the relevance and apply key theoretical texts to your practice
  • Recognise the position your particular field of visual communication holds within a larger interdisciplinary approach to visual culture
  • Develop and advance the visual presentation of your own work – applying key principles associated with display
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Be able to present and discuss your work to your peers, staff and external stakeholders professionally, evidencing coherent arguments
  • As part of a team be able to present ideas, respond to challenges and negotiate intellectually and practically
  • Communicate clearly online and in written form, responding to the challenge of independent learning

Syllabus

The module provides thematic examples of the theories and practices of visual presentation and display explored through interdisciplinary and critical contexts appropriate to the MA Design pathways. It offers a number of critical “tools”, enhanced through references to fundamental critical theories which will diversify and contextualise the individual expertise gained in your pathway. These tools will help you expand the scope of your work, assess its impact and relevance across a number of fields and arenas, and generate the confidence to present creative material informed by relevant contextual analysis. Critical discourses drawn from art and design history, fashion and textile theory, sociology, anthropology, institutional critique and media analysis will be evaluated and applied in this module. In addition examples from film, literature and popular culture will illustrate and emphasise models of presentation and display. Taking DISPLAY as a key concept, the module will introduce three discrete themes, Sites, Signs, Moments, and discuss these in relation to the presentation of commodities, collections and art/retail environments. Theme 1 SITES The contemporary sites of display are increasingly diversified, and in addition to historical spaces such as the department store and the museum, we now experience display strategies in malls, online as part of e commerce, and temporarily in pop-up or guerrilla retail and art spaces. Similarly the strategies of display are informed both by historical examples, psychological influences and technological developments that push the boundaries of what can be displayed and where. This first theme will draw on contemporary sites of display and then provide a historical context that will include an understanding of the development of the museum, department store and exhibition space, and how 19th century technological innovation such as photography altered, and continues to alter, our visual perception of display. Our psychological need to collect and display will also be explored and how art and design has utilised our need to classify and order. Theme 2 SIGNS In order for display to be successful it needs to command the attention of its audience. Whether in retail spaces, art spaces or the personal space of the body, we use signs, logos, brands, and indeed clothing as communication. This second theme of the module will explore how we “read” the signs that direct us through the contemporary landscape of art and design culture. How a brand promises a certain lifestyle, how a gallery presents an artist’s work and how we choose what to wear or what profile to make virtually available is dependent on the viewer understanding the message. Increasingly our world is understood and experienced via the media through representation, and by exploring the historical origins of our commodified society we can recognize the prime position the sign occupies in contemporary art and design. Theme 3 MOMENTS Having investigated where and how we encounter display, the final theme of the module will explore when these encounters happen, and more importantly what have been some of the deciding moments in the transformation of display. The public space of the museum, gallery and department store shaped our historical understanding of art and design display, similarly the invention of photography paved the way for our present day understanding of the world through media. These moments can be understood as ruptures that transformed society. But other moments and interventions are equally transformative: this theme will discuss, for example, how fashion can be understood as series of recurring cycles, sustainability as the recycling of ideas, and how critical engagement offers tools to connect past practices and methods to the present.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Lectures • Seminars • Screenings • Guest lectures/presentations • Student-led field reports Learning activities include: • Peer-group learning • Group presentations • Online discussion and presentation planning • Independent research and study Over the twelve week period of the module, you will be assigned to a cross-disciplinary group in order to experience teamwork, interdisciplinary discussion, formative peer learning and to manage presentation skills. Participation in online discussion forums is a key component of the module. These will be tutor-led and additional questions and ideas for research arising from the weekly lectures and seminars will be posted. Responses to these online topics will form part of the following week’s group discussions. These will be aimed at reviewing the 3 main assignment themes of the module and contribute to your individual reports. Formative feedback will be provided as part of the forums, during student led seminar presentations.

TypeHours
Teaching24
Independent Study176
Total study time200

Assessment

Formative

Coursework

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated report  (2500 words) 60%
Illustrated report  (1500 words) 40%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated report  (2500 words) 60%
Illustrated report  (1500 words) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Illustrated report  (2500 words) 60%
Illustrated report  (1500 words) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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