Culture - Source: Alesya Krit

Source: Alesya Krit


Materials - Source: Adam Drazin

Source: Adam Drazin


Design - Source: Adam Drazin

Source: Adam Drazin

Areas for Study

Our students often have very specific areas of interest: a specific material, area of design, or a craft. In our courses, we provide a broad overview of many different kinds of design and materials, exploring some in more depth. Students then develop their knowledge of a particular thing in their module options and their own dissertation research.

Over the year, we aim to touch on examples from at least six different kinds of material, design agendas, and cultural locales where social scientists often engage with these issues. We explore 2-3 of these in more depth in group work (for example in 2011-12, group projects on ‘textiles & heritage’, and on ‘construction materials & sustainability’). For a project, we look at a kind of material, in the light of a particular kind of design agenda or audience, through research in particular kinds of cultural context. A student, having explored the social and cultural dimensions of one sample material or design, should be equipped to take this knowledge and re-apply it as required to think objectively and analytically about another area.

This aims to provide students with a ‘materials literacy’ about different kinds of materials and how to explore them.

The broad categories we have developed to explore this field are:

What we study