Designa 2012: Un/Sustainability (Nov 2012, Portugal)

Location: University of Beira Interior, Portugal
Dates: 22-23 Nov 2012
Deadline for submissions: 30 Sep 2012

The word sustainability brings us echoes, arriving from the most diverse sources, from a contemporary speech centered in the desirable evolution of a simultaneously political, economical, environmental and, of course, cultural conscience regarding the impact of man’s changing presence and action in the world. Therefore, the concept emerges in association with an increasing insistence on practices that define – and are defined by – design.

To think design from sustainability, DESIGNA’s second edition theme, contemplates the need to reflect on design’s role and responsibility in a complex system dictated by the tensions of a liberal economy built over hegemonic-predisposed production and communication mechanisms, formatted to a worldwide scale throughout the last decades. The complexity of this system reflects the itinerary of an industrial and technological society towards a world apparently ruled by information, reflecting not only the course of design itself, but also its leadership in the definition of production and consumption logics set upon a philosophy of project whose ambition easily abandons the object’s confined universe (in its most distinctive configurations) to set foot in the creation of the total environment that frames it.

Even if the market’s expansion demands the industry and therefore design to, together with the satisfaction of consumer’s needs, diversify forms and explore the superfluous in order to create an economic value that will end up generating a culture of dissatisfaction and squander, nonetheless last decades have been promoting a speech increasingly defined by rationalization and resource management strategies. As a result, designers are confronted with a new challenged, outlined by optimization and concession, within which they are led to think themselves as a sort of social programmers, trying to articulate ecological logics and practices able to redefine production from a new table of principles – such as recycling, non pollution, durability, efficiency, maximum advantage and minimum impact – and, consequently, (re)establishing the balance among the market’s needs, production’s possibilities, consumer’s satisfaction and the environment.

Therefore, it’s not difficult to apprehend the uneasiness and apprehension that come with considering the role of design in a society still abounding of an euphoric, misguided and naïf belief in the unstoppable character of technological progress, so many times defined by mere entertainment. DESIGNA 2012 would thus like to contribute to criticize that role, pointing the cultural debate to the project’s teleology and leading the scientific community, once again, to a joint reflection about the possibility (or impossibility) or a “nicer, more humane, domestic, habitable, tolerant and pleasant” design that reflects a sort of collective intelligentsia, as established by Medelín’s Maniphesto, in 2002.

Following several initiatives promoted in order to alert designers to their responsibilities in a world under permanent construction, DESIGNA’s second edition aims to contribute to that debate in the fields where innovation assumes more pertinence. That will be the main goal of this international conference: to use the academic stage to question and expose the thoughts of design’s community (made as much of those who practice it professionally as of those who take interest and think about it critically and scientifically) about the questions awaken by globalization and economic strategies based upon continuous growth without considering their implications in people’s life quality or in the environmental balance.

After our first edition’s excellent results, it’s with great expectations that DESIGNA’s organizing team look forward to the contribution of all those wishing to think about the dichotomist un/sustainability. Let’s all gather November 22 and 23 at the University of Beira Interior.

ARTICLES SUBMISSION (Double blind referee)
The organization of DESIGNA 2012 – International Conference on Design Research, devoted to the subject un / sustainability, calls for proposals of original communications with a seminal propensity, to frame within the following thematic panels:
(1) Communication
(2) Multimedia
(3) Product
(4) Fashion
(5) Theory
(6) Education

Abstract (.rtf, .doc or .odt) – The proposals, to a maximum of 1000 words, should include title, subject and relevance of the same hypothesis or question that the autor(s) want to explore, conceptual framework and methodology, expected results and up to 5 keywords.

Submission – The summary / abstract must be submitted electronically through the platform of DESIGNA site submissions, which will assign an identification code in order to be distributed to two scientific reviewers under guarantee of anonymity.

Arbitration criteria – The scientific committee of referees declines all proposals that do not demonstrate relevance, originality and appropriateness to the theme and purpose of the conference.

Poster – To those proposals wich are not selected in the form of oral communication, but still meet the criteria listed for arbitration will be given the opportunity to integrate the program of the conference in a poster format.

Working languages – Portuguese, English and Castilian.

Presentation – The presentation of oral communications at the conference shall be prepared for 15 minutes.

Full article – The full text of the paper presented should be sent to the organization within one month after the date of the conference, according to their own rules, to be made in due course. Failure to comply with this deadline will lead to the exclusion of the article in the publication of the final proceedings of the conference.

General registration fee, including authors: 50 €
Students (1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles): 25 €
The instructions on payment procedures and other steps taken are in the site

20/05 – Opening of the Call for Papers
31/09 – Submission of the abstract
30/10 – Notification of acceptance
01/11 – Publication of the final program
22-23/11 – Conference

1. The deadline for submission of proposals for communication will not be extended.
2. The publication in paper or electronic form of the proceedings entails the payment of any fee, in addition to conference registration.
3. Sending communications requires the transfer of tacit publication rights to the University of Beira Interior.
4. Obtaining permission to publish the images is the responsibility of the authors.

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

One Response to Designa 2012: Un/Sustainability (Nov 2012, Portugal)

  1. Francisco Paiva says:

    Thanks a lot, Fil! You’re welcome.

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