Mapping Meals and their Spaces (Offered for the last time in the academic year 2019-20)

Course content

A ‘meal’ is a complex phenomenon often involving interactions between many different persons, ideas, spaces and objects (natural as well as artificial). The experience of a ‘meal’ is therefore also much more than the physiological-sensory input (the sense of taste, smell, sight, texture, sound, mouth feeling etc.) of eating a specific food object. The experience of a ‘meal’ is also about the psychological, social, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic dimensions unfolded in the spaces surrounding a meal. But, furthermore, about the design of the entire scenery; the landscape, architectural space, and specific objects framing the meal. Thereby the content of this course “Mapping Meals and their Spaces” integrates an aesthetic and creative understanding of meal-spaces and meal-experiences with theory and meth-ods across research areas of Design, Food Science and Food Sociology.

During the course we focus on how to analyze the design context of the meal space and artifacts of a meal experience. On the background of a brief outline of Western design history, as well as methodological inputs to the design-thinking approaches.


MSc Programme in Integrated Food Studies.

Learning outcome

After completion of the course it is expected that the student has achieved the following qualifications:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Should have basic knowledge about the aesthetic-analytical dimensions of meal-spaces and design of meal-experiences
  • Should be able to state, recite and list historic events, key-masters, époques, ideas and movements concerning the development of meal-spaces and their related meal-experiences presented with the course
  • Should be able to identify, classify and summarise key-theoreticians, methodologies, and creative tools related meal-spaces and meal-experiences presented in the course
  • Should be able to describe, explain and exemplify key-artefacts or archetypal spaces (i.e. food products, dishes, settings, interiors, furniture or utensils) related meal-spaces and meal-experience
  • Should be able to critically distinguish between theoretical models related meal-spaces and meal-experience, and as part hereof identify problems of scientific value within their own portfolio work



  • Should be able to analyze and evaluate a given artefact or space related meals and meal-experiences within the overall historical framework, and based on an understanding of the different theories and methodologies presented in the course
  • Should be able to relate, implement, apply or combine relevant theory on meal-spaces and meal-experiences to their own work, as well as argue for the specific choice- or selection of epistemology and methodology in a proficient way
  • As part hereof the student must be able to structure and apply the basic communication techniques, creative tools and analytical models, presented in the course, related meal-spaces and meal-experiences for presentation/portfolio work
  • Should be able to plan, work out and perform a portfolio with a proposal for a Meal-space and its meal-experience in relation to a chosen problem and framework



  • Should independently demonstrate an overview- and a basic understanding of the different theoretical, methodological and practical-creative elements presented within the course
  • Should be able to discuss and evaluate the quality and/or relevance of existing theory and methods presented in the course, and be able to put this into perspective relative to their own portfolio work
  • Should be able to reflect on and judge existing meal-spaces and meal-experiences, and use this knowledge to generalize upon and predict future needs and potentials related meals

The course is organized as a series of lectures and two larger workshops, including group work and with student interaction expected through various exercises. During the course, students must produce a portfolio, that illustrates an understanding of how to analyze, evaluate and create a meal space design, by use of the short statements and by including theory, methods and creative tools thought during the course.

See Absalon for a list of course litterature.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20-25 min.
Oral examination based on the submitted portfolio. No preparation.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Exam Preparation
  • 8
  • Field Work
  • 0
  • Preparation
  • 43
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 37
  • Seminar
  • 29
  • English
  • 137,5