Course specification and structure
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PCDSGCCS - PG Cert Design for Cultural Commons

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Postgraduate Certificate Level Masters
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 60
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Design
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

‘Commons’ is part of an emerging discourse based around a resource, whose protection, benefits, values, profits and use are to be shared by considerable number of people with feasible governance and financial models.
This course focuses on the role art and design practices such as performance, visual communication, product design, photography, installation, interiors and architecture can have as cultural commons within the built environment. This is combined with knowledge in public policy, and sociology delivered by the School of Social Sciences and School of Social Professions.
The discourse on commons is fast growing with increased attention and advocates globally without widely available academic training to enter this emerging area. The course will teach students the skills to enable them to practice be it within governmental organisations, cultural institutions or indeed their own entrepreneurial initiatives and NGOs working collaboratively across disciplines.
This unique course teaches students the discourse of ‘Commons’ both historical and current (core module: History and Theory of Commons). It teaches students commoning practices in live contexts (Commoning Practice). The course will encourage strong peer-to-peer collaboration between students and the public unlocking knowledge produced in live contexts that are not always present within academic institutions.
There will be online resources for the students and an archive of lectures and webinars to support students’ self-initiated practice.
In addition, the course employs a range of teaching and learning strategies.

Peer review, critiques and self-evaluation
Students are encouraged to analyse, evaluate and engage with their own work and the work of others and develop advanced communication and presentation skills.

Seminars, reading groups, lectures, 1:1 tutorials
Students will be taught to rigorously and systematically interrogate core practice, projects, theory and case studies.

Blended Learning (the Weblearn virtual learning environment)
The course will upload module information on the web, project proposal development, practical, illustrated guidance in presentation skills, instruction in social media techniques, lecture notes, feedback. Weblearn blogs are used to enhance independent learning and record project development and foster student’s peer-to-peer communication and support.

Self-directed study
This is core to the course and used as the basis for tutorial discussion and critique. Students will be encouraged to engage with personal development planning (PDP) to enable them to reflect on, plan and review their own personal development as an ongoing process.

Course aims

The aim of this course is to tap into an emerging discourse and movement around the commons that has arisen as a result of systems of inequality in resource distribution and management. These resources can be natural, access to knowledge, digital, city spaces, financial, art and design objects etc.. Students will contribute to this emerging field through the practices/initiatives they create and the project they initiate in a live context.

The aim would be for students to continuously test their academic work within the University against external real-life situations in varying live contexts, always being aware of their ethical position. The course will give students the tools to negotiate appropriately their position in real projects. They will be taught to analyse the feasibility of their proposed practice and assess appropriate commoning models for the project. The aim is also to equip students with knowledge to critically assess the role of design in the commons project, which strives towards socio-economic equality.

As well as the above the course aims to:

1- produce graduates who can negotiate complex, ambitious ideas, operate with agility in the face of problems and unexpected situations with confidence;
2- ensure that graduates understand the importance of, and have the knowledge and experience to carry out, appropriate, in-depth and ethical live projects with commons values;
3- develop collaborative, entrepreneurial, and presentational skills relevant to commoning projects and practices
4- enable students to become articulate and confident in delivering their projects to a wide audience;
5- champion a supportive and dynamic learning environment that encourages postgraduate students from a broad range of backgrounds, to engage in creative, critical enquiry and debate;

Students are taught relational ethics of care both in projects, practice and writing they do but also in the learning environment where teaching happens. Relational ethics very much in line with Commons thinking positions focus of responsibility and care on the teaching and learning relationships between student/teacher than the individuals. and attendance.

Course learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student is expected to:

Course Learning Outcomes in Knowledge and Understanding

1. produce viable, creative, innovative commons practice (CA1, CA2, CA5, )
2. interpret and evaluate their practice from a range of critical and mainstream methods deployed by peer-to-peer organisations, considering the cultural and socio-economical context (CA1, CA2, CA5, CA4);
3. develop methods for co-production and engagement that enables commoning practices and projects to deliver agency (CA2, CA4);

Course Learning Outcomes in Cognitive Skills/ Intellectual Skills

4. critically appraise, the commons practice within a given social, political, commercial, and cultural context (CA1, CA2, CA3, CA5);
5. understand power structures at play within commoning projects and develop innovative solutions to deal with inequality (CA1, CA2);

Course Learning Outcomes in Practical Skills

6. learn innovation in forms of practice and methods to measure its impact on social change (CA1, CA5);

Course Learning Outcomes in Key Transferable Skills

7. work effectively as a member of a team, recognising an individual’s potential for contribution and negotiating task allocation appropriately (CA1, CA2, CA3, CA4);

Principle QAA benchmark statements

QAA Postgraduate Degree Characteristics

Assessment strategy

Assessment is based on individual practice development, written submissions, individual and group presentations, commons practice. Assessment includes a combination of diagnostic, formative and summative methods.
Assessment of knowledge and understanding is through coursework in form of practice, essays, and events. This may include as appropriate, oral presentations, group critiques, practical outcomes, group work, practical (group, individual) critical review, study plans, learning agreements, reports, mappings, verbal and visual presentations. Group critiques are used to assess students’ ability to identify and communicate their intentions both verbally and through their commons practice.
Students are expected to participate reflectively in assessment. Self-evaluation involves students in reflection on their own progress in relation to the learning outcomes, and mirrors the assessment process conducted by the course team, providing the basis for discussion at assessment feedback sessions after formal coursework assessment has taken place.
There will be formative assessment and feedback throughout the course, delivered in-class, through tutorials, in critique sessions and at presentations of work in progress. Feedback will be recorded and provided to students in line with approved School procedures and timelines. Feedback will follow the School policy of ‘feed forward’ clearly identifying both strengths of the work reviewed as well as areas and ways to improve work for the future. Students are expected to maintain appropriate records of their work as it develops across their agreed programme of studies and to take part in seminar discussion of their own and others’ work.
Summative assessment involves a formal presentation of work produced and considers the measure of achievement in relation to module learning outcomes.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work- related learning is embedded within the course, through engagement with practitioners and the essential component of the course to develop their practice. Students are required to deliver a program in an external institution. This event will be open to the public enabling students to talk about their final work and expand their future professional network. They can utilise their organisational and entrepreneurial skills taught through the course, to support the marketing of the event.

Course specific regulations

Refer to Course Handbook for full details.

Completion and pass of core modules DN7050 and DN7019.

Modules required for interim awards

PG Certificate 60 credits.

Full Time Study
Year 1 - Autumn Term (60):
Core Modules
DN7050 History and Theory of Commons (20),
DN7019 Commoning Practice (40)

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course places a high value upon enabling postgraduate students to develop their confidence and independence as learners and practitioners in this emerging field of the commons. The course has developed four reflective learning strategies including:

1- peer-to-peer review (discussion platforms within the student body giving them agency and confidence);
2- external peer reviewers made up of experts, practitioners and citizens;
3- self-evaluation set up as part of the tutorial structure;
4- agile project evaluation documented in a journal.

Other external links providing expertise and experience


Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

This unique course teaches students to become entrepreneurs in creating their own initiative, NGO or practice. One-third of the course will focus on setting up students’ future commons practice: on completion of the course, students will have an operational practice. There will be an array of optional modules, ranging from public policies to social theories and citizenship, micro-economies and digital media. These are complemented with art and design teaching, from relational art, visual communication and performance to architecture and photography. Students will become pioneers in the emerging practices of cultural and urban commons. They will gain expertise in applying creative thinking towards asset sharing, mutual resources, self-governance and peer-to-peer economic models. Collaborating with cultural institutions and government agencies will enable them to develop related policies.

Career opportunities

This course can help you to gain a new or higher position in an existing job or help you set up an organisation if you want to start your own practice. You’ll rigorously and factually develop your future career with confidence and support from the expertise of the lecturers, practitioners and academics who teach on the course.

Entry requirements

You’ll generally be required to have one or a combination of the following:

  • an honours degree classification of 2.1/2.2 (or equivalent) in any subject discipline
  • practice experience in any field, with some understanding of working within NGOs or other third sector organisations.
  • an up-to-date CV and copies of award certificates

If your qualifications don’t meet the requirements above but you have a portfolio of substantial relevant experience in the field of Commons or a similar discourse, you’ll be invited to an interview to demonstrate your abilities for a postgraduate course on the Commons.

As well as the above, you’ll need to present a portfolio of work or a clear proposal for postgraduate study within the subject area.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2020/21 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 12 Oct 2020 Last validation date 12 Oct 2020  
JACS codes
Route code DSGCCS

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
DN7019 Commoning Practice Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
DN7050 History and Theory of Commons Core 20 CITY AUT MON AM