Call for Papers

‘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. It examines the roles of design in rapidly changing economies, examining the relationship between technological advances and
the economy. ‘The Cost of Design’ also looks at design’s relationship to the political
economy and the global/regional/local exchanges occurring within. Design practices
can 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 also be examined.

The conference welcomes historic, contemporary and interdisciplinary approaches to
the topic, and invites contributions from design historians, scholars, and academics
in related fields, as well as design practitioners and educators, museum professionals
and students. Topics might include:

Technological and changing economies
• Impact of automation
• Digitisation of design culture
• Hybridisation of physical and virtual spaces

Political economies and global/local exchange
• Supply chains, manufacture and relocation vis-à-vis geopolitical and cultural
• Challenges to/persistence of dichotomies of North/South; East/West; Centre/
• Dynamics of transcultural (intra- or extra regional) design
• The relationship between design and soft power
• Appropriation and Copyright

Resistance, sharing economies and design
• Design for “post-growth” economies
• Political design in a national/regional/local context
• Artisanal/craft solutions
• Indigenous autonomy
• Designing for wellbeing, happiness and social values

Individual papers of 20 minutes, or proposals for full panels of three papers related to
the topics listed above or theme of ‘The Cost of Design’ will be considered. Panel
proposals must include abstracts for all three papers, in addition to a short
description of the panel theme. All proposals are double-blind reviewed and selected by the conference committee.

The submission deadline for abstracts has now passed.