Postgraduate student comments

I asked recipients of DHS Conference Bursaries to provide some of their own comments on the conference.  Here are some extracts:

En un mundo en el que el diseño propicia el surgimiento de nuevas formas de comunidad y reescribe la historia de la vidadelhombre común, gana importancia el tema de la conformación de los nuevos escenarios ético políticos, la reciprocidad social, el ejerciciodeldiálogo y el fomento constante de juicios y opiniones. A través de las distintas ponencias quedó claro un interés por mostrar que el diseño es un escenario que permite explicar y comprender la manera en que el hombre se transforma en la medida en que transforma el escenario de su cotidianidad.  Esta misma idea puede identificarse en los congresos anteriores y de hecho constituye suhilo conductor. Otro punto importante a destacar es la participación de los distintos investigadores provenientes de diversos continentes y de países en vía de desarrollo cuyas experiencias sirven de base para consolidar un capítulo de la historiadeldiseño ligada a la supervivencia, la inventiva popular, los focos deresistenciay  las formas de producción vernáculas. Augusto Solorzano

What I found the most interesting, was exploring all the different approaches designers are adopting to engage in social and political issues. From the traditional dissent, activism and radicalism, to more recent approaches such as co-design, open source design, and collaborative platforms.  Joanna Choukeir

The presentations of Ken Garland, Laura Kurgan and Henk Oosterling encapsulated the role of designer as activist, practitioner and philosopher, giving rise to the questions:  what are the principles that my work is based on? what long term changes does my work seek to create? what is ‘aesthetics’ when applied to transformational design in public service organizations, such as schools?  These questions were discussed with my new acquaintances over a glass of Cava and these are the questions I bring back with me to England, along with the spirit of the city of Barcelona, that of a friendly realist.  Ksenija Kuzmina

Being 7 months pregnant somewhat limited my ability to fully engage with every aspect on the program for this year’s DHS society conference – and my swollen extremities rather diminished my enjoyment of the marvelous weather we had in beautiful Barcelona. Instead of one particular event or talk, the major highlight for me was the atmosphere of the conference. Attending the conference alone, I was made to feel welcome by the friendly and helpful organizing staff and I also felt supported and encouraged by more senior researchers.   Esther Rosser

In general the talks were all very well structured and comprehensible also when the topic was not close to my research focus. I particularly enjoyed the panel discussions. Surprisingly, people with very different backgrounds and point of view could have a linear dialogue, building on top of each other’s knowledge.  Giovanni Innella

In the last decades, the interest by researchers in participatory product design process has been present in academic debates, but it’s a new venue for communication design. I hope that this tendency will go on further and further. The case studies papers present are high level and as a stimulus for us, as young researchers and professionals, to go on with our research projects and to share the results with the community.  Silvia Schiaulini

I was interested in the conference particularly because it took as a subject design activism, and therefore the politics of design, which constitutes a large part of what I work on in my thesis. I was hoping that the conference would give me the opportunity to listen to recent research on the subject in design history, and help me recognise the trends so that I can position my work more correctly. I am content to say that it did.   Harun Kaygan

As a postgraduate student studying the gendered work experiences of industrial designers in a sociology department, the conference was a good chance for myself to disseminate some part of my work to an audience that consists of design scholars.  Pinar Kaygan

I was quite intrigued by the rather strong Eurocentric perspective reflected in presentations at the conference and realized that the only way to add texture and depth to this debate is to have more contributions from other cultural-philosophical frameworks. A simultaneous realisation was that design history research inIndiahas to be deepened and strengthened. One way to address both these dimensions this is to host the DHS conference in India in the near future. Suchitra Seth

An important role of design is now to internalise what is currently externalised in order to better reflect the essential conditions of connectedness … The Design History Society’s conference next year will be in Brighton on thetheme of sports in material culture. As a Londoner, few things could be asde-futuring as the Olympic Games. I hope the DHS continues to engage with the social implications of design. Jody Boehnert

…what I found particularly interesting was the Conference theme itself; to highlight and trigger the power of marginal, non-commercial, and often overlooked design actions and applications that have the potential to challenge the definitions of (and links between) ‘central’ and ‘peripheral’ loci, or areas of interest in design historiography. Besides the engaging talks, which have been an insightful gateway to the silent design histories of Cuban, Croatian, Polish, Portuguese, and South African contexts (amongst others) … Marina Emmanouil

There were interesting speeches about the boundaries of Design and his usage to face problems, but as far as I am concerned I missed more proposals about how to do it and which frameworks could be defined. On the other hand I have to point out that it was great to see how the mindset is changing, positioning the design practitioner in the background, going beyond Design Thinking and starting to talk about new approaches of behaviors and methods like Open Design.  Juan Gasca

..the specific subject of this year’s Conference was especially appealing to me, as my interests focus on the activist and dissident graphics, ways of resistance and the responsibility in design. It was also an opportunity for me to present the outcome of the research on the Solidarity graphics, which I had worked on before … I am especially happy to have attended the panel discussions which followed the strands. It was interesting to hear the different opinions which were all very thought-provoking.  Agata Szydłowska


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