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Design as Art / Art as Design


Admission requirements

The course is a Research Seminar for the specialization: Design, Culture & Society. The course can also be attended as a Free Component within the MA Arts and Culture. Students from other Master programs from Leiden University are also welcome to apply.


In this seminar we explore the relationship between design and art from around 1960 until now. Design and art have a complex relationship, which has been given new meanings in recent decades. In the context of the museum and the gallery space, more and more artists use the symbols and products of a contemporary consumer culture. At the same time designers explore the visual arts and use the codes and tools of art. This seminar will deal with artistic movements such as the Situationism of Guy Debord, Constant and Ettore Sottsass, with Italian Radical Design from the sixties, the architecture of Rem Koolhaas in the seventies, the fashion group Antwerp Six in the eighties, the Dutch conceptual design of the nineties and with such diverse artists-designers such as Dan Graham, Krijn Giezen, Joep van Lieshout and Superflex.

Course objectives

  • analyse contemporary forms of artdesign in a critical way and relate them to other contemporary practices;

  • reflect on design from artistic, socio-economic and cultural persepectives

  • express critical insights of readings of a academic nature

  • evaluate presentations of their peers in referent panels;

  • present a pitch of their research project before class;

  • present their results in a written paper with an analysis of academic quality;

  • reflect on their progress and participation during the course in a course portfolio.


Please consult the timetable on the MA Arts and Culture website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture;

  • Seminar;

  • Research;

  • Excursion.

Course Load

Total course load is 10 ec x 28 hours = 280 hours:

  • seminars: 2 hours per week x 13 weeks = 26 hours;

  • studying compulsory readings for seminars = 245 pages a 7 pages per hour = 35 hours;

  • preparing panel presentation, 3 days = 24 hours (reading and discussion of given text with other panel members, preparing presentation);

  • preparing review panel, 1 day = 8 hours (critical reading of given text with other panel members)

  • preparing pitch, 3 days = 23 hours (designing poster after collecting material from the start of the seminar);

  • preparing course portfolio, 3 days = 24 hours (editing notes, writing portfolio of 3000 words);

  • writing of final course paper = 280 – 141 = 140 hours (rereading texts, collecting research material,

  • searching and reading additional literature, composing and writing of paper, 5000 words).

Assessment method

  • Course portfolio of 3000 words (20%);

  • Seminar paper of 5000 words (80%).


The final grade is the avarage of the two grades (20%, 80%), as mentioned.
This average must be 6.0 minimal in order to pass the seminar. In addition, the final paper (80%) must be graded with 6,0 minimal.


Students may opt for a second chance if the paper is graded under 6,0.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • readings;

  • shared course documents;

  • shared documents of assignments;

  • panel presentations.

Reading list

Alex Coles (ed), Design and art. Whitechapel/ MIT Press, 2007
Adittional literature t.b.a.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Choose from the options below:

Not applicable


For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher Prof. dr. T.R.A. de Rijk

Administrations Office Huizinga