Independent studies

Independent studies

SPRING 2018 Design ­– Politics, 15 hec

Design ­– Politics / Design – Politik, 15 hec


The course is open for late application. Applications are processed in turn after you have done step 1 and 2 below. The registration is open until the places are filled.

Course content

Title: Cultures of Assembly

Subtitle: On social-democratic (consensual) geographies and their agonistic potential

Can social heterogeneity and agonistic encounter be designed? What constitutes the productive transitions of physical and programmatic variables when it comes to spatial-political encounters? When we stage discourse, when and how does the political emerge?

The course will inquire narratives around political congregation: What constitutes the space for and of politics? Projects will investigate how to imagine, devise and design a space of politics, both through content-related curatorial questions as well as through physical and non-physical intervention, differentiating between that which is politics and that which is the political.

This course explores the relationship between the social phenomenon of human assembly and the way in which (spatial) design may arguably have the ability to effect and affect those situations. It investigates the correlation between design as a (professional) practice and the potential alternative roles and (institutional) avenues that such practice may offer.

The course confronts issues and practices related to public spaces and spheres, participation, mobility, citizenship, neo-colonialism, hegemony and social justice. One or several of these issues are addressed by producing a set of visual, material and performative experiments through a set of design inquiries. You will work in a transdisciplinary mode of inquiry, where issues are discussed and practiced and communicated through design.

The course focuses thus on the dynamics of power and change produced through co-mutual relations between design and politics. Through a series of theoretical as well as practical inquires, students learn to investigate the complexity of power through design, designing, politics and the political.

By identifying artifacts and sites as matters of politics as well as political concepts as a series of designed things and processes, systems and infrastructures, the course intends to push the boundaries of what design and politics are and move towards what they could be.

Entry requirements: Bachelor's Degree or equivalent of at least 180 hec
Selection: Selection is based on work samples.
Period: Spring semester 2017. Part time (50%) week 03 - 22.

The course will be physically meeting 4 times following dates: 
Jan 24, 25, 26.
Feb 28. Mar 1, 2.
Apr 11, 12, 13.

May 23, 24, 25. This block will contain of a presentation in an exhibition format and context.

Potential backgrounds of participants could include: Architects, designers, graphic designers, visual artists, planners, politicians, sociologists, geographers, political scientists.

How to apply

  1. Apply for the course at Last day to apply: October 16. The course is open for late application. Applications are processed in turn after you have done step 1 and 2. The registration is open until the places are filled.
  2. Submit your portfolio in our system DAP Last day to submit your portfolio: October 23

An application is not complete without a correctly submitted portfolio

You apply for the course on and submit all documentation that is needed to show you fulfill the entry requirement. It is important you submit complete documentation. Read more about Documenting your eligibility. If you are not a Swedish citizen or are a Swedish citizen living abroad you either have to provide proof you are exempted from paying the application fee, or pay the application fee. Read more about the Application fee.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio is submitted digitally in our system DAP. We recommend you start creating your portfolio in good time. DAP closes at midnight sharp on the day of deadline, and we can give technical support until 18:00 the same day. When you have submitted your portfolio you receive a confirmation by email. Make sure to check you have received this email, or else your portfolio has not been submitted correctly.
Link to DAP:

The portfolio for this course should consist of:

  1. CV - 1 slide. Describe relevant educational and work experiences connected to design, civil society work, politics etcetera.
  2. Letter of Intent - 1 slide. The letter of intent should describe why you are applying to the course, what your objectives with the course are and what prior experience you have with working with politics through design or through other disciplines and/or practices.
  3. If you have an artistic background, we would like to see examples of your artistic work. Work samples – 5 slides, 1 image per slide. Five images that represents your artistic practice. With artistic background we mean if you have a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, Design, Architecture or in an equivalent field.

Selection and Admission

All complete applications are assessed by a jury consisting of the course coordinator and eventual other representatives from the department, and are ranked according to the assessment criteria. Your academic qualifications are assessed by the University’s Admissions Office.  If you do not fit the entry requirement, your application is made unqualified. 

If you are not formally qualified the jury has the possibility of making exemptions from the formal requirements, if they have ranked your portfolio high and considers your background to be equal that of the entry requirement. This is done on the initiative of the jury - the applicant cannot ask for this assessment to be made.

Further information


Key dates for this admission period can be found on Universityadmissions – Key dates.

Before the start of the course published information reading list, schedule and welcome GUL (University of Gothenburg's learning platform) open sides.

Course coordinator

Prof. Dr. phil Markus Miessen markus.miessen [at]


If you have questions about the course please contact course coordinator

Here we have put together frequently asked questions and answers concerning international applicants. If you cannot find the answer to your question under FAQ please send an e-mail to: hdkadmission [at]

Image: Diwaniyah: a research project by Joseph Grima & Markus Miessen (filmography by Elian Stefa), Kuwait, 2010.