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Unit information: Past, Present and Futures in 2020/21

Unit name Past, Present and Futures
Unit code INOVM0007
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Keir Williams
Open unit status Not open




School/department Centre for Innovation
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit will explore key theoretical lenses as a means to consider socio-technological systems, including artefacts, services, and experiences. The unit will explore historical technological transformations as they relate to the intersections of art, society, and science.

The unit aims to:
• Develop knowledge and critical understandings of socio-technological systems, through a consideration of their key conceptual and material underpinnings, using a case-study approach in both teaching and assessment;
• Develop an in-depth understanding of the theoretical contexts of socio-technological systems ranging from: material culture, history of innovation, social studies of science and technology (STS), and future-oriented frameworks;
• Develop students’ abilities to analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of artefacts, services, experiences, systems, and networks as socio-technological systems;

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key theoretical lenses to consider socio-technological systems;
2. analyse and evaluate competing perceptions of socio-technological systems;
3. develop skills to work constructively and creatively in a group-based case-study;
4. work independently and reach individual/personal judgements within a collaborative context;

Teaching details

A combination of seminars and workshops, research and case study fieldwork (group-based)

Assessment Details

100% coursework

Students will submit a group Case Study Portfolio exploring different critical engagements with case studies of socio-technological systems applying different theoretical lenses. Each student will contribute an individual judgement appended to the group portfolio. ILOs 1, 2, 3, & 4.

Reading and References

Suchman, Lucy. 2007. Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Cambridge
University Press.

Jenkins, Henry. 2008. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media
Collide. NYU Press.

Dunne, A. & Raby, F., 2013. Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming,

Forlano, L., & Mathew, A. (2014). From design fiction to design friction: Speculative and participatory design of values-embedded urban technology. Journal of Urban Technology, 21(4), 7-24

Levitas, R. (2013). Utopia as method: The imaginary reconstruction of society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (2013).