first cycle 15 credits

CoDesign - design, participation, democracy


Through seminars, hands-on workshops and reflective exercises, this course offers an interdisciplinary, critical and constructive understanding of participatory design or in short co-designing approaches. At the core of this approach are practices of infrastructuring, staging, negotiating meanings among various stakeholders and prototyping as collaborative future making. It also includes a focus on understanding the materials of being a co-designer. The course is aimed at forming a basis for reflective practice regarding collaborative issues of participation and citizen engagement. It connects to approaches and topics of open, user driven and social innovation, design activism, cultural production, social media, living labs, fab labs, urban planning, products and systems design, situated material interaction, etc. Among the course staff are world leading specialists in participatory design who share their experiences and engage in discussions.

Admission requirements

1. General eligibility + the equivalent of English course B in Swedish secondary school.
2. At least 45 credits in one main field.


credits 60% final grades 20% national university aptitude test 20%


Syllabus for students autumn 2017

Course Code:
KD335B revision 1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
22 February 2017
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
28 August 2017

Entry requirements

1. General eligibility + the equivalent of English course B in Swedish secondary school.
2. At least 45 credits in one main field.

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course can normally be included in a general degree at undergraduate level.


The course is structured in a series of thematic modules, and intertwined in these the students do smaller PD activites/interventions in a smaller multidisciplinary group. This can be of the students own choice and initiative, and will be the basis for appropriation and reflection.

Each module is composed of one or more lectures, workshops, supervision sessions and a seminar:
Lectures mainly focus on: background and history, fundamental theoretical concepts, examples and practical approaches as well as overall ethical and critical issues and concerns.
Workshops mainly focus on: practically trying out core co-design/PD approaches and methods as well as critical discussion of these.
Seminars mainly focus on: in groups students present own experiences of ‘PD activities/intervention’ and debate chosen ‘critical issues’ related to the experiences and to the course and module literature.
Supervision happens in smaller groups and is related to the smaller PD activities/interventions.
At the end of the course, students individually write a short written reflection on selected ’PD experiences’, theories and approaches in relation to one’s own main area of study or practice.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
After ending the course, the student should be able to:
• demonstrate some knowledge of core theories, ethics and issues within the area of co-design/participatory design (PD); especially questions around design, participation and democracy [1]
• display understanding of a wide repertoire of PD approaches, methods and examples [2]

Skills and abilities
After ending the course, the student should be able to:
• actively engage in planning and staging series of PD activities / interventions to collaboratively explore a selected concern [3]
• display skills of adapting and situating selected PD approaches and practical ways of collaboration with and active participation of users and other stakeholders throughout the course [4].

Reflection and communication skills
After ending the course, the student should be able to:
• critically analyse and evaluate participation of various stakeholders based on own PD activities/interventions and selected theoretical perspectives [5]
• reflect upon a few personally selected issues (theories, ethics, methods and/or approaches) within the area of PD, and relate them to one’s own main area of study or practice [6]
• evaluate some of one’s own PD experiences during the course, to identify possibilities and challenges of appropriating PD for active participation of different stakeholders within ones own main area of study or practice [7]

  • Communicate some PD theories, experiences and key insights verbally, visually and in writing for different audiences; as well as constructively discuss and comment on the work of others [8]

Learning activities

The course is a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars and smaller PD activities/interventions in multidisciplinary groups of the students own choice, and individual reflective writing.


The course is assessed in three ways:
1) At the seminars ending the different Modules, through group presentations, initiation of critical discussion and active individual participation, the following learning outcomes are assessed: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8.

2) A visually appealing and annotated fieldwork and process group-portfolio, including positive and negative experiences of co-designing with various stakeholders. It should be aimed for selected relevant external stakeholders, the following learning outcomes are assessed: 3, 4, 5, 8.

3) In a final individually written reflective writing the following learning outcomes are assessed: 5, 6, 7, 8.

Grading system

Fail (U) or Pass (G).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Simonsen, Jesper and Robertson, Toni (eds.) (2013). International Handbook of Participatory Design. Routledge. (280 p)

Ehn, Pelle, Elisabet M. Nilsson, and Richard Topgaard (eds.). (2014). Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy. MIT Press. (340 p)

Eriksen, Mette Agger. (2012). Material Matters in Co-Designing – Formatting & Staging with Participating Materials in Co-design Projects, Events & Situations. PhD dissertation. Malmö University. (selected parts)

Additional literature:
Additional readings will be provided as PDF files or links, amongst others from the following:

CoDesign (2015). Volume 11, Issue 34. Special Issue: Designing Things Together: Intersections on Co-Design and Actor-Network Theory.

CoDesign (2012). Volume 8, Issue 2-3. Special Issue: Participatory Engagement in Design.

Halse, Joachim; Brandt, Eva; Clark, Brendon and Binder, Thomas (eds.) (2010). Rehearsing the Future. Danish Design School Press.

Course evaluation

A verbal and written course evaluation will be made at the end of the course.

Other Information

Swedish title for the course is CoDesign - design, deltagande, demokrati.

Examination Codes


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the department School of Arts and Communication.

Further information

Studentservice, K3 - Malmö högskola,


28 August 2017 - 05 November 2017 Day-time 100% Malmö Application period for this offer starts 15 March 2017.

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