BALKAN LOCUS-FOCUS: 1st symposium on Balkan communication design histories | 29-30 June 2012 | Izmir Turkey


29-30 June 2012 | Izmir, Turkey


This call for participation asks for studies of communication design in the broader region of the Balkans/Southeastern Europe.

Consisting of heterogeneous cultural groups and diverse socio-economic structures, the region has had a turbulent history in the last century, marked by violent manifestations of ethnic conflict but also by regimes that fostered political integration. Its multiple design histories sometimes intersected, but often diverged to distinct national trajectories that looked for points of reference beyond the region’s geographical borders.

This two-day symposium held at Izmir University of Economics, Turkey (Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Visual Communication Design Department) in collaboration with Parsons, USA (School of Art and Design History and Theory), intends to offer first insights on the yet silent and poorly recorded histories of communication design in the Balkan peninsula, focusing on the period from the late 19th century to the present. This is the first attempt to comprehensively map visual communication (in the areas of graphic design, advertising, typography, web design, media, and inclusive of non-commercial examples, private initiatives and state/civil service design) in the socio-political and mental territories of the region. The aim is thus threefold:

First, to present and document existing and/or unpublished research through paper presentations.

Second, to initiate a forum for emerging issues to be investigated and for new projects to be launched (e.g. more comprehensive national and transnational trajectories, oral histories, comparative studies). This aim will be achieved in moderated academic workshops with the intention of generating co-authored papers to be published on the conference website, and if possible, a design journal special edition.

Third, to see design practice presentations by contemporary designers of the region feed and inspire new thinking, and generate oral histories for future research.

The overall goal of this hybrid event is for scholars, researchers and designers from the Balkans to establish links, forge collaborations, and create a strong community of design historians and practitioners.

The symposium committee will seek papers under the following four THEMES (inclusive but not limited to):

  • T1: Inter-Nationalism/Regionalism, Identity(ies), Propaganda, Politics.
  • T2: Modernization, Professionalization, Institutionalization.
  • T3: Inter-Balkan Connections/Networks, International Influence/Impact.
  • T4: Contemporary Practice, Multi-disciplinary Design, New Media.

There will be three SESSION types:

  • PPS: Paper Presentation Sessions
  • AWS: Academic Workshop Sessions
  • DPPS: Design Practice Presentation Sessions

There will be four moderated academic workshops during the symposium. Confirmed moderators are

  • Fedja Vukić (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
  • Bratislav Pantelic (Sabancı University, Turkey)
  • Başak Şenova (curator/designer, Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Jilly Traganou, co-moderator (Parsons, USA).

More information and updates on workshop themes and means of participation will be available on the website.

You may be part of this symposium as one or more PARTICIPANT types:

Presenter by delivering a paper presentation during PPS.
Discussant by provoking dialogue with the AWS moderator and other discussants.
Designer by presenting your work produced in the period from the 1960s to the present at DPPS.


PPS: 1 Abstract (350 word max) + 1 visual (low res.) + short bio (75 words) + CV.
AWS: 1 Abstract (500 word max) providing your knowledge and provocations on one of the 4 workshop themes (to be announced in the website) + short bio (75 words) + CV.
DPPS: 1 Abstract (350 word max) supported by visuals of your work (low res.) + short bio (75 words) + CV.

Please use the attached PDF form (BLF_Abstract-Submission-Form.pdf) and rename it to:

e.g. PPS_t2_SMITH_Modernity-and-magazine-design-in-Bulgaria_01.pdf

Use Adobe Reader to open the form and enter your text in the fields and save the document.
(Get free Adobe Reader at:

Enter your personal data, contacts, paper title and the abstract text on page 1;
Enter your short bio on page 2 of the form;
Send your visual as separate .jpg image file(s) not larger than 2 MB each;
Your CV can be attached as a separate .pdf or .doc file.

Submit your material to: <>


Call for Participation

Abstract Submission Form


  • Deadline for all abstracts: 15 March 2012
  • Announcement of accepted participants: 15 April 2012


For details on registration fees and payment methods, please consult the symposium website:


The language of the symposium will be English.


Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Izmir University of Economics, Izmir – Turkey


  • Jilly Traganou, Associate Professor, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons The New School for Design
  • Marina Emmanouil, Lecturer, VCD (IEU)
  • Aren Kurtgözü, Assistant Professor, VCD (IEU)
  • Laurie Churchman, Assistant Professor, VCD (IEU)
  • Fulya Ertem, Assistant Professor, VCD (IEU)
  • Alessandro Segalini, Lecturer, VCD (IEU)
  • Artun Özgüner, Research Assistant (IEU)

CfP: 1st symposium on Balkan communication design histories | 29-30 June 2012 | Izmir Turkey


One Response to BALKAN LOCUS-FOCUS: 1st symposium on Balkan communication design histories | 29-30 June 2012 | Izmir Turkey

  1. Pingback: CfP: BALKAN LOCUS-FOCUS: 1st Symposium on Balkan Communication Design Histories | History Workshop

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