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Transdisciplinary Design for Transformation (new course)

Understanding the power, influence, process, and embeddedness of design in all systems, industries, and lifestyles, will enable you, the citizen, to interact with and empower design and designers in the transition towards more sustainable practices, and the redirection of choice and the creative contribution.

We live in a designed world. We ourselves are designed creatures. A more sustainable world will mean changing our assumptions about design, and what should be designed. This course will focus on the role of design in all its disciplinary manifestations during the industrial era (last 250 years): design has affected the shape and experience of industrialisation, urbanisation, urbanism, political economics, power relationships, globalisation, the quest for a sustainable future. It has shaped out ethics and leadership styles and processes. 

Through its function of object-making, communication-making, space-making, experience-making and systems-making, design plays a powerful role in the forming of values, identities, lifestyles, aspirations, expectations, choices and behaviour. These choices determine our relationship with ‘stuff’, with ‘other’ groups, with our environment, with the planet, with the future, with reality. 

If we want to change this relationship, we need to know how design works and what it will take to redesign the material world. The course will question whether design is Master of, Slave to, or Collaborator with, the dominant socio-political-economic-technical system.


Marjorie Naidoo’s fascination lies at the intersection of Design and Urbanism, Ethics, Political Economics, and Sustainability.  She presents the module on Transdisciplinary Design for Transformation.