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IM946 - Advanced Visualisation Labs

20/30 CATS

Module Outline

The Advanced Visualisation Design Labs module develops students’ independence in visualisation design, development, analysis and critique, through the development of three visualisation projects which further advance students’ portfolio of work. Each project will focus on a visualisation challenge drawn from methodological, societal, scientific and policy topics, with at least one of the challenges driven by a real-world problem proposed by an external partner. Students will develop their response to a project brief through hands-on workshops that enable students to learn-by-doing, and allow students to expand their design and technical skills in dialogue with their methodological and critical understanding. Master classes will expand student's methodological and technical repertoire in areas such as human-centred design, typography, storytelling, stencilling, and digital cartography. Students will examine their designs as prototypes and probes, and reflect on designing as a means to create, but also as a means to apply and interrogate theory, knowledge and methods. In combination with the curation of their portfolios, students will develop their own design manifesto which puts their methodological and aesthetic approaches, and final outcomes, in relation with design norms and ethics, and visual cultures and style.

Module Convenor
Greg McInerny
For 20 CATS
  • 30% Design Manifesto, 1,200 words;
  • 70% Portfolio, 1,000 words.
For 30 CATS
  • 20% Design Manifesto, 1,200 words;
  • 80% Portfolio, 1,500 words.
Indicative Syllabus

Week 1 - Introduction to Challenge I, Mini Lecture, Discussion & Design Lab

Week 2 - Master Class & Design Lab

Week 3 - Peer Feedback and Design Lab

Week 4 - Introduction to Challenge II, Mini Lecture, Discussion & Design Lab

Week 5 - Master Class & Design Lab

Week 6 - Peer Feedback and Design Lab

Week 7 - Introduction to Challenge III, Mini Lecture, Discussion & Design Lab

Week 8 - Master Class & Design Lab

Week 9 - Peer Feedback and Design Lab

Week 10 - Portfolio & Design Manifesto Presentations

Indicative Reading List

Bertin, J. (2010). Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams, Networks, Maps. Esri Press.

Bigelow, A. Drucker, S. Fisher, D. & Meyer, M. (2014) Reactions on how designers design with data. Proceedings of AVI., 17–24. ACM 2014.

Brinton, WC. (1939). Graphical Presentation. The Engineering Magazine Co., New York.

Drucker, J. (2020). Visualization and Interpretation: Humanistic Approaches to Display. MIT Press.

Flusser, V. (2013) Toward a Philosophy of Photography. Reaktion Books.

Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking Design Thinking: Part I. Design and Culture. (3:3), 285-306.

Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking Design Thinking: Part II. Design and Culture. (4:2), 29-148

Lim, Y. Stolterman, E. & Tenenberg, J. (2008) The anatomy of prototypes: Prototypes as filters, prototypes as manifestations of design ideas. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 15(2), 1-27.

Meirelles, I. (2014). Design for Information - An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations. Rockport.

Meyer, M. Dykes, J. (2020). Criteria for Rigor in Visualization Design Study. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings of InfoVis 2019), 26(1), 2020.

Offenhuber, D. (2020). Data by Proxy — Material Traces as Autographic Visualizations. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 98-108, doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2019.2934788.

Reas, C. and McWilliams, C. (2010). Form+Code in Design, Art, and Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press.

Rogers, J., Patton, A.H. Harmon, L., Lex, A. and Meyer, M., 2020. Insights From Experiments With Rigor in an EvoBio Design Study. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.

Sedlmair, M. Meyer, M. & Munzner, T. (2012) Design Study Methodology: Reflections from the Trenches and the Stacks. IEEE Trans. Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proc. InfoVis), 18(12), 2431-2440.

Learning Outcomes

• Demonstrate an understanding of visualisation practices in terms of ethics, aesthetics, methods and contemporary debates.

• Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse visualisation practices in terms of theory, methods, materials and technologies.

• Explain visualisation as an interdisciplinary subject.

• Evaluate own practice within the interdisciplinarity of visualisation.

• Create visualisations through code and other materials.

• Demonstrate an ability to research and develop projects from an initial brief.

• Evaluate visualisations and prototypes in terms of users/audiences, and tasks/affordances.

• Understand and demonstrate the core skills required to create effective visualisations.

• Demonstrate an appreciation of prototypes and design processes in developing visualisations.

• Demonstrate a critical approach to visualisation that introduces concepts and theory within methodological approaches and development of techniques.

Important Registration Information:

CIM Students

  • You will need to make your optional module choices using the degree specific CIM module webform available in the CIM welcome page. All further instructions will be available to you on the webform.

  • The webform opens on Monday 12th September at 12:00 noon BST and closes on Monday 19th September at 12:00 noon BST

  • Gheerdhardhini (CIM PG Coordinator) will register you for your chosen modules, confirming your place in the module by 30th September, Friday.

  • If there are any queries, please get in touch with Gheerdhardhini via 

External Students

  • Computer Science – Please register your interest in the CIM module with the PG Administrator in your home department - 

  • Psychology - Your PG Administrator will be in touch before Term 1 about registering interest for CIM modules

  • All other external students - Please contact the CIM PG Coordinator (Gheerdhardhini) via email (, to request your optional module choice at the latest by Week 1 : Wednesday, 5th October, 17.00 BST.


  • Please be advised that you may be expected to have access to a laptop for some of these courses due to software requirements; the Centre is unable to provide a laptop for external students.

  • Please be advised that some modules may have restricted numbers and places are allocated according to availability and inter-departmental arrangements.

  • Please note that a request does NOT guarantee a place on the module and is subject to availability.

  • Gaining permission of a member of CIM teaching staff or a member of staff from your home department or filling in the eVision Module Registration (eMR) system with the desired module does NOT guarantee a place on that module.

  • Requests after the specified deadline will not be considered.

  • For external students - Only after confirmation of a place from CIM PG Coordinator can students’ or their home departments confirm their registration on eVision/MRM. Registrations by students who have not received confirmation of a place from CIM will be rejected via the system.

NOTE – The above-mentioned registration deadline also applies to the CIM optional modules running in Term 2. We will consider registrations again in the first week of Term 2, but only in relation to modules where there is availability.

We are normally unable to allow students (registered or auditing) to join/leave the module after the second week of it commencing.