Courses

Design History and Theory is offered at introductory and advanced levels to students across design disciplines. The courses are designed to engage with and reflect upon emergent practices and discourses in contemporary design.

Introduction to Theory and History of Design II

The Making and Shaping of Design: Between Commercialisation and Critical Practice

Lecture series

Heng Zhi

The history of design since the post-war period is characterized by waves of commercialisation for the mass market, and designers’ critical engagement with social and political issues. This lecture series gives an introduction to some of the key epochs and movements from 1940s to today. Offering a wide range of insights into the work and the design processes of designers and design collectives such as Charles and Ray Eames, Ettore Sottsass, Ron Arad, and Droog Design, and movements such as Scandinavian Modern, Radical Design, and Critical Design, this course examines the relationships between design, critical thought, and the market. By showing how the notion of modernist design has been constantly challenged, modified, and reinterpreted by generations of designers, design is demonstrated as a multi-faceted discipline encompassing utopia and consumerism, political engagement and neoliberal practice, personality cult and collective wisdom.

Course language: German

Summer Semester 2022

Theory and History of Design II

The Policy of Design and Design as a Political Activity

Pro-seminar

Heng Zhi

From the establishment of national design councils in post-war Europe to the popularisation of design organisations in emergent economies since the 2000s, design has been employed, exploited, and integrated as a vital element of larger political endeavours of governments and nation states – be it as an instrument to elevate good taste, a sector to enhance the national economy, or an area to uphold power for political parties. On the other hand, generations of design activists have been exploring the possibilities to make political changes through the aesthetic, cultural and social impact of design practice. This seminar investigates the political dimension of design from both case studies of design policies ranging from post-war Britain, socio-democratic Sweden, to China in the 2010s, and examples of design and amateur movements such as radical design, design activism, and craftivism. Students are invited to reflect on the intertwined relationship between design and politics, research on relevant case studies, and eventually incorporate the discussion and the material from the seminar into their own practice.

Course language: German

Summer Semester 2022

Material Culture II

Waste & Materiality

Seminar

Michelle Jackson-Beckett and Alison J. Clarke

This course explores global topics on waste in design and artistic practice from the nineteenth century to the present. Garbage––the material stuff that humans throw away––is a continuously pressing concern, as climate change and the pandemic cause people all over the world to consider global supply and delivery chains, as well as the ecological footprints of state and multinational corporations across industries of product and industrial design, fast fashion, and air travel, among others. From the role of graphic design in data visualizations of climate change to zero-waste fashion construction methods, and corporate product design repair programs, students will engage with a range of design criticism, digital exhibitions, and public history projects, as well as news media and film sources.

Course language: English

Summer Semester 2022

Design in Social and Political Context

Ringvorlesung and workshop

Heng Zhi

Design in Social and Political Context introduces students across the design disciplines to international leading ideas and voices in the field of anthropology, curation, design writing, design history and practice exploring “the politics of design” in contemporary context through Zoom-based lectures.

Course language: English

Summer Semester 2022

Kolloquium für Master- und Doktoratsstudierende

Alison J. Clarke

Course language: English

Summer Semester 2022