MAPD4210 Design and Culture Emneplan

Engelsk emnenavn
Design and Culture
Masterstudium i produktdesign – design for kompleksitet
10 stp.


Design is widely acknowledged as an increasingly multifaceted field, which involves communication and interaction between people and material culture. Issues concerning strategic planning, collaborative, participatory and human-centred design require designers to adapt a broad, humanistic point of view. The aim of the course is to make design students aware of the relevance of knowledge of cultural values and meanings, and their impact on design. Communication is complex and language is the key to creating meaning. Design comprises several forms of articulations and in this course the students are challenged to use and interweave visual, materialized and verbal articulation to create new meaning. The course introduces strategies for integrating research methods for fostering reflexivity, criticality, aesthetic awareness and empathy.


Admission to the Master's programme.


After completing the course, the student is expected to have achieved advanced level in the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence: 


The student has:

  • knowledge about culture and its role, both from a personal and professional perspective
  • knowledge of central cultural terms and cultural values
  • attained knowledge on methods that involve interactions between people and material culture
  • has a good understanding for how aesthetic awareness, reflexivity and criticality works as crucial factors in informed design practices


The student is able to:  

  • reflect critically on the role of design in a cultural context
  • challenge established perspectives and norms in the field
  • integrate cultural perspectives into the development of a product
  • use aesthetic methods to enhance communication of the design process and the results
  • use various forms of articulation to give non-verbal data meaning
  • interweave different  forms of knowledge from practice and theory

General competence 

The student has a developed understanding for:

  • the relevance of knowledge of cultural values and meanings, and their impact on design
  • sustainable responsibility and autonomy for cultural  issues in design


  • design in a cultural context
  • cultural practices and cultural values
  • methods for creative and analytical design processes  
  • critical reflection related to the theme and own professional work 
  • pitching your own design/research projects in the context of the course

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer

Lectures, workshops, discussions, presentations, self-study, practical work and tutoring. 

Arbeidskrav og obligatoriske aktiviteter

The following required coursework must be approved before the student can take the exam:  

  • written project description (design pitch) with a defined research aim 500-700 words.
  • presentation to fellow students and teachers (10 minutes)

Vurdering og eksamen

Individual or group portfolio examination. The portfolio consists of:

  • Poster - visualisation of the essence of the project, (optional a concise and integrated text)
  • Product in optional media.
  • Research-based design project/proposal 2500-3000 words.

The examination result can be appealed

Hjelpemidler ved eksamen

No restrictions.


Grade scale A-F.


Two internal examiners. External examiner is used periodically.