Criticality Course sequence on PhD and master levels

Last changed: 31 August 2022

The PhD Criticality Course series examines the phenomenon of critique, the place of criticism, and the role of critical thinking in developing sustainable urban environments.  Each course assembles a select group of students drawn from different European countries, with diverse backgrounds (such as engineering, literary studies, environmental science, public process facilitation, urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and more). Centred around a core seminar, participants engage in preparatory reading and writing, and submit a final paper incorporating inputs from seminar discussions into their ongoing PhD research. Students at all stages of PhD study are welcomed.

The two-day intensive core seminar provides participants opportunity to closely engage with theoretical texts using rhetorical précis to guide discussion on the practice and place of criticism in academic and professional contexts. They present and analyse sample critiques, and apply insights from those analyses to their own critical writing practice. Lectures on the critical writing and critical thinking practices for researchers provide a backdrop for student-led discussions exploring the impact of disciplinary formation (habits of mind) on critical positioning.

The master level Criticality Course can adapt to the educational frameworks of various programmes. So far, it has been deployed in collaboration with the MAP landscape master at ETSAB Barcelona and the urban design master at UBA FADU Buenos Aires (a Linneaus Palme Partnership between SLU Landscape and UBA FADU). A three-week intensive studio format precedes the academic term at the end of which the students submit a final paper or project. The core seminar includes introductory theory lectures, common reading and discussion of theoretical literature and sample critiques, field studies and archive perusal, desk crits, mid-term an end-term presentations.

PhD Courses

  • CRITICALITY IN, ON AND FOR DESIGN - Towards an understanding of criticism in landscape architecture and urban design  (2018)

  • CRITICALITY BEYOND DISCIPLINARITY - Working knowledge(s) in, of and for design  (2019)

  • CRITICALITY IN RESEARCH/CRITICALITY IN PRAXIS- Knowledge tools for designing urban futures (2020 and 2022)

Course syllabi on request from course leaders Andrea Kahn and Lisa Diedrich.

Masters Courses

Related pages:


Lisa Diedrich, Professor

The Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, SLU, +46 40-41 54 24