Design Studies

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This cohort of staff administers interdisciplinary theory in the faculty. The subjects taught include Design Studies and Contextual Studies, and are offered at undergraduate levels to students from the Graphic Design, Multimedia Design, Industrial Design, Jewellery Design, Fashion Design and Fashion Production, and Visual Art. These subjects seek to develop students’ research skills in the fields of design and art, not solely as practitioners but also as researchers with a view to theoretically and conceptually engaging with larger academic discourses that influences design and how it is understood locally, and internationally. Discourse around design is situated within larger theoretical discourses established in the fields of cultural studies, film studies, media studies and indeed design studies, and these (among others) are drawn upon to develop students’ critical thinking in a scaffolded manner.

While the subjects are not invested in a historical overview of design or art as coherent disciplines, they do refer to historical moments of theoretical significance, but with a view to considering how history is often narrativised from a particular perspective. Students are made aware of African and South African positions in contemporary and historical discourses and influences that pertain to design and art, and always with a critical view towards western positions. Key to students’ development in the subjects is consistent emphasis on academic reading and writing, and developing these skills specifically towards competencies such as argumentation, structuring research projects, and developing research interests.

As the subjects provide the basis for post-graduate study they focus on establishing the aforementioned aptitudes so that students may in further study apply them in the use of specialized research paradigms and methodologies that relate to their specific fields of interest. Design Studies and Contextual Studies provide a substantial grounding in critical thinking and writing, relevant and common to academic research across design disciplines and art.


NameTelephone NumberOffice NumberRoleCampus
Dr Ruth Lipschitz​+27 (0)11-559-1607121, FADA Building, APBFaculty Coordinator (Design Studies)Bunting Road Campus
Dr. Landi Raubenheimer011 559 1123G031 FADA buildingSenior LecturerBunting Road Campus
Dr Itunu Bodunrin011 559 1765G037B, FADA BuildingLecturer and First Year Coordinator, Design Studies.Bunting Road Campus