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DESIGN 581 A: Graduate Seminar in Design

Meeting Time: 
T 8:30am - 11:20am
ART 122
Audrey Desjardins
Audrey Desjardins

Syllabus Description:

Course Information

Instructor Audrey Desjardins, Assistant Professor
Meeting Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m., on zoom
Office hours By appointment


For the full syllabus, see the PDF version.


Course Description

In this seminar we will read and discuss a sampling of texts that articulate contemporary discourses in design: we will reflect and argument about what design and design research are, what they could be, and perhaps what they should be. We will look at design not only as a professional practice but also as a way of producing new knowledge about how humans, artifacts and systems are entangled in and with the world.

In addition to the discussions in class, you will write short papers and sketch design responses that enter into a dialogue with the readings. As a class, we will also assemble a short zine based on the reading list.

The final project in the course will be to write an academic essay that engages two or more peer-reviewed articles, using them as a point of departure for investigating a research question and making a claim or argument of your own.


Course Objectives

The purpose of the course is for you to:

  1. Become familiar with a sampling of writings about design written for professional and scholarly audiences.
  2. Grow more adept at careful and critical reading of a wide range of texts of different subject matter and styles.
  3. Increase your ability to translate what you learn from your reading into pointed inquiry and discussion.
  4. Become more discerning about your sources of information (books, journals, articles); be able to qualify sources for their likely reliability.
  5. Expand your capacity to write by engaging what others have written and learn how to better articulate your own point of view.


Final paper schedule

    • October 19: Propose preliminary topics for final paper.
    • October 26: Submit your choice of topic expressed as a research question.
    • November 9: Thesis statement and substantive (expanded) outline due
    • November 23: First draft (introduction and related works) due
    • November 30: Second draft (findings and discussion) and draft of abstract due 
    • December 3: Peer review is due
    • December 7: In class presentation 
    • December 14: FINAL PAPER DUE 



This syllabus and all associated assignments, requirements, deadlines, and procedures may be subject to change during the term.



Catalog Description: 
Addresses critical issues in design through research, writing, presentations, and discussion.
Last updated: 
May 6, 2022 - 9:53pm