module specification

DN4005 - Workshop Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Workshop Practice
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
150 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
150 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Project Work
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning
Year City Monday Afternoon
Year City Monday Morning

Module summary

Good design and high-quality artefacts are informed by knowledge of the potential and limitations of relevant technologies and techniques, materials and process. The focus of this module is on the development of understanding and abilities in a range of key practical skills and an understanding of material and process through experience, experimentation and direct observation. 

The module will introduce to you some of the key methods and principles of achieving high-quality outcomes, whether crafted, manufactured or constructed. It will develop your capacity for informed decision-making about material experimentation and process investigation through the exploration of why particular choices of material, technique, process and technology are made in relation to factors such as aesthetics, purpose, function, scale, economy, and ethical considerations.

The module is taught within disciplinary specific studios, includes a range of relevant exercises and will aid realisation of designs and projects originated in other modules.

Module aims

This module aims to:

• Introduce key designer making-skills and practical understanding of material, process and related issues, such as health and safety for workshop and other production contexts
• Develop an appropriate level of competence in practical realisation through experience, experimentation and practice
• Explore and develop understanding of why particular choices of material, process, technique and technology are made such as: constructional requirements, scales, material values, economies of production, functional and aesthetic design constraints
• Enable you to recognise, understand and debate ethical issues surrounding the choice and use of material and production choices in the context of your discipline


Through discipline-specific studios, indicative exercises and projects, you will develop knowledge and experience of:

• workshop health, safety and regulation
• effective and safe working with a range of materials, techniques, processes, tools and equipment
• properties, limitations and potential of a range of materials , for example: textiles, wood, metal, synthetic polymers, etc
• the relationship between choices of material, the means of production and the designed artefact, including consideration of ethical issues

Design studios and exploratory practice are supported by exercises, visits and group critiques together with a series of lectures.

Learning and teaching

Knowledge and skills will be introduced to you through lectures, demonstrations, inductions and supervised workshop practice. You will further your understanding and competence through self-managed workshop practice and research. You will be able to reflect on your progress through participation in seminars and critiques.

Studios and projects through which knowledge and skill will be developed will be both prescribed and individually set, and will be designed to ensure discipline specific competencies are achieved.

It is vital that you attend punctually and regularly. The considerable health and safety issues associated with this module mean that absence is likely to have a seriously adverse impact on your progress and achievement.
Blended learning resources will support you through, for example, access to video demonstrations.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
Make informed, creative choices regarding material, process and technology in relation to construction, scales, material value, economies of production, and functional and aesthetic design in a range of contexts

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
Test and defend critical choices of artefact production, material and process within ethical contexts

Transferable Skills
Demonstrate and apply good workshop practice (with awareness of health and safety issues and regulation) and assess situations for relevant risk factors

Subject Specific Practical Skills
Demonstrate basic competence and creative material experimentation in discipline-specific making skills

Assessment strategy

You will produce a coherent presentation of your studio project process and outcomes, together with an individual critical evaluation of its relative success, and communicate and debate this with others.

You will produce a range of practical outcomes assessed formatively through an ongoing process of tutorial and feedback and at regular project reviews.  The final mark will be given after a summative assessment of final coursework outcomes at the end of the module.  

Precise requirements will be given in project briefs, but marking will take account of:
• the quality of your work  in respect  of appropriate choice of material, material experimentation and process
• the quality of your work in respect of the application of technique and process
• knowledge and application of required health and safety procedures and regulation
• evidence of consideration of issues related to choices made in specifying material and process for production, for example ethical and environmental considerations, economic factors, legal requirements

Work must be carefully organized and presented to indicate the development of work and the content must be clearly labeled. Students must attend timetabled sessions


Braddock, S. & O’ Mahony, M. (1998) Techno Textiles, Thames and Hudson

Codina C (2002) Jewellery and Silversmithing Techniques, A&C Black
Health and Safety Executive (2006) Essentials of Health and Safety at Work, HSE.
Hoppen, K. (1999) In Touch: Texture in Design, Conran Octopus
Joyce, E (1987) The Technique of Furniture Making, Batsford
Lefteri, C (2002) Wood, RotoVision
Lefteri, C (2004) Metals, RotoVision
Lefteri, C (2008) The Plastics Handbook, RotoVision
Lefteri, C (2007) Making it: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, Laurence King
McCreight, T (1991) The Complete Metalsmith, Davis Publications
Pye, D (1995) The Nature and Art of Workmanship, The Herbert Press