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Open Call: Counterparts: Exploring Design Beyond the Human

Submissions for the Swiss Design Network Winter Research Summit are now open. Have a look at this year's conference topic. www.counterparts.ch

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Counterparts: Exploring Design Beyond the Human
Call for Contributions
Swiss Design Network Winter Research Summit
October 27–28, 2022
Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland

In light of ecological crises and ongoing mass extinction through anthropogenic impact, it has become vital to reassess design’s involvement in constructing a “one-world reality” (Law 2015) that gives precedence to a specific notion of the human to the detriment of all that is deemed outside it. Contemporary debates in anthropology and environmental studies that question human exceptionalism have called for redirecting our attention to the interdependence of living and non-living beings – including animals, plants, materials, objects, physical forces and spirits (Puig de la Bella Casa 2017) – to allow a “conversation across worlds” (de la Cadena & Blaser 2018). In response, design has in recent years widened its perspective towards more-than-human ecologies and has formulated the possibility of a post-anthropocentric design practice (Escobar 2018, Akama et al. 2020, Wakkary 2021).

This working conference asks about the current state of the aforementioned discussion and what implications it has for design research, practice and education. The conference aims to provide a basis for a joint exploration of what happens when we shift away from human-centred and universalist views of design and begin contemplating future ways of co-existing and co-emerging with others on this planet. Which ideas, experiences, practices and possibilities unfold in the wake of such a shift? How can design be re-thought accordingly?

For this conference, we invite practice- and theory-based contributions that consider, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  •  design for sustainment and ecological survival
  • design for co-existence and co-emergence
  • indigenous epistemologies and ontologies
  • designing beyond species barriers
  • design and new materialism
  • the role of the digital within more-than-human ecologies
  • ethics and practices of care in more-than-human worlds
  • educating for more-than-human design

We specifically welcome contributions by early career researchers and/or works in progress.

If you are interested in participating, please submit an extended abstract detailing context, methodology and findings (max. 500 words), and author biography (max. 75 words) via Submission Forum by 19. April 2022. All abstracts will be reviewed and selected through a peer-review process. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our conference and network coordinator – Mayar El Bakry coordinator@swissdesignnetwork.ch

This event is currently planned as an in-person event at Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. Covid-19 measures may be in place in compliance with Swiss government regulations.

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