Call for applications: MA in Codesign

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – School of Design

Deadline for applications to begin Sept 2015: February 27th, 2015!


MA in Codesign

Two years full time – 120 ECTS

Language: English



Through collaborative design-led research, the Codesign Research Center (CODE) is a trans-disciplinary academic laboratory in Copenhagen for graduate students and researchers seeking to push the boundaries of codesign. Student work in cross-disciplinary teams and consider issues from multiple perspectives by inventing and deploying mixed methods from design and the social sciences. The MA-program in Codesign is designed for students who are interested in new ways of exploring and understanding complex social and material issues through the use of visual, sensory and dialogue-based approaches. Codesign is an attitude, a mindset and a practice. Bringing together international students from many design disciplines the master program in codesign is a transdisciplinary design laboratory where students learn as they engage with real life challenges. Sketching and making is at the heart of codesign as it is of other design disciplines, but sketching and making with non-designers calls for new toolboxes and new modes of experimentation. Students learn to sketch and coproduce as codesigners along side being participants also in the on-going research of codesign faculty. The Ma program in codesign builds on the themes of design and the sociology of science & technology; constructive design research; theories of experimental making; performance studies, design interventions and engagements with ethnographic field settings. For the codesigner research, sketching and making goes hand in hand. Working with generative prototyping, collaborative inquiries and sustained participation the codesigner takes part in a critical exploration of possible futures. The MA-program in Codesign combines an orientation towards research, with studio-based teaching and real life engagements with external partners. During the program, each student develop an individual codesign profile based on their BA competencies. However codesigners share a professional repertoire of skills including empathy through ethnographic fieldwork, exploratory design inquiries based on experimentation in situations of high complexity, visualizing and materializing design visions and possible design directions, iterative prototyping and a high degree of collaboration and participation.


The program has a research orientation. Each year will have an overall theme influenced by the ongoing research in CODE. The teaching is studio-based but the codesign studio does not have physical boundaries. Students engage in research in real life networks of community participants. Much time is spent with people and in environments outside the school. The high degree of collaboration with external people provides training in working with complex real life issues, and producing different kinds of deliverables. 

1. Semester. The first semester is fast paced and oriented towards developing codesign skills through engaging with a network of partners. In 2014 the theme is “Democratic Design Experiments” where a range of public and private organizations will provide opportunities for collaboration. The students started with an open program and used a critical and explorative approach to identify the ‘burning issues’, within the network. Through several iterations a programme was negotiated with selected partners. In the second half of the semester the students co-produced a democratic design experiment with people in the city. The results were displayed in January ’15 in a public event for the City of Copenhagen, including the mayor and our school’s rector.

2. Semester. The second semester has a slower pace. It is dedicated to research and reflection. The aim is for the students to situate their own practice and results from the first semester in a web of codesign research and activities that are already taking place in the world. In the first 10 weeks the students co-produce a book on this year’s theme. The last 10 weeks of the semester involve externships in selected design studios and organizations.

3. Semester. The third semester focuses on creative project management and the student’s individual professional identity as codesigner. Students will get responsibility for setting a relevant project frame with external partners. In the second part of the semester the students will individually or in small groups prototype design proposals of products, communication or environments relevant for the external partners and in dialogue also with relevant manufacturers. The overall aim is to prepare the students for their thesis project and pave the way for taking responsibility as project leaders of codesign projects after finishing their studies.

4. Semester. The fourth semester is the realization of a larger self-chosen project, individually or in small teams. The thesis project may be integrated with on-going research & development projects in CODE.


This master program is new, and the first students started in the fall 2014. During their first semester the cultural centers and libraries of four Copenhagen neighborhoods invited the codesign program to facilitate democratic design experiments that bring citizens and neighborhood institutions closer together.

A Cultural Scene. One team collaborated with Nørrebro library and co-created a multifunctional cultural scene that is now open for any citizen to use. The different kind of furniture can be put together in various ways and hereby be a new physical platform that can stage different kinds of activities. A video of their codesign process can be seen here:

Learning landscapes. Another team of students explored the possibilities when the library in NorthWest of CPH gets a new venue outside its classic boundaries of a house, in the shape of a new public square. Together with culture workers from the library and three local elementary schools they created outdoor landscapes of investigations consisting of learning-boxes with tools, materials and tasks. The boxes transform the square and the library into a space in which the students can practice their various skills in everyday surroundings. See a video of a prototype session:



Working with external partners and taking departure in real world issues is central to codesign and a requirement for projects in the master program. With a range of external partners the codesign center, CODE has previously explored a number of longitudinal project themes, addressing complex societal issues such as recycling & waste handling, living with Alzheimer’s, and urban service networks for active senior citizens. Some partners are distinctly corporate, and students will be offered to develop and deliver value to complex organizations like for example Vestforbrænding, Novo Nordisk, or Johnson & Johnson. Other partners are more societal in their objectives, and students will stage events in the city or suggest service models for partners like the Municipality of Copenhagen, community centers or Mindlab. With partners like patient organizations and NGO’s, projects can be about generating and communicating empathic stories of particular people’s untold life-worlds, for example to better understand the everyday concerns of people suffering from chronic disease or marginalized communities. The codesign faculty is part of a large international network of design researchers, and frequently publish their work in journals and conferences. Students are encouraged to participate in the ongoing research seminars and occasionally also to try publishing themselves.


Joachim Halse, Associate professor, PhD.  (program responsible)

Thomas Binder, Professor, PhD.

Eva Brandt, Professor, PhD.



All applicants should have, or be expected to gain a bachelor degree in design, architecture, anthropology or other relevant subject. Applicants with more professional experience are also encouraged. For more information and application use the links below or contact  us. You can find additional information about the MA in codesign at You can learn more about the Codesign research center, CODE here: For more information about the application requirements and process see:


Joachim Halse,, Phone: +45 41 70 18 58

KADK, Philip de Langes Allé 10, DK-1435 Copenhagen K, Denmark

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