Art & Design in Context

Introduction & Rationale

Design has grown into a discipline that involves everything from print to architecture and new media. Designers need a broad understanding of the histories of art and design and the issues of visual culture in order to remain relevant. Advertisements, posters, logos, magazines and films can be held up as signposts of artistic, commercial and technological achievement and should be preserved and studied for their historical, cultural and contextual relevance. This course introduces students to the field of inquiry and further develops their design literacy skills.

Background and Aims

It is important to understand the social, historical, theoretical and creative contexts in which design ideas and products are being and have been produced. The past helps artists and designers understand the present contexts in which their work is made. Ideas, images, people, products, events from the past and present are sources of inspiration for us all.

•  To introduce the students to the histories of art & design.

•  To introduce the psychological context of art and design and the medium of communication.

•  To introduce the key social and professional concerns affecting the design field.

•  To introduce the students to methods of analysis and evaluation

Learning Outcomes
On completing the course students will have:
•  A good knowledge of the history of art and design.

•  Knowledge of specialised aspects of the subject area.

•  An insight into social, political and global design issues.

•  To develop initial skills in design literacy, critical analysis and comment.


We will be given a series of research based briefs throughout the term. These will help us with our research skills and give us an understanding of how to contextualise our own work. We will also be asked to write a series of postcards about a chosen artist

Learning and Teaching Activities
Lectures and seminars
Gallery and museum visits


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