Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG3121 Creating Alternative Futures

20 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Paul Chatterton

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Module replaces

GEOG3920 Autonomous Geographies Sustainable Futures

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores concepts, practices, histories and case studies of creating alternative futures. It takes a critical look at the capitalist world as it is and starts by exploring how our contemporary world can be transformed and how obstacles to change can be overcome. This module overall takes a positive and hopeful stance towards the future and seeks to understand how community and grassroots innovation can transform the future of the places where we live. Case studies and guest speakers are interweaved with lectures, seminars and practical sessions, as well as offering students the opportunity to try out ideas in workshops and group based design practice.


By the end of this module students who have engaged well with the syllabus should be able to:
1. display an informed understanding of processes of ecological, social and political change at local scales;
2. engage with different future scenarios for our world;
3. demonstrate an awareness of the multi-faceted nature of social change and future scenarios and alternatives in practice;
4. use academic, journalistic and electronic information sources to inform their critical analysis of processes of change;
5. express their understanding in written and oral forms.
6. demonstrate an ability to apply understandings of possible alternatives through practice based work

Learning outcomes
Contemporary debates about future thinking and scenario modelling
Detailed understandings of different pathways based on complex socio-political choices based on key themes such as technology, the nation state, social movements and relocalisation
Explorations of alternatives in practice in different geographical contexts including food, energy, housing work and land
Use of transition skills around mapping, decision making and public scholarship.

Skills outcomes
Cognitive skills
Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
Assessment and critical evaluation of the merits of contrasting theories, explanations, policies
Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text
Developing reasoned arguments

Practical/professional skills
Plan, design, execute and report geographical research
Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of qualitative geographical data
Recognise the ethical issues involved in geographical debates and enquiries
Relate concepts to practice through engaged enquiry.

Key skills
Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations
Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations)
Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)
Identify, retrieve, sort and exchange geographical information using a wide range of sources
Work as part of a team and to recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
Manage time and organise work effectively.


UNIT ONE: Concepts
The world as it is: Capitalism
Terrains of Transformation.
Obstacles to emancipatory transformation
Strategies of transformation

UNIT TWO: Alternatives Into Practice
Food Sovereignty

UNIT THREE: Practice based project skills and project development
local field trip
external speakers
Project development skills - strategising, communications, governance, delivery

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent Learning42.008.00
Private study hours151.00
Total Contact hours49.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- 46 hours reading to support individual lectures and to prepare for seminars, workshops
- 50 hours reading, bibliographical research and preparation for PBI group project
- 55 hours reading, bibliographical research and preparation for assessed essay

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Through 2 forms of assessment spread over 2 semesters.

The essay is due in at the beginning of semester 2 (wk 12) from which students receive feedback.

The group report is given out in the module Handbook at the beginning of semester one and is handed in at the end week 20 to give final formal feedback on group writing skills.

The Practical sessions in weeks 17 and 18 provide regular check ins with the module convenor on progress of the Practice based inquiry.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,500 words60.00
PracticalPractice based inquiry group report (in groups of 4) 1000 word equivalent per student40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/05/2019


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019