Specialization ‘Awareness & Culture’

Description and Learning Goals

We live in an epoch where the complexity of the world has never been at such a high level and is still increasing at a fast pace. Any recent snapshot of the planet displays a kaleidoscope of human activities that are not simply interconnected, they are interdependent and strongly influence each other. Policy making, global economics, technological development, energy transition, ecological impact on the planet, poverty, and human health are all part of the same issue.

Yet, progress can only be achieved by educating specialists, from doctors to engineers, as science and technology have also become extremely complex.

However, one of the strongest drawbacks of an exclusive specialist approach to technical education is that specialists tend to transform a human or societal problem into a technical problem for which they will try to find a solution. Such an approach could potentially be limited and, therefore, appropriate solutions to technical problems could easily create new social problems (i.e. exclusion) or even worse personal problems such as new diseases or new safety issues, ironically threatening those for whom the solutions were aimed at. A better understanding of how citizens and societies are immersed in such an interdependent complex world is therefore necessary for all specialists who will one day develop long lasting technological solutions.

The specialisation Awareness and Culture provides an opportunity to fill this gap, proposing a trajectory through Art and Culture, where students will gain awareness on the impact of technology on society and on the world itself. Students will better understand their importance and responsibility not only as professionals, but also as citizens of a strongly interconnected world where their leadership, empathy and critical thinking can play decisive roles to shape the future. In order to trig personal engagement and gain of awareness on complex societal issues, the specialisation makes use of a learning method that we name Art-Embedded learning. Such a method incorporates key moments of what is called Transformative Learning and has the advantage to provide the grounds for a stronger connection between the students with themselves, others and society as a whole.

The specialisation is composed by four courses of 5ECTS each, each one exhibiting its own approach and involvement level with Art. The specialisation consists of:

Art, Empathy & Ethics: Under the guidance of professional artists and making art as a contemporary   artist, you will develop your own original ethical debatable question coupled to a final art project. The course is embedded in Visual and Performing Arts, group (ethical) discussions and weekly individual and art assignments. The theme of this year is “Connectivity”.

Matter of Art: Working in mixed groups with art students from the Interfaculty Art & Science of the Royal Academy of Arts (The Hague) you will be challenged to set unforeseen requirements to new materials or new technologies, focusing on the multiple interpretations, importance and impact of new technologies. This year, we will focus on the interdependence of our species, technologies, economies and activities to the biosphere. The course is embedded in Conceptual Art.

The Laboratory of Science Fiction: The course focuses upon the very frontiers of life science and technology, and the (re-)definition of what it means to be human. It is embedded in various Art Media related to Science Fiction and Literature (creative writing) as students will create their own Science-Fiction narrative. Through the writing process, critical reflection, ethical debates and philosophical theory, students investigate (future) moral and existential issues that may arise as a result of emerging technologies.

Bildung: This is a cultural and questioning journey where students are encouraged to explore and deepen the potency of their individual interests and natural talents to become an open-minded resilient young professional. Students are challenged to think beyond the field of engineering to create their own vision on engineering and personal life in a dynamically changing society. Embedded in Culture through Art, the course includes a cultural immersive trip.

Enrolment & Selection Procedure 

The number of places in the ‘Awareness & Culture’ specialization (HAC) is limited. In total, there are approximately 200 BSc students who join the Honours Programme Bachelor each year. However, there are  only 20 places available for this Specialization! HPB students look to participate in the full specialization will be selected by a committee of professors and educational support staff. Additionally, limited spaces are also available on individual HAC courses for HPB students, who want to obtain (part of) their 5 ECTS interfaculty, and PhD students, who would like to participate as part of their Doctoral Education.

If you are not following the ‘Awareness & Culture’ Specialization but would like to take one or more courses for the interfaculty part of your Honours Programme, you can do so by applying for the selection procedure for the individual courses. Details regarding the selection procedure can be found on the respective course its page in the Study Guide, the HPB Brightspace page, or by contacting the staff members below..


Curious? Would you like additional information?
Then please contact Eduardo Mendes (E.Mendes@tudelft.nl) and Marlijn Helder (M.Helder@tudelft.nl).