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Conference Convenors

  • Helena Barbosa
  • Anna Calvera

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Dezembro 2014 vol. 1 num. 5

9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies


Keynote Speakers

Theme 1: Theory

Strand 1: Histories of Design Criticism

Strand 2: Design Education in Art, Craft, Technology, and Other Traditions

Strand 3: Aesthetics Beyond Style

Theme 2: Memory

Strand 1: Design Histories: Tradition, Transgression and Transformations

Strand 2: Design Culture

Strand 3: Design Museums

Theme 3: Identity

Strand 1: Design Process and Practice

Strand 2: Localities / Globalities

Strand 3: Authorship and Anonymous Design

Theme 4: Technology

Strand 1: History of Technology: Traditions, Transitions and Trajectories

Strand 2: Materials, Techniques and Processes

Strand 3: Design and Technology

Theme 5: Society

Strand 1: Design Policies

Strand 2: Design Activism

Strand 3: Design Ethics

Theme 6: Open Strand

Workshop & Roundtable



Welcome to “where the land ends and the sea begins”, welcome to the land of the poets, welcome to the ninth edition of the ICDHS – the International Committee of Design History and Design Studies, and welcome to the home of regional sweet ‘soft eggs’, welcome to Aveiro.

Since the inaugural event held in Barcelona (1999), the ICDHS conferences that followed were held in three continents, bringing to the fore both peripheral countries and the importance of bringing to light hidden, or little known, ‘stories’ of design. The journey to reveal these histories continued in Havana (2000), Istanbul (2002), Guadalajara (2004), Helsinki and Tallinn (2006), Osaka (2008), Brussels (2010), São Paulo (2012) until now when we have arrived in the territorial waters of Aveiro (2014).

In order to underpin the rationale for the organization of this ICDHS 2014 we sought to trace new routes of research, to attract national and international travellers, fearless explorers who, in the spirit of the explorer Fernão Magalhães (1480-1521) 500 years earlier, will brave the difficulties and risks of journeying around the globe to meet others. They will bring with them fresh ideas and approaches accompanied by a strong desire to disseminate their culture. In this spirit, the title to capture the essence of Aveiro 2014 emerged – Tradition, Transition, Trajectories: major or minor influences? 

In this context, the conference title and the papers presented will illustrate how our life experiences utilise memory – traditions — and the way we live with nature and with the artificial world in our (in)ability to adapt to them – transformations — and, at the same time, feel the necessity of being constantly open to a breadth of possibilities that endow things with meanings – trajectories.

The best judges in this process were the Members of the Board, the Chairs, and all Members of the Scientific Committee (comprised of 104 members, from 22 countries) who sought to ensure the presence of travellers with a sense of a shared journey. The dynamics that this conference has aroused amongst peers is visible in the number of researchers interested in ‘belonging’ to this community. Initially, 193 proposals, representing 33 countries, were submitted; following the various stages of peer evaluation only 110 papers from 30 countries were accepted. Unfortunately, economic constraints have inevitably prevented the presence of many authors, resulting in the uneven size of a number of strands. This notwithstanding, we look forward to another invigorating ICDHS event with colleagues from around the globe.

In the light of the themes around which this conference has been shaped two Portuguese keynote speakers have been invited - Margarida Fragoso and José Bragança de Miranda as interpreters of national culture - and also two international speakers, Vanni Pasca (Italy) and Clive Dilnot (USA), whose approaches converge in consideration of issues that arise from the conference title Tradition, Transition, Trajectories: Major or Minor Influences? For the first time in the history of the ICDHS, Aveiro 2014 has included a Workshop and a Roundtable that will consider the idea of Europe as a global province through the participation of representatives drawn from a number of design history societies and collectives. We hope that when you flip through this book of proceedings book you will discover a rich variety of new adventures and journeys into the past, present and future.


Tradition has a powerful significance in our culture, and is responsible of the transmission of knowledge between generations. Looking at tradition through design (ideas, concepts, experiences and practice) it is possible to identify different influences and to understand how industrialization affected culture.

The constants influences, changes and transformations in society required new approaches to design. On the one hand the desire encourages creativity, on the other, it engenders responses that try to break with the past in order to become a ‘new reference’. Transition is to understanding those changes in order to comprehend how they will influence the future.

Different influences might lead to the different Trajectories in design. This may vary depending on the perspective of each interlocutor (authorship, educators, theorists).

Starting from the example of the Portuguese culture, which embraced strong influences from other countries, it would be interesting to move in this direction in order to understand what happened in other places in the world. Design has affirmed itself in a very particular way, undergoing a number of alterations and influences as a result of external and internal factors of the discipline itself. An examination of those issues, from the perspective of tradition, transition and trajectories, will allow us to understand what was/is/will be the ‘state of art’ of design history and design studies in an increasing  number of countries.

Theme 1. Theory

Strand 1. Histories of design criticism

Chairs Fredie Floré + Heitor Alvelos

In the course of the 20th century in many countries design criticism gradually developed into an independent discipline. Authors with different professional background – art historians, architects, artists, designers… – qualified themselves as specialists in the discussion or evaluation of material products. Coinciding with the worldwide professionalization of industrial design, new magazines were established which devoted special attention to the topic. Although the work of several authors such as Reyner Banham has been thoroughly studied and a few anthologies and critical volumes on design criticism have been published, our knowledge of how the discipline developed worldwide is still limited. This session aims at addressing this lack of knowledge and welcomes papers that focus on key figures, representative media or significant moments in the history of design criticism within a particular country or region. What traditions, transitions or trajectories can we detect within the development of design criticism? How can they inform contemporary research and practice? Through mapping and discussing different histories of design criticism, this session implicitly intends to feed the ongoing debate on the crisis in design criticism, and as such also welcomes papers that address the dynamic possibilities of confronting historical references and interpretations of contemporary practices.

Strand 2. Design Education in Art, Craft, Technology, and other Traditions

Chairs Haruhiko Fujita + Henrique Cayatte

Design education was mainly based on art, craft or technology education. From these different traditions, each of which had its own historical and social context, modern design education emerged in the early twentieth century. There are, however, also some other important traditions in education such as home economics which were originally related to design or gradually associated with it. Although they are often considered exceptional or not part of the mainstream, their history is as long as or even longer than that of art, craft, or technology in some countries. We welcome papers which are consciously written on one or some of these different traditions in design education. These papers may be fruitful in helping our understanding of the historical and present position of design education in each country and the world.

Strand 3. Aesthetics beyond style

Chairs Anna Calvera + Fátima Pombo

Contemporary design discourse avoids hedonism and aesthetical pleasure as a consequence of relating those experiences to the territory of consumerism and the exploitation of senses. However, hedonism as a refinement of pleasure has been a driving force of humanizing mankind. By portraying the specific field of research based on the experience of things and their sensory properties, we are interested in discussing how design participates in self-construction and civilisation processes, through the aesthetic dimension of things.

We invite researchers to present theoretical frameworks and/or empirical studies within the context of aesthetics of design. We welcome contributions addressing the track’s topic related to the world of things e.g. sceneries, ambiences, atmospheres, public and private spaces, as well as visual signs, graphic diagrams, labels, screens, books, tools, machines and electric appliances, furniture, lights and clothes, etc.

The purpose of this track is to draw out a reflection upon the extent to which aesthetical contribute to the quality of one design and to the quality of everyday life, enhancing the arguments for happiness.

Theme 2. Memory

Strand 1. Design Histories: tradition, transgression and transformations

Chairs Jonathan Woodham + Helena Barbosa

Design has asserted and re-invented itself in many different ways across the ages, depending on a variety of situations and geographical locations. Artifacts themselves are more than reflections of such circumstances as they are also carriers of memory and involve a large cast of players – designers, entrepreneurs, producers, retailers, consumers – who act out their roles in private and public spheres, often mediated by a variety of social and economic policies. Furthermore, design may reveal a set of traditional influences, embrace the need for transgression in order to stand out, or seek to bring about transformation in daily life. Authorship has been an important factor in many of these contexts. We welcome papers that bring to light stories and memories related to all such topics.

Strand 2. Design Culture

Chairs Pekka Korvenmaa + Helena Souto

In our era of continuous scientific and technological progress which implies a constant acceleration of time and in which the essence of being becomes reified, memory serves as a unique and exceptional medium for imagination and innovation. Our presence is seamlessly invaded by communication and messages that are delivered in an immaterial way. This dematerialization calls for research to illuminate the condition that an artifact used in everyday life is determined not only by the physical properties of matter or its user context. It also belongs to the sphere of an immaterial culture characterized by semantic, symbolic and social value. This session aims to point towards a fuller and more advanced approach to the interrelationships between designed artefacts and the range and swiftness of the memory. This session also seeks to explore how design has played a key role in shaping our cultural memory and how through the culture of design memory has become a mental process of approaching the invisible and visible, the immaterial and material culture. We also propose to research how design policies integrate the role of memory both from a local and a global perspective. Here the proactive role and use of history, our collective and extended memory, plays a key role.

Strand 3. Design Museums

Chairs Tevfik Balcıoğlu + Bárbara Coutinho

The number of design museums is increasing significantly everywhere while museums in general are going through radical changes in this century.

The way we conceive, consider and consume museums is being altered and reconstructed. We are experiencing an intense transformation with the establishment of new economic paradigms and renewed social demands. Countless design projects now emphasize and incorporate elements of ethical consciousness and social responsibility. The plethora of technologies and materials has expanded the possibilities of conservation, while instigating profound changes in design philosophy and methodology. As part of this process, the position of design archives is also under scrutiny. History is re-written through collections acquired and exhibitions organized in museums, which keep reconstituting the public perception of art, science, technology and design. Within this milieu, studying, preserving and reinterpreting design heritage become very important. The session will discuss these issues to situate design museums in a wider perspective. Relevant topics are as follows: Objects, missions and roles of design museums; Changes, challenges and strategies for collecting, curating, exhibiting and archiving. New approaches for preservation; Museums as centers of culture, experience, experimentation and multidisciplinary creations; Studying memories of the present; Working on local / national / global levels; New strategies for the educational function of design museum.

Theme 3. Identity

Strand 1. Design Process and Practice

Chairs Viviana Narotzky + Raul Cunca

This strand seeks to explore the processes that lead to the construction of cultural identities in the field of design, through trajectories that incorporate traditional approaches, transitions between tradition and modernity, or that exemplify the tensions between the two. We welcome the study and analysis

of the impact on systems of production, on the material culture of design and on the structure and practice of design, of processes that favour the confrontation or cohabitation of tradition and modernity: geopolitical influences such as colonial and postcolonial contexts, processes of hybridisation and acculturation, the impact of globalisation and delocalisation, specific instances of transition between political systems or the impact of grassroots activism and social movements. From the point of view of examples of practice, and drawing from both traditional craft and design processes, we also look for the analysis of processes and projects employing traditional cultural values and which retrieve and/or emphasize craft techniques in the type of contexts mentioned above, and propose new solutions through innovative practices, either for self-production or mass production. We hope researchers and designers will analyse these processes by exploring the most diverse areas of design, allowing the end result to offer an overview of how traditional values can serve as a baseline to rethink a project, and the relationship between understandings of tradition and modernity can give rise to new products, while maintaining or redefining a local identity as the basis for new opportunities.

Strand 2. Localities / Globalities

Chairs Oscar Salinas + Fernando Moreira da Silva

Addressing identity issues in design, which is a complex task, is a challenge for researchers in the area. Identity is never complete, never accomplished, and is an on going process that needs constant reflection, confronting local versus global, past and present and the present and a possible future, inside a transitional world. Through this specific research field we are interested in discussing how tradition, transition and trajectories can affect identity and therefore design in a confrontation of scales and links between localities and globalities. When we create the right kind of identity, we are able to communicate with others and contribute to a better way of life. Contributions addressing different manifestations in design identity, innovation, technology and creativity as part of development processes and the evolution of traditional culture, related with design are welcomed. This strand wants to incentive reflection, underlining the importance of design identity within design strategies, enhancing the different micro and macro project scales. So, we invite researchers to present theoretical and/or empirical works addressing its influences within the context of localities and globalities in design.

Strand 3. Authorship and Anonymous Design

Chairs Eduardo Côrte-Real + Grace Lees-Maffei

This strand will explore a tension between the identity of things and the identity of authors, or designers. Making is a key mode of expressing identity. Design is popularly understood as the product of an individual, and design teaching emphasises individual creativity and authorship. Yet, the majority of design is a group effort, and the output of practitioners working anonymously, rather than noted named designers, and many objects are best described as type forms. New technologies and techniques such as the use of algorithms mean that those working in design studies and design history alike need rethink their methods for explicating anonymous design. We welcome papers by historian-detectives revealing the truthful authorship of well-known or less well known objects. We are, however, especially interested in the collective construction of an idea of design by social groups that act as authors, such as nations, regions or “schools”, determining an underlying authorship through taste or Alois Riegl’s ‘worldview’. This panel invites delegates to consider: How can we best understand the work of anonymous designers? Is the drive to identification essential? Does an emphasis on authorship obscure the achievements of anonymous designers? What can theories and methods centred upon authorship lend to the analysis of anonymous design? 

Theme 4. Technology

Strand 1. History of Technology: Traditions, Transitions and Trajectories

Chairs Paul Atkinson + Vasco Branco

Starting from the perspective that design can be seen as a social-cultural appropriation of technology, we wish to understand more fully the relationships between innovations in technology and innovations in design. Taking the social construction perspective a stage further, we wish to explore the ways in which technology and design are often appropriated, transformed, used and misused by consumers. Employing such an approach, is it possible to gain insights into or even construct a history of mental models of design from the point of view of the designer or equally validly, the user? Papers in this strand might consider, but not be limited to discuss:

Traditions: Traditions of technology, its usage and abusage in socio-cultural or geographical contexts. Is there value in reconsidering traditional techniques in the context of a new technological and cultural landscape where cultural and geographical boundaries are increasingly less of an obstacle?

Transitions: In the face of increasingly rapid developments in technology, what can be learned from exploring the social, cultural or economic impacts involved in the transitions from one technology to another?

Trajectories: With the development of increasingly accessible tools for the realisation and dissemination of design concepts, what are the potential impacts of new and emerging technologies on the production, distribution and consumption of design? 

Strand 2. Materials, Techniques and Processes

Chairs Héctor Flores Magón + Joana Quental

Technology has always been at the origin of the progressive achievement of artificiality by design: a “life invented” (Ortega y Gasset) which intention is no longer to respond to human primary needs, but the conquest of wellbeing and happiness. It follows that desire anticipates the project: the design stands today to the place where art and technique go hand in hand in order to undertake a new culture, focused on pleasure. This path has two distinct possible developments: firstly, an increasing use of technologically sophisticated resources, able to with less effort, give the most efficient response; on the other, in response to this technological overdose, the return to traditional techniques: creation, in this way, combines making and feeling. In this context, we welcome theoretical or empirical contributions that question and provide a broader understanding of the role of technology in contemporary society. We consider as developing topics: the relationship design / technology, technology / software, technology / authorship, design / new materials, new processes / design, design / materials sensory properties, – in all areas of the artificial world we live in, a world in which design aspires to be total, responding to a greater purpose which is, after all, creating a life program. 

Strand 3. Design and Technology

Chairs Lucila Fernadéz + José Bartolo

As a process of mediation between the world and us, the design of industrial artefacts, environments, interfaces and forms of communication presupposes intentional use of technological resources. From the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century to the current post-industrial context, the technological dimension is crucial in design. In the process of use and exploitation of the technology several other design dimensions are involved: aesthetic, ethical, economic, environmental or political. We invite researchers to present theoretical frameworks and / or empirical studies within the context of design and technology. We welcome contributions addressing the track’s topic related to design culture and technology e.g. old media/new media; sustainability; technology and social innovation; biotechnology; vernaculars techniques; new crafts; new materials and new technological applications. 

Theme 5. Society

Strand 1. Design Policies

Chairs Javier Gimeno-Martínez + Beatriz Vidal

This strand looks at the tensions between the private and the public as encapsulated in design policies. State control on the public domain might be easy to perceive. Architecture design and urban planning are subdued to strict regulations affecting their design. However, what about the private domain? How does the state shape design? And what are its benefits? States have promoted design by means of promotional bodies and exhibitions. Their goals have been diverse ranging from the indoctrination of the population, the protection of domestic markets, the increase of exports or putting own’s country on the creative map. Both domestic and external aspects are at stake when studying design policies. Accordingly, analysing design policies calls for a sophisticated framework to properly look at the relationship between power and materiality. This strands welcomes papers that reflect on the role of the state in promoting design and on the cultural effects of design policies. This strand particularly welcomes papers that delve into these aspects from a historical or theoretical perspective.

Strand 2. Design Activism

Chairs Priscila Farias + Raquel Pelta

This strand welcomes proposals that will address design history and design studies from the perspective of social issues and design activism. We expect to promote critical discussions, based on original research, about design activism and the importance of tradition in activism language, its relations with politics, music, gender, ethnicity, and environmental issues. That comprises debates on the status of what we may call “design in the streets”: relations to vernacular design, street art, dystopia and resistance, as exemplified in recent popular manifestations in major cities around the world. The list of possible topics also includes weird, queer, and post-colonial approaches to design history and design studies; and new models of design activism, such as crafts as activism, open design as activism, participatory design, resilience. 

Strand 3. Design Ethics

Chairs Victor Margolin + Rosa Alice Branco

Today, as design operates in a global framework and in many situations outside the market, the question of ethics is yet more complicated. Clearly designed objects are parts of production and distribution systems so that a great design for the Apple iPhone is embedded in a process of unfair labor practices in China. Thus, ethics no longer relates only to the design of single objects but also to the nature of the larger systems of production and consumption in which design is embedded. On the other hand, since it is impossible to think Design without its implicit know-how, we find ourselves in a field where ethical action may easily be conceived as a project against the globalization of indifference, which requires that the design in question shows its authentic solicitude. For this strand, we seek papers that consider the question of ethics broadly in terms of product quality (not producing products that are harmful to individuals or to the environment) as well as product systems. We are also interested in papers that discuss positive contributions to the social world within frameworks such as social design, universal design, design for all, ecodesign, and others that are related. 

Theme 6. Open strand

Chairs Nuno Dias + Susana Barreto

This strand welcomes papers that do not fit the other strands, however they should be relate to the general issue of the conference. 


Conference convenor

Helena Barbosa

Teaches disciplines in Design – Undergraduate, Master and Ph.D at University of Aveiro (UA). Her areas of interest are Portuguese Design History, Portuguese material culture, mainly posters and virtual museums. She is responsible for the contents of a virtual on-line poster museum (30.000 posters) a project being developed UA. She is vice-president of ID+ Research Institute for Design, Media, and Culture, member of the editorial board of “The Poster” journal published by Intellect, and member of the Scientific Committee of the journal “Eme: experimental illustration design”, published by Editorial Universitat de València. 

Conference co-convenor

Anna Calvera

Professor on Design History, Aesthetics and Design Philosophy at the University of Barcelona (Spain), she teaches at the undergraduate, master and PhD programmes of the Design and Visual Arts Department. She currently researches the History of Design in Barcelona in the industrial era, approaching it as a very local question but fully related to  internationally shared design discourse and research. She is also concerned with philosophical aesthetics employed to understand design practices and its social role. Member of GRACMON, a research unit placed in her university and the Fundació Història del Disseny (Barcelona). 

Theme 1. theory

strand 1. histories of design criticism

Fredie Floré - VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands and Ghent University, Belgium

Heitor Alvelos - Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal

strand 2. design education in art, craft, technology, and other traditions

Haruhiko Fujita - Osaka University, Japan

Henrique Cayatte - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

strand 3. aesthetics beyond style

Anna Calvera - University of Barcelona, Spain

Fátima Pombo - University of Leuven, Belgium

Theme 2. memory

strand 1. design histories: tradition, transgression and transformations

Jonathan Woodham - University of Brighton, UK

Helena Barbosa - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

strand 2. design culture

Pekka Korvenmaa - Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland

Helena Souto - Institute of Art, Design and Enterprise – University (IADE-U), Portugal

strand 3. design museums

Tevfik Balcioglu - Yasar University, Turkey

Bárbara Coutinho -  IST and Director of the MUDE – Design and Fashion Museum

Theme 3. identity

strand 1. design process and practice

Viviana Narotzky - President of ADI-FAD, the Industrial Design Association of Barcelona, Spain

Raul Cunca - Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal

strand 2. localities / globalities

Oscar Salinas - National University of Mexico, Mexico

Fernando Moreira da Silva - Faculty of Architecture, University of Lisbon, Portugal

strand 3. authorship and anonymous design

Eduardo Corte Real - Institute of Art, Design and Enterprise – University (IADE-U), Portugal

Grace Lees-Maffei - University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Theme 4. technology

strand 1. history of technology

Paul Atkinson - Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Vasco Branco - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

strand 2. materials, techniques and processes

Héctor Flores Magón - Universitarius Centre of Art, Architecture and Design, University of Guadalajara, Mexico

Joana Quental - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

strand 3. design and technology

Lucila Fernandéz - Superior Institute of Design, Cuba

José Bártolo - Superior School of Arts and Design, Portugal

Theme 5. society

strand 1. design policies

Javier Gimeno-Martinez - VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beatriz Vidal - Designer, Design Manager and coordinator of national and international projects and actions, Lisbon, Portugal

strand 2. design activism

Priscila Farias - University of São Paulo, Brazil

Raquel Pelta - Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Barcelona

strand 3. design ethics

Victor Margolin - University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Rosa Alice Branco - Superior School of Arts and Design, Portugal

Theme 6. open strand

Nuno Dias - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Susana Barreto - Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal

workshop and roundtable committee

Anna Calvera - University of Barcelona, Spain

Helena Barbosa - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Kjetil Fallan - University of Oslo, Norway

organizing committee

Álvaro Sousa - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Gonçalo Gomes - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Helena Barbosa - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal

Olinda Martins - Department of Communication and Art, University of Aveiro, Portugal