Writing Design: Object, Process, Discourse, Translation. The Design History Society Annual Conference, Hosted by the tVAD Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK, 3-5 September 2009.
How do we find out about design, as both practice and object, including the processes of designing, crafting and manufacture, marketing and consumption? Students, scholars, critics and commentators use words, whether written or spoken, both to research design through observation, participation, interview and oral history, object analysis and documentary and visual interpretation, and in preparing resultant outcomes. Writing Design invites papers, panels and posters (see below) in which participants reflect on their sources, historiography and methodology, research, dissemination and teaching processes to examine the issues mobilised by articulating design and material culture with language and the ways in which writing about objects has conditioned our understanding of design. Keynote speakers are Jeffrey L. Meikle, Professor of American Studies and Art History at the University of Texas and Dr Paul Jobling, Senior Lecturer, History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton. Writing Design is inclusive in its interests, and will attract designers, design historians, practitioners of design studies, material culture studies, popular culture studies and literary studies among others. The following list of indicative themes is not prescriptive:
. What is at stake in the translation of objects into words, written or spoken, for research, communication and understanding?
. How does the design of words and writing impact upon their interpretation, within studies of typography and book design and more broadly?
. How can the haptic and tacit knowledge be discussed and written about?
. What has been the value of designers' writings?
. How have designers attempted to shape their personae/biographies?
. What does writing on design, from popular and specialist design journalism and trade journals to academic studies, tell us?
. How have design and designers been represented in literature and mass media such as magazines and television?
. How have discourses of lifestyle expertise shaped taste and consumption?
. How do we, as students, scholars and practitioners of design, write ourselves into an evolving historiography?
. How have archival holdings, documentary sources and curatorial practices shaped our understanding of design?
. How have curators in design exhibitions, museums and galleries used selection and synthesis, labels and catalogues, objects, words and images to tell stories and histories about design?
. How do we understand design practice in a period when documentary and object analysis are the primary sources through which we know design, using probate records, diaries, broadsheets, designer's archives etc.?
. What impact has an existing design historical bias towards Western industrialised nations had on the understanding of design?
. How have interview and oral history practices functioned to enlarge understanding of design?
. What pedagogical issues are raised by learning about designed objects through lectures, seminars and written assignments?
. What is the role and value of the written assignment in design education?
Writing Design aims to showcase papers which will enhance the practice of design history in the future and to publish double-blind peer-reviewed outcomes from the conference. Therefore all proposals must represent original research, not previously published. Proposals from postgraduate researchers are encouraged and the Design History Society offers bursaries to support student members' conference attendance. Proposals are invited in three formats, each containing an anonymised abstract and accompanied by a separate 50-word biography:
(a) Papers: A 400-word abstract proposing a presentation of 25 minutes.
(b) Panels: Three 400-word abstracts plus a rationale for the panel (max 300 words, stating common research questions, links between the papers and contribution to the conference theme).
(c) Posters: A 400-word abstract, for presentation as an illustrated A1 poster (594 x 841mm).
All proposals will be subject to double-blind peer review, based on contribution to the conference theme and clarity of question, context, method and outcome. Proposals must be without formatting and sent in the body of an email, or as a Word document, to Jessica Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm GMT Monday 12th January 2009. Proposals which are late or do not fit these formats will be returned. The results of peer review will be issued in March and full papers are required for circulation to panel participants by August 3rd 2009.
The co-convenors are Dr Grace Lees-Maffei and Jessica Kelly. Based in the Faculty for the Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Hertfordshire, the tVAD research group examines relationships between text, narrative and image. See http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/artdes_research/tvad/event030909.html for more information about tVAD and the excellent air, road and rail transport links UH enjoys, being only 20 minutes from central London. We look forward to welcoming you to Writing Design!
Lecturer in Design History and Theory
Faculty for the Cultural and Creative Industries
University of Hertfordshire
Herts AL10 9AB
Phone: 0 44 (0)1707 285300
Fax: 0 44 (0)1707 285350
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