Using History: Creative Practice and the Historical Imagination
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
Department: DO NOT USE
Course Number: PLDS 3012
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Design History, Theory & Criticism
  • History
This class approaches history as a source of imaginative and critical inquiry for artists and designers. Students will embark on their own semester-long creative project that engages visual and/or narrative history. We will examine the creative strategies of contemporary artists, designers and writers whose work re-examines historical representation. Students will assemble (and possibly re-purpose) historical information, interviews, objects, articles, materials, images and historical data of all sorts into their own research archive. The semester will be staged to address the practicalities of historical research in the context of creative practice. Topics include: defining research area(s), identifying historical research methodologies most useful to a student’s particular artistic approach and subject area, locating appropriate historical sources for the student’s project (these may include photographs, films, primary and secondary literature, archives, and museum exhibits to name but a few), and posing critical questions about that material or source. Critical examination will go hand in hand with experimentation as students propose parallel, alternative or reconstructed “uses” of history.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.


Open to Undergraduate students.