Modernity and Modernism

The aims of this component of the unit are to:
A1. Provide an overview of key concepts and case studies essential to an
understanding of the idea of modernity and modernism in design.
A2. Introduce and examine a range of critical and historical texts by modernist
designers and historians that articulate ideas about form, production,
materials, ornament and space.
A3. Consolidate technique of essay writing and through the seminar
programme-oral presentation and discussion skills.
A4. Promote developed research skills.
This module comprises 2 equally weighted components of 50% that run
consecutively throughout the first year. The first is Perception and Meaning,
the second is Modernity and Modernism
Context – Modernity and Modernism – Component 2
The second part of this unit strives to articulate the notion of modernism by
examining some of the key intellectual, philosophical and aesthetic positions
that influenced design, craft and the decorative arts from the late nineteenth
century. Beginning with the emergence of theories of modernity, the content
of the unit presents a series of lectures and associated texts that examine
important concepts in the development of the modernist sensibility. Within
each lecture and seminar, case studies are used to provide detailed
examination of the various aesthetic and critical positions adopted by key
protagonists of the Modern Movement.
Indicative lectures:
The Origins of Modernism
Pioneers and Prophets: Revolution and Utopian Vision
Sons of Pioneers: International Modernism and Design
From the Cold War to The Space Age: Austerity to Affluence
(Bibliographic references in suggested reading list)
Essay Title:
Modernism and Modernity: What were the aesthetic, social, cultural and
philosophical ideas that underpinned Modernism? An argument about their
significance within the modernist movement will be illustrated and debated
through a selection of design objects, images or buildings.
Students are required to write a 2000 word essay that should draw heavily on
and include references to the topics discussed in the lectures and seminars.
More information about content expected will be given in the lectures and
Your essay must:
Describe aesthetic, social, cultural and philosophical ideas that underpinned
Modernism. By choosing a selection of objects, images or buildings you
should present an argument about their significance within the Modernist
Please note that it’s vital that you attend all theory lectures and seminars and
seek advice from Tracey Ashmore if you feel you need help with your writing.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this component of the unit you will be able to demonstrate:
LO1. A familiarity with some of the key aesthetic and intellectual positions
associated with modernism and modernity.
LO2. An understanding of some of the key ideas in primary texts and case
studies considered as part of the lecture programme.
LO3. An ability to produce a fluently written critical essay (or presentation) that
responds to themes addressed in the unit and that adheres to academic
conventions of presentation.
LO4. The ability to investigate, access, collate and apply research.
Assessment Requirement
Assessment weighting: 50%. Following the lectures and seminars and a
period of independent research and study you will be required to write an
essay that is c.2000 words.
Assessment Criteria
On completion of this unit you will have produced evidence of
Knowledge of Contexts, Concepts, Technologies and Processes
• A knowledge and understanding of the key ideas associated with Modernity
and Modernism. (LO1, LO2)
• The ability to engage in critical analysis and evaluation in the presentation of
logical arguments (LO2)
Understanding and the Application of Knowledge
• The ability to engage in research that supports the academic study of the
subject (LO2, LO4))
Application of Technical and Professional Skills
• Growing developing ability to communicate ideas and information in a
professional manner that adheres to academic conventions (LO3)
• An ability to organise tasks, respond to set assignments, contribute to
discussion and debate and to adhere to deadlines. (LO4, LO5)
eference Material
All recommended texts / sources are available from the UCA library at
In addition to the list below, the tutor may recommend additional texts/other
sources as part of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
Please note: The lectures as well as related handouts will be accessible on
myUCA as soon as possible after the lectures.

Last Updated on February 10, 2019 by EssayPro