Visualising Global Challenges

Explore sustainable development issues within a specific community and create an art exhibit inspired 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

On this module you will explore the complex topic of international development through a real-world case study. You will focus on identifying the issues faced by the community, the key stakeholders and their varied perspectives on the problems.

You will use the insight gained from your research to begin conceptual development through sketching and self-directed artistic experimentation. You will be asked to create a mood board presenting your ideas at the end of the first term. Ultimately, you will go on to produce a piece of artwork for display in an exhibition curated by your class.

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.


This module will be delivered online making full use of our virtual classroom. Each session will be highly interactive including activities, discussion and close interaction with your peers and teachers. To understand more about how we teach online interactively, visit the Change Makers Online Learning page.

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/Development – look at different definitions and identify the perspectives to which they relate.
  • Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) – use visual methods to analyse a case study, identify key stakeholders and world views, and spheres of power and influence.
  • Use a sketchbook to develop techniques and concepts integral to your final art piece.
  • Create a ‘mood board’ to represent the latest conceptual developments before starting on the final piece.
  • Create your own artwork for display in a class exhibition.
  • 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.

"I love making art and expressing concepts and challenges in a creative, abstract way. Medicine doesn't leave a lot of free time for it though, so it was brilliant to have an excuse to spend time on art!"
"It was a stress relief during a week packed with lectures to do something I enjoy as a hobby but applying that for a meaningful cause."
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."