• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Design
  • Areas of interest History, Digital Arts, Visual Arts, Digital Humanities, Design
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Ella Barclay
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

The early decades of the twenty-first century have been marked by substantial ecological, economic, political, technological and social transformation, compelling us to ask how it is that we have arrived at this contemporary moment? As designers, what strategies can we employ to combat the grand challenges currently at stake? How have the innovations, social movements and seismic events of the past influenced our ethics, methods and ideas? This course introduces students to the historical precedents for contemporary design practice and the research and communication methodologies required to contextualise them. Students will learn how to research and analyse the objects, movements and systems of design and how these legacies have impacted design practice today. Employing written, verbal and visual communication, we will explore the cultural conditions that have historically produced innovation and change, the ethics of design history research and the analytical and critical skills to explore and communicate these ideas. This course is suitable for students of design and those with an interest in critically examining the historical conditions that have shaped the designed world in which we live.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. research, develop and evaluate design concepts and processes by thinking creatively, critically and reflectively;
  2. interpret, communicate and present ideas, problems and arguments in modes suited to a range of audiences; and
  3. recognise and reflect on social, cultural technological, environmental and ethical issues of design in local and international contexts.

Other Information

School of Art & Design studio courses have a limited enrolment capacity. Students are advised to enrol as early as possible to maximise the opportunity of securing a place.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Briefing the boss: annotated bibliography of prescribed design literature (20) [LO 1,2]
  2. Design object deep dive: critical visual analysis (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Op-ed: Precedents for current contentions in Design. 1500 word essay. (50) [LO 1,2,3]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: seminars, collaborative research and supervised studio practice; and

b) 94 hours of independent research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

As published on Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

As published on Wattle.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $5100
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3846 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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