Design History Society Conference 2016

The conference theme of Design and Time takes the theme of the temporal turn. There has been sustained research and debate across a number of disciplines recently about different global perspectives on time, the rhythms of work and time and the increasing speed of life and communication between different communities. In what ways can the discipline of design history respond to these challenges?  How can the past inform the present and the future in terms of design? How has time been designed?

This conference will take place at Middlesex University where, forty years ago in 1976, the Second Conference of Twentieth Century Design History took place on the theme of ‘Leisure and Design in the Twentieth Century’. In the current era of rapid prototyping and slow design, this is an opportunity to reflect on the changing nature of time in relation to design history.

Potential themes to explore in 20 minute papers include:

  1. Discipline: How can the discipline of design history analyse the theme of time?  How does this articulate with other disciplinary approaches?
  2. Archive: How can design history respond to the challenges of the digital, with the new ways of archiving, accessing and interpreting knowledge? How do these innovations feed into accounting for the history of design beyond the timeline?
  3. Object: How has the passing of time been captured by designed objects, from railway timetables through to digital devices?
  4. Process: What part does memory and the passing of time play in design, and in co-design?
  5. Heritage: How has design incorporated the past into the present and into the future? Can there be timeless design?
  6. Materials: How do the themes of decomposition and patina, sustainability and survival inform our understanding of design?

Individual papers are welcome; proposals of a panel of speakers addressing interrelated themes are also encouraged.

Please send an abstract of maximum 500 words and a brief one page CV via email by 25th March 2016 to designandtime at