DE6015 - Competition or Collaborative Project

What will I learn on this module?

You will choose a brief from a design competition/collaborating industry partners to challenge your design knowledge and skills in a competitive environment. The briefs are carefully selected/constructed to facilitate your learning in pursuit of the learning outcomes of the module.

The briefs require you to tackle complex issues, addressing current and future challenges that might have multiple factors (social, economic, environmental and cultural). By undertaking this brief, you will further develop your abilities to research complex issues; develop credible insights; and define design opportunities.

You will also develop your abilities in communicating design proposals in response to complex issues, selecting appropriate media (physical and digital) in order to present compelling, concise and impactful design propositions.

Working on the design competition/collaborating industry briefs is excellent preparation for the other projects you will undertake in your final year, as they challenge your understanding and knowledge of design contexts, research methods, and, your abilities to develop and communicate creative solutions to a high standard. They will also give you a chance to gain recognition for your work through shortlisting and/or being awarded a prize.

How will I learn on this module?

Learning and teaching strategies on design for Industry encourage you to acquire a flexible and imaginative approach to problem solving through enquiry-based learning. You will become an active participant in your learning, integrating design practice with academic and intellectual skills.

The exploration of theories, concepts and processes enable you to display evidence of creative thinking through the exploration and communication of strategies whilst refining your project brief. This type of experiential activity engages you in self-initiated research, encouraging independent judgement and critical self-awareness. You are encouraged to be an active participant in a collaborative studio culture (where the studio is both the physical environment and its online, virtual counterpart).

Projects that involve external partners in the setting of a competition or live brief are referred to as authentic learning experiences. In other words, they prepare you for professional life in having to respond to the expectations of an external collaborator while working on an issue that has real-world relevance.

You are encouraged to advance your visual literacy and explore current issues and debates. Weekly peer group sessions, will help you learn to be flexible and collaborative, to identify and redefine problems in a creative way and focus on solutions that are both relevant and empathetic. Traditional, new and emerging technologies are used both in the delivery and realisation of outcomes, and you will learn to present your work and ideas to a variety to peers, tutorial staff and external collaborators. Sessions may take place either on campus or via online platforms.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• Opportunity to collaborate with industry and regional, national and international external partners extend the practical study of the subject area within an industrial context. They are also designed to support student confidence in their ability to handle professional practice within the creative industries

• Students experience a range of teaching, learning and assessment methods and course work is largely project based

• Modules are delivered through a combination of online tutorials and lectures, supported online group tutorials and sign-up studio and workshop activity. Delivery may be on campus or via online platforms.

• Students have the use of a range of making workshops and facilities. Highly-skilled technical staff are available to guide and support students in their making.

• Additional study skills materials and workshops are available through Skills Plus at

• Students are expected to maintain a project plan and are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning

• English language support is provided for international students

• University student services offer specialist support e.g. financial, disability, mental health, international student support etc.

• eLP includes all relevant documentation e.g. module guides, lecture material, reading lists together with discussion boards and notices

• Visiting professionals support relevant and current practice

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:

MK6.1 – Acquire in-depth knowledge of a complex issue based on critical engagement with relevant theories and debates. (PK6.1)

MK6.2 – Demonstrate the relevance of your design propositions in relation to aesthetic, technical, cultural and commercial contexts. (PK6.3)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

MI6.1 – Use creative research methods to identify and redefine problems and issues in order to underpin design proposals. (PI6.1)

MI6.2 – Use a range of creative techniques to communicate your understanding of a complex issue in an engaging and informed manner. (PI6.2)

MI6.3 – Demonstate skill and creative experimentation, making appropriate use of materials, processes and technologies as relevant to your proposal.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

MP6.1 – Show curiosity to navigate complex and ambiguous issues to arrive at considered insights and propositions. (PP6.1)

MP6.2 – Justify your opinions and the decision-making that informs the framing and development of a design project. (PP6.3)

How will I be assessed?

The work submitted will be assessed in the following ways;

Formative feedback will be received from tutors and peers during studio and workshop sessions.

Tutorials and interim reviews will be timetabled at regular intervals during the project to provide a framework for progression of design practice and to support reflection and the development of propositions.

Feedback will be tailored to the stage of the project, e.g., initial feedback will be focused around the understanding of the problem space and broader context. As the project develops feedback will be more concerned with the definition of a design direction and refinement of potential solutions as concepts are developed and iterated.

Summative assessment

This module is assessed through completing a design project.

Exact deliverables will be clearly defined in the brief and may include a range of media including physical artefacts (eg. models, prototypes, mock-ups) as well as presentation materials (eg. printed presentation boards; digital presentations; video and animations).

Work will be assessed holistically against the learning outcomes with consideration of the brief and how well the student has understood the context, gathered and considered research material, developed creative solutions and communicated the proposal to an audience.


Level 5 modules



Module abstract

This module serves as an introduction to your studies in final year. You will be given a complex brief based on real-world issues. The outcomes of the project should add to your design portfolio and the project will further hone your design skills in readiness for tackling your Final Major Project.

In this module you will undertake a competition brief OR brief set by a collaborating organisation. These briefs will challenge your understanding and knowledge of design contexts, research methods, and your abilities to develop and communicate creative solutions to a high standard, preparing you for the challenges of the year ahead. They may also give you a chance to gain recognition for your work through shortlisting or be awarded a prize; a valuable addition to your CV/portfolio. Deliverables may be digital only (e.g., renders) or a combination of digital and physical (e.g., renders and models). You will be given specific guidance in the brief and advised by your peer tutor.

Course info

UCAS Code W245

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years Full Time

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

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.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy