Visualising Global Challenges

Explore sustainable development issues within a specific community and design an art exhibit that considers the complexities of the issues faced by that community

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Years
  • Mondays 16.00-18.00
  • 2-term module worth 5 ECTS
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

This module offers you the chance to explore the complex topic of international development with a detailed real-world case study analysis. You will focus on communication both within the community and from the development community.

You will then use the insight gained from your research to begin conceptual development through sketching and self-directed artistic experimentation. Ultimately, you will go on to produce an art exhibit that will be presented on campus.

You will have a large amount of freedom to focus on the aspects of international development or case study that you are most interested in. In response to student feedback, this module will be taught collaboratively - meaning that you will be working alongside other students who are studying the same community, but from different perspectives. Specifically, you will work with students studying Global Village: Innovation Challenge, thereby facilitating a substantial cross-pollination of ideas.

Information blocks

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module you will be better able to:

  • Understand the complexity of trying to define development or poverty, and the implications this has for planning interventions.
  • Use soft systems methodology to explore a case study community and identify issues that could be addressed.
  • Critically evaluate the complexities of communicating topics like international development, including the use of imagery to communicate additional meaning.
  • Research and then articulate a variety of different perspectives held by stakeholders in a local community in a foreign country.
  • Create a representational piece of art work to communicate issues related to the case study community, drawing on perspectives from disciplines and cultures that might be new to you.
  • Plan, monitor and review your progress as an independent learner acknowledging the value of your own unique contributions to both individual and group work.


Indicative core content

kibera project exhibit

  • Defining Poverty/International Development – look at different definitions of poverty and identify the perspectives to which they relate; look at how different definitions exclude different groups of people from being identified as experiencing poverty.
  • Boundary Critique – use boundary critique to tackle complex real-world situations.
  • Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) – use SSM techniques to analyse a case study of poverty, identify key stakeholders and world views, and spheres of power and influence.
  • Investigate and evaluate various communication models used to communicate issues related to international development.

  • Use a sketchbook to develop techniques and concepts integral to a final art piece.
  • Create a ‘mood board’ to represent the latest conceptual developments before starting on the final art piece.
  • Contribute to a Gallery Guide for the exhibition of your artwork.


  • Practical: Rich Pictures with Team Video Summary (20%)
  • Practical: Conceptual Designs - Sketchbook and Mood Board (15%)
  • Practical: Final Exhibition Artwork (50%)
  • Coursework: Final Exhibit Report (15%)

Key information

  • You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes preparation for classes and assignments, wider reading and guided research relevant to the module.
  • Sufficient time will be set aside for all assessments to be completed in-class.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]

My Journey

Case studies have previously focused on East Timor, Viet Nam, Cameroon, Peru, Kenya and India.  Past exhibits have included drawings, paintings, animations and sculpture.

See more exhibits from previous students.

"The course has been extremely enjoyable. I have learnt a large variety of skills and have a deeper insight into the Lobitos community in Peru."
"The experience of exhibiting my work was hugely valuable to me."