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Design History Society Conference 2019: The Cost of Design


Northumbria University







Annual DHS Conference 2019 

'The Cost of Design' explores the complexities of the historic and contemporary relationship between design and economy. Design is both influenced by, and can shape, economic systems. Both 'cost' and 'economy' are to be understood beyond their financial implications. 'Cost' is envisaged as the exchange of resources, meaning or value. The conference looks at how design sustains, accelerates or challenges dominant systems and examines the resulting social, cultural, economic or environmental consequences that arise. This theme includes the examination of the role of design in rapidly changing economies, the impact of technological advances, including the development and use of new materials, the impact of automation, and the digitisation of design culture.

The 'Cost of Design' also looks at design's relationship to the political economy. Economic and political concerns are enmeshed within global, regional and local exchange. This has led to policy regarding to what extent the international movement of goods should be facilitated or hindered in addition to issues regarding financial deregulation, labour politics and global trade. Examining the relationship between design and the political economy can perpetuate or challenge dichotomies of North/South, Centre/Periphery, East/West and draw out acts of appropriation or copyright issues in relation to trans-cultural exchange for examination. Design practices also react to, resist, challenge or seek to influence economies that are viewed to negatively impact in some way. The ways in which design has been used to affect positive change within economic systems will be explored as well.

The conference welcomes historic, contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to the topic.

The Call for Papers is now closed. On the advent of the Bauhaus centenary, a separate Call for Papers for a panel exploring the many relationships between the famous school and business is now open and the deadline for abstracts is 11 March 2019. 

Conference Convener: Elizabeth Kramer, Northumbria University  

Event Details

Northumbria University
City Campus East
Newcastle upon Tyne


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