IAT 499 Graduation Project

Course details

'IAT 499 Graduation Project – Spring 2024’ is an opportunity for you to complete one large detailed project over an entire term.

The course will be taught by Dr. Gillian Russell (Imaginative Methods Lab) and is aimed at students interested in completing a ‘capstone’ project’ of significant size and scope that employs methods and strategies drawn from alternative design practices (critical design, speculative design, narrative environments, discursive design, design futures, etc.).

The course will consist of several interlinked activities: Studio-based lectures and creative exercises; supervised student-led studios; weekly crits; and guest crits. Working individually or as part of a small team, students will learn how to manage a major project, and articulate the concepts behind their work, which includes portfolio and final exhibition preparation and implementation.

Completed projects will be presented publicly (either digitally or physically) at the end-of-term graduation showcase. The format will be decided by the class.


IAT 499 will be led by Dr. Gillian Russell who will coordinate and guide students through their projects. Additionally, students are invited to find a faculty mentor or industry partner to further support their work. This is encouraged, but not required.

Gillian Russell is a designer, researcher and curator working at the intersection of critical design, anthropological futures, and narrative environments. Her work investigates the unique cultural, ethical, and critical challenges posed by digital technologies, focusing on ways to re-shape technology through value-based imagination. Gillian holds a PhD in Design from the Royal College of Art, London, UK, and is co-founder of the Imaginative Methods Lab, an international working group, developing practices and tools to re-imagine the rights to research and design. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Portugal, in the Porto Design Biennale, Helsinki Design Museum, Design Museum London, London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair and the Victoria & Albert Museum.


How to apply

To apply for this course, students must download and complete the application/project proposal form (link below) and submit the completed form to SIAT's advising team at siat_advising@sfu.ca.

Deadline to apply

Applications are open for the Spring 2024 semester. Deadline to apply is Tuesday, October 31st.

Types of projects

There is a lot of freedom in project choice as long as it relates to what we do at SIAT, is of significant scope, depth and contribution, and can clearly showcase your learning. This might include:

  • a critical/speculative/fictional design project in a variety of media
  • a novel narrative environment (interactive storytelling experience) or research/development project)
  • a documentary or creative film
  • a novel and well-developed/researched game
  • a novel user experience design project
  • and more!

Your final project should represent a high degree of proficiency.

Past Projects


The course is aimed at senior IAT students, and the prerequisite is 90 units complete, including 18 upper division IAT units, plus IAT 309W.