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NSCAD University adds new online course in Material Culture

NSCAD University has added to its already substantial list of online courses for the summer 2020 semester.
The latest course added to the art, design, and craft school’s online catalogue is Intro to Material Culture (CULT 2300). Instructor Melanie Wilmink will help students examine both every day and aesthetic materials to consider how place, social conventions, object design, history, and economics all affect the meaning we apply to the things around us.

A full course description reads:

Objects are embedded with numerous values and meanings, both inherent to the thing, and applied by other entities through interactions. Because objects cannot speak, it requires human intervention and interpretation to tease apart these layers of meaning, and to understand the cultural context that enables them. Meanings may interweave with one another, or conflict, and it is up to the users of these objects to understand, reconcile, and communicate these complex influences. This online seminar class introduces the field of material culture and prompts interdisciplinary reflection about the historical and contemporary cultural impact of objects. Over the course of the semester we will examine both every day and aesthetic materials to consider how place, social conventions, object design, history, and economics all affect the meaning we apply to the things around us. In the process, we will also ask how these objects have themselves shaped human values and beliefs, as well as the ways that we understand the world.

NSCAD recently announced a full slate of online courses for the summer 2020 semester, making the NSCAD experience accessible from anywhere in the world. The online courses available in July and August are as diverse as NSCAD’s usual full range of programming, and will be expertly delivered with the support and expertise of professional instructional designers.

Material culture refers to tools, utensils, ornaments, art, buildings, monuments, written records, religious images, clothing, and any other ponderable objects produced or used by humans. Columns depicting Toltec warriors, in Tula, Mexico are an example of art and religious images which are often reflected upon and contemplated by researchers, academics and students.