module specification

DN7P20 - Project: Enacting the Commons (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Project: Enacting the Commons
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 600
504 hours Guided independent study
96 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 75%   Live project evidenced as body of work
Coursework 25%   Public exhibition of the project
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Evening
Year City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

The module builds on the students’ draft brief developed in the MA’s core module: History and Theory of Commons. This module supports students to develop their brief further into a rigorous project proposal. The project will be required to be live in its nature and embedded in a real context. This context can be institutions, other initiatives or practices, factories or places of cultural production, banks, farms and any other live context the students chose. The year long project will develop students’ skills to co-produce their projects, critically assess individual and collective authorships, explore critical approaches to design and its ethics as well as the meaning of the work and its materiality.  
The aim of the module is to enable students to have a high quality project developed within the discourse of the commons which enables them to revisit or continue following their MA qualification.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass of 120 credits of core and option modules are required before commencement


The module involves students in creating and implementing self-generated projects developed with allocated tutors. Students will be encouraged to explore wide ranging themes within the discourse of the commons. Throughout the module, each student will identify and test specific approaches to creating a project. This project will be put under scrutiny by peer-to-peer informal debates and public presentations in the real world, be it within communities, institutions or governmental departments. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module will use a series of design teaching strategies:

In terms of learning students will be taught to be mindful of the contexts they embed themselves within to learn from the situations within which they act as much as what they learn from their peers and teachers. This is an established pedagogy of ‘situated learning’. The students will become part of the community of learners through this module, be it citizens, other students or those with decision-making power or professionals.

Peer review and critiques Students will be taught to use ‘action-centric’ design process, essential when engaged in projects within a live context. This process enables students to be agile in their decisions and reflections. The teaching pedagogy has been developed for over a decade and ensures best practice whilst engaged with communities in situations.

Public student presentations enables students to interrogate their own practice and develop presentation skills appropriate to their unique project and character. The public nature of the presentations will provide a platform for debate and engagement in the wider world.

Self-directed study is core to the module and used as the basis for tutorials, discussions and critiques. 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.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, the student will be able to:
1 - develop a live project that has been collaboratively and collectively produced from inception to completion;
2 - learn to develop creative solutions on current overuse and abuse of resources;
3 - develop models of social engagement to empower and give agency;
4 - understand power structures at play within a commoning project and develop innovative solutions to deal with issues of power inequality;
5 - critically assess the role of design within the commons discourse;
6 - learn to negotiate and mediate in live contexts.

Assessment strategy

The assessment will be of a portfolio of the project. What constitutes a portfolio will be discussed with students and appropriate forms will be agreed upon.
The project will need to demonstrate:
1 - models of co-production used in the project;
2 - the role of design in its widest possible meaning within the project;
3 - how the project contributes to the development of the ‘Commons’ discourse;
4 - how the project empowers and gives agency;
5 - clear narrative of the overall project;
6 - an indicative model of how to govern the resources.


Core Text:
Bishop, P. and Williams, L. (2012). The temporary city. New York: Routledge.
Ferguson, F. (2014). Make_Shift City. Berlin: Jovis.
Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Cederwall, J. and Moss, J. (n.d.). The commons.
Arlt, P., Haydn, F. and Temel, R. (2006). Temporary urban spaces. Basel: Birkhäuser.
Ferreri. M, Lang, A. Notes on the temporary city
Laguerre, M. (1994). The Informal City. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge
Walljasper, J. (2010). All that we share. New York: New Press.
Herbert, J. (2016). Negotiating boundaries in the city. London: Routledge.

Other Texts:
Harvey, D. (2014). Rebel cities. [Place of publication not identified]: Verso.
Flood, C. and Grindon, G. (2017). Disobedient object. London: Victoria and Albert Museum.
Kelly, M. (2008). Encyclopedia of aesthetics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Turnbull, D. (1997). Maps are territories.