HSS8121 : Public Making

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•To encourage speculation and experimentation as to the role of creative practice in working in, with and for publics.
•To develop students’ resourcefulness and ability to connect their skills and knowledge to the specifics of working in public contexts.
•To encourage peer-to-peer collaboration across disciplinary boundaries.
•To encourage peer and self-reflection.
•To help students see working in public as both a facet of creative practice research and professional development.
•To encourage reflection on the concept of “the public”.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module introduces students to ways of working in, with and in forming publics. It emphasises the role of creative work as engaged in dialogical, collaborative or formative relationships with publics. Along the way we will ask what publics are. We will investigating this question as conceptualised in philosophy, social science and aesthetics.

The form of the module is structured as enquiry based, supporting students with their development of core skills and knowledge.

Initial sessions will develop the students’ background theoretical and practical knowledge and will focus on:
•       Public art: its manifestations and criticism
•       Theoretical approaches to the public: foundations
•       Making in public: new practices from creative research and maker culture
•       Working in public: what it means to create a livelihood through creative work

These will take the form of a three hour lecture/workshop with a follow up, student-led seminar exploring related topics. At these seminars students will present a short 500 word paper to their peers, each student presenting only once across the series. Reflection on this paper and on the papers of others will form the subject of the first four reflective blog posts.

Subsequently the students will develop a collaborative project to be produced with, in or for a public. Crucial to this process will be:
•An informed articulation of that public’s constitution which will develop reflectively though the project documented by personal blog posts.
•Projects will experiment with venues for as sites for engagement with and creation of publics. These will draw on Culture Lab resources (e.g. Culture Lab Radio, The Exhibition spaces of Culture Lab) and our developing relationships with cultural venues and institutions in the city such as Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Seven Stories Books.

The module will culminate in (a) public outcome(s) such as a radio show(s), exhibition, workshop(s), performance(s). Students will participate in a public facing plenary at which the work will be presented and discussed. The format and venue of this event will be decided by the student cohort with input from the academic staff. Reflection on this public discussion will be the subject of the final reflective blog post.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture43:0012:00Lecture/workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00Public Round-table seminar
Guided Independent StudyProject work1172:00172:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity43:0012:00Student-led seminar
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Contact sessions will combine lectures, seminars, small group tutorials and collaborative project work. In the first half of the module sessions will be used to present and contextualise public making in creative practice and in relevant theoretical literature. This will provide a grounding for the collaborative group project which will be supported by small group tutorials. The final public round table event will present students’ reflective work from the module in a mutually supportive environment affording peer-learning as well as providing a final opportunity to consider the relationship of their creative work to various publics.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj2A50Public presentation of collaborative project. Individual documentation of project for instance photography, film, sound recording
Essay2A30Will critically explore an aspect of the presented lecture topics in less than 2000 words.
Reflective log2A205 reflecting on students seminar topics and the final public plenary (700 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Public presentation will allow the assessment of students' ability to creatively develop and practically manage project work in and with publics. Students will demonstrate their expanded skills and capacity to collaborate through appropriate project documentation.

Essay will combine lecture material with experience gained during project work to assess students’ ability to discuss compare and criticise their particular approach to the notion of a public.

Through the reflective log students will be assessed on their ability to articulate the theoretical grounds of their project (as discussed in seminars) and to write reflectively about it.

Reading Lists