Debates In Design

Course Number



3 Units

Given the opportunity, designers will endlessly debate. This course aims to enable students to grasp the nature of these debates, and to become an active participant in contemporary design discourse.

Perhaps designers debate simply because different practices of design fundamentally disagree – we can plainly see this, in that the important differences that delineate design disciplines and movements are so hotly contested. New disciplines constantly emerge, and old boundaries are continuously in flux – this course equips students to participate in the the discourses and debates that characterize contemporary design practice. At the same time, we may also plainly see that different practices of design fundamentally concur, and that there are ways of thinking and knowing common to designers across different disciplines. This course guides students in uncovering these interdisciplinary forms of design action and design knowledge. The seeds of future design disciplines are sown when dynamic groups of interdisciplinary designers are brought together, such as the cohort of Berkeley’s MDes program. This course prepares students to survey the field of practice, to identify these new potential disciplines, and to compellingly argue for their vision for the future of design.

In this lecture + colloquium course, 6-8 speakers from design practice are invited to present to the class, each detailing a specific relevant project that they have worked on in their professional careers. Speakers may share relevant background material and suggested readings ahead of this talk, thereby allowing students to come in with thoughtful questions and discussion points to each class.

Other Courses