Design is a collaborative iterative process, and this symposium will consider design history as narratives of collaboration. Where and how does design come about? And how does the collaborative process itself shape design, whether it be a piece of furniture, a vision of urban life, or concepts of display? As a creative interaction between or among various people, media, industries or countries, the narrative may be practical, professional, personal, or spiritual. Often design is the result of art or design studios, corporate teams, partnerships (personal or professional), or committees seeking solutions to local or international problems. New technologies require combinations of people with diverse knowledge and skills from different places; scientists, artists, teachers, psychologists, software experts, etc., can be necessary to make one design solution succeed. On a simple level, textiles and fabrics woven in one country enable clothing designs in other countries. Interior designers work with architects and engineers. Sometimes design engenders a give-and-take between the “center” and “margins” that require employing persons trained in special crafts. Consider the varied networks involved in renovating museums, roadways, railway terminals, airports or stadiums because of digital innovations that make possible new forms of display, information retrieval or entertainment. One can also look at group memorial projects such as the AIDS Quilt that depend on myriad individual pieces that coalesce into one story, social, political and personal. At the same time papers might focus on how different notions or models of partnerships emerge, or how programs award or ignore collective thinking. Ultimately, broader issues of sustainability, climate and the economy can only be resolved through cooperative ventures. Collaborative design(s) become increasingly important in a diverse world.
Topics might include:
- design and issues of credit
- transnational networks and systems of exchange
- memorials and community planning
- urban systems in relation to material culture
- fabrication and industry in relation to design, labor, and distribution
- production design and entertainment
- users and makers
- local and grassroots partnerships
Proposals are welcome from graduate students at any level in field such as art history, history of design, design studies, fashion studies, history of the decorative arts, urban studies, cultural anthropology, history of architecture, consumer studies, design and technology, media studies, and museum studies.
The symposium's Catherine Hoover Voorsanger Keynote speaker will be Dr. Pat Kirkham, professor emeritus at the Bard Graduate Center and professor of design at Kingston University London (UK). The keynote address will be given on Thursday evening, April 11, 2019, and the symposium sessions will be held in the morning and afternoon of Friday, April 12.
To submit a proposal, send a two-page abstract, one-page bibliography, and a c.v. to:
Sarah A. Lichtman
Director, MA Program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies
Parsons School of Design