Feeling follows function : gendered responses to the teaching of material culture

ATKINSON, Paul and BENINCASA, Caterina (2004). Feeling follows function : gendered responses to the teaching of material culture. In: 4th International Conference on Design History & Design Studies (ICDHS), Universidade de Guadalajara, Mexico, 1-5th November 2004. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In the academic year 2001/2002, the Department of Design at Huddersfield undertook a Review of its academic provision, including the delivery of Design History to support practice-based design courses. During consultation with the leaders of these courses it became apparent that some of them saw Design History as an unnecessary add-on having limited relevance to their course. Consequently, the decision was taken to move to teaching ‘Material Culture’ rather than ‘Design History’, as its focus is on understanding the user’s response to designed objects. It was hoped that this would be clearly seen as more relevant to the student’s design practice by the students themselves as well as by the staff running the courses. This paper takes the experience of running a module in Material Culture to a mixed group of students over a period of three years as a case study in Design History Education. It is delivered by team teaching, so that the same staff deliver the same content to different groups of students, and from the outset a number of interesting observations became apparent. There started to be very clear differences in the responses of students to the same lectures. These responses were clearly not evident in our previous experience of teaching Design History to the same courses rather than Material Culture. There was clearly something in the subject matter of Material Culture causing students to respond in this way. By analysing the teaching, relating our experience to published texts in pedagogy, experimenting with teaching both groups together, and by examining evaluation reports and the results of group work, this paper aims to explore the effectiveness of teaching Material Culture as opposed to Design History, and highlight the gender issues which appear to be inherent in teaching Material Culture as a contextual subject to design practitioners.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Atkinson
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2014 10:43
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2015 22:58
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/8665

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