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Master's degree in research and experimentation in design

Official Master's degree with access to doctoral programs that trains professional designers capable of developing projects oriented to well-being and social transformation from a critical and sustainable scientific perspective, and based on material, technological and conceptual experimentation.

  • Edition: 3rd
  • Teaching period: From October 2nd 2019 to June 2020. Final master's project presentation: July 2020.
  • Schedule: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 15:45 to 18:45 h
  • Modality: On site
  • Language: Spanish
  • Price: 9.600 €
  • Qualification: Master’s Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design awarded by UVic-UCC.
  • Credits: 60 ECTS


In the field of Design, overlapping theoretical and practical knowledge offer a unique perspective into how we consider the present and speculate on possible futures. The Master's Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design is committed to the most innovative methodologies of research, both from and with design, offering transdisciplinary training that responds to the growing demand for professionals who are capable of working in open, collaborative processes with a forward-looking and transformative vocation.

This Master's Degree, which combines theory and practice, is structured as a sequence of subjects that provide us with scenarios, arguments and specific questions to work on. With guidance through each subject from outstanding lecturers and professionals, perspectives are added organically and skills, knowledge and tools are progressively acquired from experimental and collaborative environments such as Medialabs, Fablabs and artistic creation workshops, along with research methods from the arts, social sciences, science and technology studies, as well as cultural, decolonial and feminist studies. This Master's Degree does not recognise research without experimentation; concern for the political without concern for the sensitive; or theory without technical imagination, material experimentation and aesthetics.

In its field, the Master's Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design is notable for its professionalising focus and, at the same time, providing the research tools that are required to allow students to subsequently enter into doctoral programmes. This Master’s Degree is worth 60 ECTS credits, the total that is required to register for a doctoral thesis.


The main objectives of this course are focused on training professionals in a way that enables them to develop design projects that will result in the sustainable transformation of the environments in which we live from a critical and grounded standpoint; projects that are always based on strict research processes and guided by material, technological and conceptual experimentation. Students will gain knowledge of various research methods, they will learn to use manufacturing and digital prototyping tools, and they will explore the frameworks of contemporary thought to enable them to devise high-level personal projects. Inspired by free culture and open design, the professional practice we propose is specifically aimed at heterogeneous, multi-disciplinary and collaborative work contexts.


The Master’s Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design is structured around a common compulsory part worth 36 ECTS, plus the Final Project worth 12 ECTS credits, and an optional part worth 30 ECTS, of which students need to complete 12 ECTS by choosing two optional modules (worth 6 ECTS each) from different areas.

* From the Experimental Methods subject, one of the following two optional modules must be completed: Investigation with Data or Ethnographies and Design.
** From the Tools and Design Work subject, one of the following three optional modules must be completed: Design and Numeric Control, Digital Design or Internship.


Compulsory subject credits: 36 ECTS
Optional subject credits: 12 ECTS
Final Project credits: 12 ECTS
Total credits: 60 ECTS


Subject I – Strategies and Policies of Design

The Design Strategies and Policies subject is made up of two modules that place particular emphasis on the use of fiction or critical design as tools for stimulating applied speculation. The phenomenon of social innovation is approached from a critical perspective, and various forms of participatory and collaboration-based design are explored. Design is viewed as a practice with political and social implications that will be approached through practical projects and conceptual reflections. This subject is made up of two compulsory modules worth 6 ECTS each:

Fiction, Critical and Speculative Design 

In this course we are going to explore the roles of fiction, speculation and play in the creation of new narrative materials related to current problems. We shall develop fiction-prototypes and outline scenarios which could produce something palpable from the questions, and could express political, social or personal preoccupations.

Social Innovation and Collaborative Design

Why this boom in social innovation? What current practices are regarded as social innovations, and why? In which fields are they being applied, and what is their real potential for social transformation? In this course, by combining theory and practice, we are going to answer these questions and learn about various processes of social innovation and collaborative design, starting from their definitions and the social, political and institutional framework which make them possible.

  • Introduction to speculative design
  • Critical design
  • Design of diegetic objects
  • The role of fiction within design
  • Ontology related to the object
  • Archaeology of the future
  • Utopias and dystopias in art and design
  • Critique of social innovation
  • Participatory design
  • Open and collaborative design
  • Free culture and design
  • Repositories and tools for open design
  • Design with affected communities

Subject II - The social life of things

The Social Life of Things introduces students to several academic disciplines from which it is possible to research from and with design. The fundamentals of the so-called material cultures are also established so that design can be understood from a complex perspective, through the exploration of its production and consumption circuits. By analysing the politics, ethics and aesthetics of objects we will observe their own biographies and the cycles they go through. This, alongside an introduction to the social studies of science and technology, anthropology, and cultural studies, will lay the foundations of a common theoretical basis. This subjects is made up of two compulsory modules worth 6 ECTS each:

Material Cultures and Design Ecologies 

In this course we are going to discover how we can perform research with design objects, and how these can easily be converted into epistemic vehicles and ‘probing’ objects through which to question our various ways of life. Through experiments and examples, we shall show the social life which objects have, and how they, too, can have ‘biographies’. This will enable us to understand how (design) objects are subject to transformation and cycles of value through their various trajectories and routes, and how the economics of design is not necessarily restricted to the production of consumer goods.

Design, Power and Society 

In what sense does the design of an interface influence the use of an object or the way in which users of an online platform interact? In architecture and urbanism, when analysing the design of experiences and products, we see how design and power are closely related concepts. This subject explores said relationship from a dual perspective: on the one hand, as an activity through which we shape and materialise certain perceptions of the world; and on the other, as a practice that acquires meaning and form from specific social, political and ethical conditions. Taking Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the works of Michel Foucault as a starting point, we will approach these two aspects of design as a social activity and analyse their relationships with power.

  • Introduction to material cultures
  • Policies of objects
  • Recycling and repurposing
  • The social life of things
  • Social studies of science and technology
  • Economy of art and design
  • Circular design
  • Socio-technical controversies
  • Actor-network theory and design
  • The construction of audiences
  • Research through design
  • Probing objects

Subject III – Methodologies of art research 

This subject has just one compulsory module, Research in Art and Design worth 6 ECTS, which presents various methods for researching art and design in a practical and effective way. The selection ranges from traditional methods for artistic research to methodologies for exploring digital media, while also looking at ethnography, visualisation, working with bulk data and experimentation through collaborative processes. The foundations of thorough research conducted with and from design are established.

Research in art and design 

In this course, we are going to explore, in depth, this interchange between artistic practices and social investigation, concentrating both on methodology and on theory, and reviewing the use of certain concepts: experimentation, laboratory, participation, collaboration, project, process, prototype, object.

  • Art and research
  • Cultures of laboratories
  • Research in and from design
  • Diagrammatic and methodological objects
  • Inventive methods

Subject IV - Experimental Methods

This subject is divided into two optional modules that are each worth 6 ECTS. It aims to take a closer look at practical research methods in design. Students can opt for a module in which research is based on data, where they will explore various methods of visualisation, working with mass databases, big data, and working with digital environments. Or they can opt for an alternative module, which will provide them with the foundations they need to build creative ethnographies by exploring a territory, mapping, and learning how to be sensitive to the environment.

Investigating with data 

The use of data in project practice calls for a review of the systems for producing goods and services. The open code facilitates the participation of the general public in the design of complex systems. The object of study within this subject is emblematic projects which move between activism, network systems for public use, and products which lead to new forms of consumption.

Ethnographies and design 

Far from assuming that research is a process which is objective, aseptic, disciplined and scientific, this course aims to explore experimental methodologies which are able to put into play the methods used by different areas of the field of knowledge, inside and outside the university, in order to investigate a reality which is complex and multi-dimensional.

  • Visualisations
  • Databases as creative objects
  • Big data and its implications
  • Information and privacy
  • Analysis and quantitative research
  • The ethnographic method
  • Qualitative research
  • Dérives and psychogeographies
  • Participatory observation
  • Artistic methods

Subject V - Design and manufacture of projects

Understanding the paradigm of digital manufacturing involves not only learning the workings of 3D printers, basic programming, electronics or Arduino and other tools for working with interaction; it also involves understanding the collaborative production contexts from which it originates, the principles of free culture on which it is based, and the forms and methodologies designed for sharing and experimenting with these tools. This subject delves into this reality and introduces its technical foundations and performs a critical analysis of the maker phenomenon and digital manufacturing processes. It is developed through a single compulsory module that is worth 6 ECTS.

Manufacturing and prototyping 

This course starts from a view of the workshop as a complex learning, experimentation and prototyping environment for generating objects, devices and operational equipment. The workshop space, the processes we work with, the tools used and the agents that make use of this space allow the designer not only to realise their project, but also to position their research from, with and through objects. To this end, we will visit and assess a variety of workshops and manufacturing environments that operate in interesting scenarios. Within this environment, digital manufacturing techniques and criteria will be introduced into the framework of the various complex contemporary scenarios that use the design object as a vehicle and/or spring.

  • Experimenting with the manufacturing workshop as a space for collaborative production
  • Learning digital manufacturing techniques and tools (hardware and software) from a critical perspective
  • Design, prototyping and manufacturing of devices with the corresponding techniques and tools
  • The maker phenomenon and its implications
  • Prototyping and experimentation cultures
  • Learning and digital manufacturing communities
  • Object experimentation lab
  • Management of projects and materials

Subject VI - Design work tools

With the aim of taking a closer look at design tools, this subject is divided into three optional modules, each worth 6 ECTS, of which one must be chosen: Design and Numeric Control, Digital Design or the completion of an internship in a professional environment or a research study. This gives students the opportunity to acquire comprehensive knowledge of the most common tools for design work in the contemporary professional environment.

Design and Numerical Control 

This course covers the emancipatory and training opportunities of the maker philosophy to create learning environments where participants can acquire advanced knowledge of design and numerical control through shared experimentation with digital manufacturing tools focused on realising their projects.

Digital Design 

Today's technological developments make it inevitable that our design projects will be intercepted by electronics, programming, algorithms and networking. Expressions such as connected objects, the Internet of Things (IOT) and physible objects, digitally designed and built using 3D manufacturing technologies, are in common use nowadays and show the intimate connection between the atoms and bits that define our reality.


As an alternative to the elective subjects—with an equivalent goal—, students will have the opportunity to work at a renowned company within the professional design and digital manufacturing sector; a process that culminates with the production of a written report on the educational work that was carried out in the context of employment.

  • Computational thinking and design
  • Laser cutting
  • Digital milling machines
  • Digital design
  • Digital controllers (e.g. Arduino)
  • Multimedia design software (e.g. Processing)
  • Design and interaction

Subject VII – Final Project (TFM)

The Master’s Degree Final Project, worth 12 ECTS, is the framework for a supervised process that aims to enable every student to develop a personal project that integrates the methods and tools acquired over the course of the master’s degree programme.

The Master’s Degree Final Project will be carried out individually and must include and demonstrate the preparatory research process through the application of the methodologies encountered over the course of the master’s degree, and also by showing that the student is able to effectively and creatively develop design projects by taking a critical stance towards the problems of today.

  • Drafting of the proposal
  • Preparation of the project dossier
  • Realisation of prototypes and projects
  • Planning
  • Presentation and justification of the project


  • Formulating design proposals that integrate research and experimentation processes in accordance with the paradigms of contemporary design.
  • Applying methodologies of ethnographic research, both speculative and based on data to execute design projects of various natures.
  • Executing, prototyping and manufacturing of objects and design projects through the operation of numerical control and digital design tools and technologies.
  • Analysing the properties and behaviour of materials in order to use them appropriately and innovatively in design processes and projects.
  • Critical consideration of innovation and social transformation, participation and collaborative design, and other paradigms of contemporary design to facilitate the resolution of problems within the field of design.
  • Designing services, processes and objects that will provide solutions through the principles of open design and its fields of circulation.
  • Using the software specific to design by taking into account its applications and repercussions, both in the field of professional design and the field of research.
  • Understanding and valuing the political economy of art and design and identifying its value cycles, the social life of objects, consumption cycles and recycling in a changing social and economic context.
  • Applying the strategies of fiction and speculative design, using diegetic prototypes and provoking thought through design as an epistemic object.
  • Considering the material cultures of design and the many related traditions (philosophy, anthropology, cultural studies…) to conduct research through their objects and materials.
  • Managing the multiple work processes involved in the practice of design and integrating elements of research and experimentation. 


Guest teachers

Dr Julia R. Blanco

Julia is a Historian and art critic. She is currently a researcher for the Juan de la Cierva programme (National Programme for the Promotion of Talent and Its Employability) and a lecturer in the Department of Art History at the University of Barcelona. She has a PhD in History of Art which produced the European doctoral thesis Utopias artísticas del mundo contemporáneo (1989-2012). Arte, movimientos sociales y utopía en Europa Occidental (2015) (Artistic utopias of the contemporary world. Art, social movements and utopia in Western Europe).

Carla Boserman

Carla is a Graduate of Fine Arts from the University of Seville with a Master’s Degree in Digital Communication, Culture and Citizenship from the Rey Juan Carlos I University in Madrid.

She is one of the founders of Robocicla and is part of the Arquitecturas Colectivas network. She is currently a lecturer in the art department at BAU Design College of Barcelona, and also collaborates with the Objetologías research group.

Alicia Kopf

Alicia is a multidisciplinary Catalan writer and artist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, and graduated in Literature Theory and Comparative Literature from the University of Barcelona (2010). She works with video, writing and drawing, and is also a lecturer on the Communication Degree at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). As a novelist, her most notable novel is Hermano de hielo (Brother in ice) which was published in 2016 and won the Ojo Crítico Award in the same year.

Laia Forné Aguirre

Laia is an advisor to the Participation and Districts Area of the Barcelona City Council.

Mauro Castro

Mauro is an Economist and a member of La Hidra Cooperativa and the Fundación de los Comunes network.

Carles Baiges

Carles works as an architect and is a member of the LaCol architects cooperative.

Dr Irene Sabaté

Researcher and lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Barcelona. Member of the Estudis sobre Reciprocitat Group (GER). Lecturer of Economic and Urban Anthropology on the Anthropology degree at the University of Barcelona. PhD in Anthropology from the University of Barcelona.

Dr Laura Benítez

Laura has a PhD in Philosophy from the UAB for which she produced a thesis on the relationship between artistic practices and biotechnologies. She is also a lecturer on the Master’s Degree in Art and Design Research at EINA School of Design.

Colectivo MAKEA

A non-profit social and educational entity that operates between the worlds of Open Design and Reuse. www.makeatuvida.net

Dr Lucía Egaña

Lucía is a Chilean artist, writer and transfeminist who lives in Barcelona. She has studied Fine Arts, Aesthetics and Documentary and has a PhD in Audiovisual Communication. She is a member of the faculty that is responsible for the academic direction of MACBA's Independent Studies Programme. She organises the Muestra Marrana Festival and is part of the minipimer.tv, Real Archivo Sudaca and Cooperativa de Técnicas collectives.

Dr Elisenda Ardévol

Elisenda has a PhD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and is a lecturer of Social and Cultural Anthropology in the Arts and Humanities Department of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She is currently participating in the Information and Knowledge Society Master’s Degree and is also involved with the following Master’s Degree courses: ‘Theory and Practice of the Creative Documentary’ at the UAB and ‘Visual Anthropology’ at the UB.

Pau Cata

Pau is a researcher, curator and coordinator of CeRCCa, NACMM_North Africa Cultural Mobility Map, KIBRIT and the HARAKAT Platform.

Mar Medina

Mar is a dancer and interpreter who studied at Movement Research in New York and with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company. She is a graduate of Art History from the University of Barcelona. She collaborates with both independent and institutional projects like INFRA- (Jara Rocha/Ester Jordana), MovLab, Performing the Museum (Fundació Antoni Tàpies), MAMBO (Teatron) and La Poderosa.

Rosa Pera

Rosa is an independent curator who has worked with the state's leading contemporary art institutions, including the Antoni Tàpies Foundation, MACBA, CaixaForum and the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art. She is an art historian from the University of Barcelona. She has been the director of Bòlit Girona and the Master’s Degree in Design and Exhibition Project Management at the Elisava school of design

Matteo Guidi

Mateo is an artist and anthropologist who works as a Sociology of Communication lecturer at the University of Urbino. He is a member of the A/A (Artist/Anthropology) Network and the Co.Mo.Do (Comunicare Moltiplica Doveri) cooperative. 

Dr Debora Lanzeni

Debora is an anthropologist with a Master’s Degree in Political Anthropology from the University of Buenos Aires. She is a researcher at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and a member of the Mediaccions Digital Culture Research Group. She also has a PhD in Information and Knowledge Society. 

Dr Péter Dunajcsik (Maxigas)

A member of the OSI (Open Science and Innovation Research Group), Peter has a PhD from IN3 – UOC (the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute) for which he wrote the thesis Peer Production of Open Hardware: Unfinished Artefacts and Architectures in the Hackerspaces.

Joan Maroto

Joan is an Architect. He has a Master’s Degree in the Theory and Practice of the Architecture Project (MTPPA-ETSAB/UPC). He is a doctoral student and a researcher in the Pedagogy and Design area at Gredits. He is also the tutor of the Digital Manufacturing Workshop at the Bau.

Blanca Pujals

Blanca is an architect from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and has a Master's Degree in Critical Theory and Museum Studies from MACBA's Independent Studies Programme, tutored by the philosopher Paul B. Preciado. Blanca also has a Postgraduate Degree from the Centre for Research Architecture (Visual Cultures Department) at Goldsmiths, University of London, under the direction of Eyal Weizman and Susan Schuppli. Her practice is based on spatial research and critical analysis.

Camila Maggi

Founder of La Residencia CC, participates in events and teaches workshops on digital culture, bodies, free software and common. He collaborates with 'Autofabricantes' in Medialab Prado and with 'Malaria Spot' in the UPM designing a printable retinograph in 3D. She also works as a tutor in "Teen Makers" and is part of the 'Experimenta District' team as urban cultural mediator of the pilot project 'Experimenta Villaverde'.


Micol Rispoli

Degree in Architecture from the Federico II University of Naples and Master's Degree in Contemporary Art Comisariado by the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) of Rome (Italy). PhD candidate in Philosophical Sciences (specializing in Philosophy of the Architectural Interior) at the Federico II University of Naples. She has participated as a speaker in international conferences and workshops and she has worked as a member of the "Design for Conflict Heritage" research group at the Milan Polytechnic.


Regina de Miguel

Artist, writer and researcher, resident in Berlin. To develop her work as an artist from a critical and interdisciplinary agency in processes and convergences focused on the production of hybrid objects and knowledge. She has exhibited at Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin; Funkhaus, Berlin; NC Arte, Bogotá; Extra City, Antwerp; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; La Capella, Barcelona; Kunsthalle Sao Paulo; Musac, lion; Gaswork, London; steirischer herbst gmbh festival, Graz or Maisterravalbuena Gallery, Madrid. At the same time it is carrying out pedagogical work in the form of workshops or conferences.

Career Opportunities

  • Designer
  • Researcher
  • Graphic producer
  • Designer of platforms and digital interfaces
  • Design lecturer
  • Coordinator of digital creation and manufacturing laboratories
  • Information and data visualisation designer
  • Coordinator of collaborative design projects
  • Designer of research projects
  • Designer of interactive projects
  • Cultural manager

Payment methods

Total cost of the course: 9600 €

Payment methods

BAU, Design College of Barcelona offers different terms of payment:

  • Single payment: attracts a 3% discount
  • Part payment, in three installments:
    • 1st payment consisting of 40 % of the fees on enrollment
    • 2nd payment consisting of 30% of the fees before November 5th
    • 3rd payment consisting of 30 % of the fees before January 5th

Former students of BAU benefit from 10% discount on any of the courses. A former student of BAU is a student who, not being registered in the current academic year, has exceeded 50% of the credits for a Degree, Higher Degree in Design or the BAU Nit (BAU Evening); or 100% of the credits for any of the Master’s or Postgraduate degrees.

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