30 September 2013 -

The 2013 Design History Society Annual Conference, Towards Global Histories of Design: Postcolonial Perspectives (5-8th September, 2013), was convened by Tanishka Kachru and Suchitra Balasubramanian at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. This was the first Design History Society conference held outside of Europe and it offered up a number of crucial and thought-provoking discussions about the nature, role and future of design and of design history, particularly within cultures, geographical centres and networks other than those within the more traditionally explored areas of Europe and North America. In particular the three keynotes from Sujata Keshavan, Tapati Guha-Thukurta, and Gui Bonsiepe stimulated much debate amongst the delegates. The conference also marked the establishment of Design History as a distinct discipline in India and, accordingly, received a great deal of highly positive publicity in the Ahmedabad and the wider Gujarati media, including articles in the Times of India (Ahmedabad Edition) and the Daily Bhaskar of 6th September, and the front page of the City Bhaskar of 7th September. The DHS Chair Dipti Baghat also gave several interviews to the local media. In addition, Tom Wilson, the British Council Curator in Residence at NID, in collaboration with the students and staff, produced an innovative exhibition which offered the conference delegates a fascinating insight into the history of the Institute.

The 2014 Design History Society Annual Conference, Design for War and Peace (4-6th September, 2014, was announced at the end of the 2013 conference and will be convened by Claire O’Mahony at CONTED, Kellogg College, Oxford University. The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, will be an apposite moment in which to reflect upon the relationship of design and craft to conflict and Oxford, a city which is steeped in the histories of scholarship and design and of both war and peace, is an appropriate venue for such a conference. The call for papers is available here on the Design History Society website and the deadline is 1st February 2014.

Sally-Anne Huxtable


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