DE7011 - Responsible Design

What will I learn on this module?

During Responsible Design (DE7011) students will have the opportunity to develop an extensive understanding of the role design can play in creating systemic change in a linear fashion model (i.e. take, make, dispose). During the critical analysis of alternative processes, including the circular, sharing and second-hand economies, the potential these approaches could have to reduce negative environmental and social impact will be explored.

Through the application of innovative design strategies, students will begin to develop a series of innovative solutions to address the contemporary societal challenges currently facing the fashion industry. These methods will include: design for circularity, emotionally durable design, design for behaviour change and the implementation of product life-extension strategies (re-use, repair, recondition etc.)

Students will work collaboratively utilising approaches such as co-creation and participatory design in the development of multi-stakeholder cooperation and a human-centric approach necessary in the principles of responsible design. Considering design as a key-tool for change, this module aims to embed knowledge and create informed, progressive change-makers, prepared to disrupt the way fashion is made, consumed and disposed.

How will I learn on this module?

In Responsible Design (DE7011) students will learn through a bricolage of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials and tutor guided independent learning. Acting as design researchers, students will work closely with academics and peers in their subject area to build a co-operative partnership in driving forward knowledge innovation. Situated within a postgraduate design research community, students will push boundaries in approach, process and execution to make a difference to both people and the environment.

Furthering the theoretical knowledge developed in semester 1, students will draw on the skills being developed in Design Process (DE7002) to help inform and guide the development of responsible design strategies and alternative innovative approaches. Leading on from the framing of a relevant problem space in semester 1, students will begin to learn-through-doing in the implementation of theory in application. This will facilitate experimentation and development in preparation for semester 3 in Project/Thesis (DE7003).

Throughout this module, students will continue to develop their design manifesto, reflective of their personal values in the generation of their ideas. This will concentrate on the implementation of their philosophy during the utilisation of appropriate design strategies and design thinking tools. This process will continue to be recorded in their Personal Development Plan (PDP) utilised to evidence the knowledge, skills and understanding attained from the learning in this module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Working within a design community, research excellence is positioned at the forefront of the support available, enabling students to work alongside academic leaders within their field who will disrupt thinking and facilitate debate amongst the postgraduate community. Students will be encouraged to pose questions and challenge norms to drive forward academic quality and aid in the development of innovative propositions.

During discussions in both one to one tutorials and group critiques, students will be provided with verbal formative feedback providing the opportunity for improvement and revision prior to submission. Written summative feedback will be provided along with the opportunity for further verbal discussion to facilitate reflection and evaluation.

Where appropriate, students will be supported in developing relationships with external communities to further which may include fashion brands, consumer groups, non-governmental organisations and charities.

Further formal academic support is provided via information posted on E-Learning Portal. Where appropriate, students may also be directed to engage with Study Skills +, or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support. The Library is open 24 hours a day and E-Learning Portal houses all your module documents including your timetable. These services can be accessed on a range of devices

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding (KU):

2. Develop your personal interpretation of theory and develop personal insights relevant to your field of practice.

3.Investigate and articulate creative and experimental approaches to a specific topic of inquiry developing your personal design knowledge and ethos.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities (IPSA):
1. Demonstrate the application of knowledge/theory/methods (as described in KU) in the context of your creative practice

2. Research and collect a wide range of information to distill, inform and integrate your own theories of practice.

4. Present a portfolio of work that evidences existing materials, processes, trials, products and current innovation that communicates your practice to a wide audience.

Personal Values Attributes (PVA):

5. Engage in an investigative and developmental dialogue with relevant academic and professional groups and communities

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessment 100%

An extensive body of development work will explore the application of responsible design strategies in the fashion product lifecycle. This will include evidence of using appropriate design thinking methods and the utilisation of theories and models discussed during the module. Development will be recorded using methods appropriate to the individual (process journal, annotated bibliography etc.) demonstrating a continuation of investigation through appropriate secondary resources. As an on-going record of process, formative feedback and peer review will be used to allow for further development.

Leading on from the work developed in Fashion Product Lifecycle (DE7010), the Personal Development Plan will be revised and updated, providing detail for the area of inquiry for the final semester. This will evidence personal reflection and begin to map the implementation of personal values as a creative change-maker.

Verbal formative assessment will be given throughout the semester through peer and tutor feedback in seminars and tutorial support





Module abstract

Responsible Design (DE7011) allows you to consider the value of design as a key-tool for change through the innovation of fashion systems. Diverse approaches to design will enable this change, with principles of ethics and sustainability guiding the problem-solving process. Moving away from the negative environmental and social impact, fashion requires disruption in the way products are made, consumed and disposed, this module enables you to think differently, utilising design tools to create innovative system solutions for a more responsible future.

Working cross-disciplinary, this module utilises creative design strategies, underpinned with robust theory reflective of responsible values appropriate to the fashion industry. With a focus on future employability, advanced research and design thinking tools will enable you to become a future change-maker, developing new approaches and exciting solutions appropriate for the contemporary fashion industry.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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