Fall 2019 - IAT 431 D100

Speculative Design (3)

Class Number: 6253

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 60 units.



Provides students with the opportunity to experiment with designing in various non-normative frameworks provided by cultural studies, critical theory and phenomenology. Students will examine design's potential for cultural, social and ethical critique of emerging technologies and society. Rather than merely illustrating theoretical positions, this examination involves enacting and embodying differing theoretical positions, thereby rendering criticism productive. Individual design expertise and voice is emphasized.


Course Description   Provides students with the opportunity to experiment with design using alternative design perspectives, such as critical design, material speculation, design fiction, and ludic design. The focus is on studying and designing to support real world social change and cultural critique.  Students will examine design’s potential for cultural, social and ethical critique of emerging technologies and society. This examination involves enacting and embodying differing speculative design positions.

Course Objectives   The goal of this course is to develop skills necessary for understanding, interpreting, and thinking about future designs. Students will study the theoretical perspectives of speculative design, methods for creating flexible and innovative designs of the future, and techniques for critiquing culture and design. Lectures will be complemented with hands-on activities in studio labs along with assignments aimed at creating conceptual design proposals and future design prototypes.  


Learning Outcomes   Students will be able to:
·         understand, critique and analyze designs from non-typical design perspectives such as material speculation, critical design, ludic design, and design fiction
·         analyze, evaluate, and critically reflect on the design of human-centered solutions with respect to current and emerging design, social and cultural issues
·         design a tangible artifact or digital program from non-typical design perspectives
·         conduct a field evaluation of a speculative design to understand and receive critical feedback and cultural understanding by non-designers


  • Individual Assignments 10%
  • Group Projects 90%


Your total course grade will consist of the following percentage breakdown:

40% Individual Assignments
60% Group Projects (group work with individual grades)  

All team/group assignments must be completed as a group with your respective team members or you will receive 0 marks for them. All individual components must be completed individually or you will receive 0 marks for them.  

Your TA and Instructor will have final say over who are your group/team members.  

You will complete one or more team member evaluations during the term. If your evaluations illustrate you are not performing an adequate amount of work on team submissions, components of your grade may be adjusted to reflect the evaluation. Team members may also directly influence portions of your grade.  





This course will require near weekly printing of high-quality posters as well as material costs (amount dependant on the nature and focus on your final project). 

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html