module specification

FA7027 - Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and Design (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and Design
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 200
161 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Essay (3000 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module examines a number of key perspectives from which students may explore the contexts and implications of their own practice and the works that they produce. Seminars encourage group discussion of a range of theoretical frameworks, and their controversies and criticisms, through examination of selected texts and projects.

The module culminates in the production of an essay on themes and issues identified as relevant to the student’s own practice and evolving research project, through negotiation with the student’s supervisor.

The module aims to:
• enable students to refine their understanding of debates and issues which are integral to their project;
• further develop and consolidate critical and analytical thinking;
• define understanding of the relation of theory to practice (and practice in relation to theory);                
• enable students to engage with a range of critical debates and vocabularies applicable to their work.


A series of workshops, generated from initial readings of texts and projects, locate key theoretical frameworks in relation to the arts and design.

Indicative seminar topics include:
• work and labour;
• technology;
• aesthetics;
• embodiment, experience and empathy;
• historiography;
• gender;
• postcolonialism;
• environment. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to, and have the opportunity to, continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated. The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice.

The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement.

The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. engage effectively with the theoretical context of their work using appropriate critical language;
2. evidence their awareness and understanding of critical debates and issues which relate to their project/dissertation;
3. communicate, discuss and present findings using appropriate theoretical and critical language, demonstrating articulation, analysis and reflection;
4. employ independent learning and research strategies to develop their reading and project bibliography.


The following are indicative only. Additional refereed journals/articles and electronic resources are issued according to syllabus.

1. Götz, A., (ed.), (1977) Franz Erhard Walther: Arbeiten 1969–1976 2. Werksatz 1972, Reinbeck
2. Spira, A., and Bush, K., (eds), Peter Dreher: Just, Occasional Papers
3. Didier, A., (trans. Turner C.), (1989) The Skin Ego / Didier Anzieu, Yale University Press
4. Barthes, R., (trans. Briggs, K.), (2011) The Preparation of the Novel: Lecture Courses and Seminars at the Collège de France (1978-1979 and 1979-1980), Columbia University Press
5. Benjamin, W., (trans. Underwood, J.A.), (2008) The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Penguin
6. Clastres, P., (1987) Society against the state: essays in political anthropology, Zone Books
7. Dewey, J., (1958) Art as Experience, Capricorn Books
8. Guattari, F., (trans. Pindar, I., and Sutton, P.), (2000) The Three Ecologies, Athlone Press
9. Flusser, V., and Bec, L., (2012) Vampyrotheutis Infernalis: A Treatise, with a Report by the Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste, University of Minnesota Press
10. Heidegger, M., (1975) Poetry, Language, Thought, Harper & Row
11. Lefebvre, H., (trans. Nicholson-Smith, D.), (1991) The production of space, Basil Blackwell
12. Latour, B., (2005) Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory, OUP
13. Loos, A., (trans. Mitchell, M.), (1998) Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays / Adolf Loos ; Selected and with an Introduction by Adolf Opel, Ariadne Press
14. McLuhan, M., (2008) The Medium Is the Massage, Penguin
15. Luhmann, N., (trans. Knodt, E. M.), (2000) Art as a Social System, Stanford University Press
16. Sloterdijk, P., (trans. Hoban, W.), (2013) You Must Change Your Life: On Anthropotechnics, Polity Press
17. Sloterdijk, P., (trans. Margolis, K.), (2012) The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice, Columbia University Press
18. Kierkegaard, S., (trans. Piety, M.G.), (2009) Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs, Oxford University Press
19. Strauss, L., (1972) Savage Mind, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
20. Valéry, P., (1955) ‘Course in Poetics: First Lesson’, in The Creative Process, Etc., by Brewster Ghiselin, New American Library of World Literature, pp. 92–106