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Master's Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design

Commitment to research is more necessary than ever when we consider the context of constant change in an increasingly complex social reality and the continuing depletion of natural resources. The design world also requires professionals who intend to reconsider this field from a critical perspective and assume social and ethical responsibility to achieve societal transformation.

  • Edition: 4th
  • Teaching period: From October 6th 2020 to July 2021. Final master's project presentation: July 2021.
  • Schedule: Monday to Thursday from 15:45 to 18:45
  • Modality: On site
  • Language: Spanish
  • Price: 9.900 €
  • Qualification: Master’s Degree in Research and Experimentation in Design awarded by UVic-UCC.
  • Credits: 60 ECTS


The aim of the Master's Degree in Design Research and Experimentation is to train researchers and design professionals who are able to develop projects focused on well-being and social transformation, from a critical and sustainable scientific perspective, and based on material, technological and conceptual experimentation.

This Official Master's Degree nurtures the skills students need to progress to a PhD programme and is positioned as a space in which knowledge and a critical mind can be developed, both with and from design, and on the basis of research, creative practice and ethical commitment. Moreover, the professional nature of the programme responds to the increasing demand for design professionals with more cross-disciplinary training, who are able to work with collaborative processes and see design as a tool for social transformation

As a result, this University Master's Degree is predominantly targeted at individuals who already possess an official university qualification in the disciplines of Design, Fine Arts or Architecture (*) and intend to research and also widen their professional domain to designing projects of a social nature.

This programme’s syllabus provides multidisciplinary training that encompasses research methodologies from disciplines hitherto unrelated to the profession, such as political and social sciences. These, alongside cultural studies and artistic research, make up the various subjects of which the master's degree is comprised and where theory and practice are combined, using the digital manufacturing workshop as a learning, experimentation and prototyping environment for producing research. This master's degree does not contemplate research without experimentation, concern for the political without concern for the sensitive, theory without technical creativity, or material experimentation without aesthetics.

(*) Acceptance of other university qualifications will also be assessed in accordance with the admission requirements. 


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 Design Research and Experimentation has a value of 60 ECTS: 36 ECTS of a compulsory nature, which must be earned by all students; 12 ECTS for the Final Project; and 30 ECTS of an optional nature of which only 12 ECTS must be earned by choosing two elective subjects (worth 6 ECTS each) from different modules.

* 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

This subject is made up of two compulsory modules worth 6 ECTS each:

Fiction, critical and speculative design and social innovation and collaborative design.

This subject views design as a practice with political and social implications that will be approached through practical projects and conceptual reflections. To this end, fiction or critical design are used as tools for stimulating applied speculation, and various forms of participatory and collaboration-based design are explored from a critical perspective.

  • Speculative design
  • Critical design
  • The role of fiction within design
  • Critique of social innovation
  • Participatory design
  • Open and collaborative design


Subject 2 - The social life of things

This subject is made up of two compulsory subjects worth 6 ECTS each:

Material cultures and design ecologies and Design, power and society.

Through various academic disciplines and their corresponding research methods, such as the social sciences and anthropology, research is carried out 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 and to address the relationship between design and power as a crucial issue. With this objective, the politics, ethics and aesthetics of objects are analysed.

  • Material cultures 
  • The ethics of design
  • Sustainable design
  • Values as project principles
  • Design, politics and power
  • Design and geopolitics of materials


Subject 3 - Methodologies of art research

This subject is made up of a single compulsory subject that is worth 6 ECTS: Research in art and design

In this subject, research is approached from the field of art and design, both from a conceptual and a practical dimension, and at the same time from theory and experience. The evolution of research methodologies throughout history is analysed providing an overview of practices in contemporary creation through a range of case studies that incorporate and intersect with various areas of knowledge.

  • Art and research
  • Contemporary methodologies in design
  • Artistic methods
  • Interconnections between knowledge areas
  • Hybrid practices


Subject 4 - Experimental methods

This subject is made up of two optative subjects worth 6 ECTS each: Investigation with data and Ethnographies and design.

This subject 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.

  • Databases as creative objects
  • Big data and its implications
  • The algorithmic design
  • The ethnographic method
  • Types of fieldwork
  • Ethnography as a critical and imaginative tool


Subject 5 - Design and manufacture of projects

This subject is made up of a single compulsory subject that is worth 6 ECTS. Manufacturing and prototyping

Understanding digital manufacturing also implies understanding the contexts of collaborative production where it occurs, the principles of the free culture that it is based on, and the techniques and methodologies designed for sharing and experimenting with these tools. Therefore, this subject ventures not only into the digital production workshops but also conducts a critical analysis of the maker phenomenon and digital manufacturing processes.

  • Digital manufacturing.
  • Advanced digital tools for design and manufacturing.
  • The maker phenomenon and its implications.
  • Learning communities and digital manufacturing.
  • Prototyping and material and technological experimentation cultures.
  • Laboratory for experimentation in objectual art.


Subject 6 - Design work tools

This subject is made up of three optional subjects worth 6 ECTS each: Design and Numeric control, Digital design or Internship.

This subject is divided into three areas with the aim of taking a closer look at the design tools used in the field of design and expanding knowledge of numerical control. Moreover, students have the opportunity to complete an internship at a renowned company from the field of professional design that works to provide a response to both the needs of the working world and the current social reality. 

  • Design and numerical control
  • Computational thinking and design
  • Laser cutting and digital milling machines
  • Digital Design
  • Digital controllers (e.g. Arduino)
  • Design and interaction


Subject 7 – Final Project

The compulsory Master’s Degree Final Project is worth 12 ECTS.

At the end of the master's degree programme, students must demonstrate that they have acquired the skills needed to lead research processes and design projects, while taking a critical position on current issues and responding to the needs of today's society. Therefore, every student must create a final project, with individual tutoring, that relates to their interests and motivations by employing the methods and tools used during the master's degree programme. 


  • 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

  • Multidisciplinary designer
  • Designer researcher
  • Design lecturer
  • Designer of research projects
  • Transitional designer
  • Consultant for environmental and sustainable design projects
  • Coordinator of digital creation and manufacturing laboratories
  • Coordinator of collaborative design projects
  • Cultural manager 

Payment methods

Total cost of the course: 9.900 €

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.

More information about scholarships and grants.

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