Handbook VDF.pdfHandbook VDF.pdf
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.


  • Understand and analyse values as integral to design discourse and practice 
  • Critically discuss key issues and ideas relevant to design in futures inquiry
  • Identify the stakes in the practices and discourses of change-making in the context of the sustainability imperative
  • Articulate and critically reflect on how technology and human culture, including values and worldviews, are manifested in design practice, using tools from futures studies

In addition to these learning outcomes, students should be able to:

Communicate creative as well as critical futures

The course is designed to provide the theoretical background for taking the 2nd-year course, Sustainability transitions and futures.

Credits: 5

Schedule: 20.04.2022 - 25.05.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Eeva Berglund

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

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The interdisciplinary lecture and seminar course explores discourses and practices regarding futures and societal change . Design has always been profoundly engaged in shaping society through ideas and visions of the future. Today, as method and visual/material practice, it is increasingly used to imagine, explore, communicate and steer change. In so doing, design involves judgements about what is desirable and for whom, it requires working in contexts of potentially conflicting values and surfacing potentially salient issues around change-making. This course prepares students to be more sensitive to the values, ethics and politics of design by pointing to such frontiers in design. 

    The course consists of lectures, small-group seminars and substantial reading and writing exercises. The course is structured as a series of six 3-hour contact teaching sessions. The course combines perspectives from several disciplines, including but not limited to design research, history, anthropology, sustainability science and science and technology studies (STS).

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    This field describes the assessment methods and criteria of the course.

    • Attending the first contact teaching session is required.
    • Participation in contact teaching sessions (at least 80% unless otherwise agreed).
    • Timely completion of preparation and reflection work (reading and writing).

    Progress in critical thinking, as evident in class participation and coursework.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    5 ECTS = 135 hours:

    18h Teaching sessions

    about 10h group work

    about 77h Reading and 30h individual coursework, written reflections and final essay, of which 10 - 20% time to think.



Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Core literature will be made available before the course begins via the MyCourses system. Students are encouraged to explore related resources beyond these.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    4 Quality Education

    5 Gender Equality

    6 Clean Water and Sanitation

    7 Affordable and Clean Energy

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    10 Reduced Inequality

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action

    14 Life Below Water

    15 Life on Land

    16 Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

    17 Partnerships for the Goals


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    This course is delivered with A. dil Gaziulusoy who is a second teacher in charge.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Spring V

    2021-2022 Spring V

    Course Homepage: https://mycourses.aalto.fi/course/search.php?search=MUO-E8023

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture: https://www.aalto.fi/en/services/registering-to-courses-and-the-order-of-priority-in-aalto-arts

    Registration via WebOodi.

    The order of priority for admitting students:
    Creative Sustainability major students;
    Creative Sustainability minor students;
    Department of Design masters students (taken in in the order of registration);
    Students for whom the course is part of his/her major's or programme's alternative studies and has been scheduled in the student's PSP (HOPS) for the current academic year;
    All other master students.

    Maximum number of students: 30
    Minimum number of students: 15