Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


On completion of the course, the students can:

(1) Identify and exemplify critical design practices and examine their historical, theoretical and cultural context.

(2) Analyse and articulate the key design methods employed. 

(3) Become aware and articulate their own methods, their own values and the frame they work in. 

(4) Challenge and expand the methods and frames of their own creative practice.


Credits: 10

Schedule: 20.04.2021 - 27.05.2021

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Julia Lohmann

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Julia Lohmann

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course introduces students to critical approaches in design by addressing it as an evolving, political and activist field. It gives an introduction to different practices of critical design including speculative design, transition design, design activism and their theoretical and historical foundations.

    The course enables the students to apply research-oriented critical approaches to analyse and reflect upon their actions, mindsets, methods and outputs on their own field of design practice. The course guides the students to understand the importance of curiosity on social, political, cultural and ecological issues and it provides skills to apply critical approaches as a springboard for engaging through design with relevant societal challenges.

    During the course the students will reflect on current challenges as well as their own values and use design as a vehicle for critical deliberation. The outcome of the course is a design artefact or critical intervention accompanied by reflective writing. Students learn to explicate the foundations of their critical stand.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Passing the course requires:

    (1) Attending 80% of the contact sessions.

    (2) Oral and written reflection of the study material and their deliberative design process.

    (3) Completion of the design assignment.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    270 h /10 credits


    Lectures 27h / 1 credit

    Group discussions and tutoring 54h /2 credit

    Literature study, reading groups and writing assignments 27h /1 credits

    Design assignment, studio work, presentation 108h / 4 credits

    Personal reflection, Learning Diary 54h / 2 credits


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Hanna, Julian, Auger, James and Encinas, Enrique (2017) Reconstrained Design: A Manifesto. In: DIS '17 - 2017 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, 10th - 14th June 2017, Edinburgh, UK. URL:

    Other sources will be given in the course.

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    This course replaces course MUO-E5008 in the old degree requirement

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    10 Reduced Inequality

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions