DESIGN LATITUDES: An exhibition mapping the innovations, influences and future directions of design studies in the north

Dates: May 12 to June 6, 2015 (Reception: May 21, 7 to 10 pm)
Location: Fine Arts Building Gallery, University of Alberta, Edmonton (53.53° N), Canada
Deadline for proposals: 6 February 2015

An exhibition mapping the innovations, influences and future directions of design studies in the north

This exhibition is part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Department of Art & Design at the University of Alberta.

The Design Latitudes exhibition explores shifts of ‘latitude’ and frontiers of ‘north’ in relation to our interdisciplinary Design Studies program at the University of Alberta, which connects design education to research, practice, industry and community engagement. ‘Latitude’ encompasses both geographical context as well as breadth of freedom of action or thought. ‘North’ is bordered geographically, framed in opposition, and conceptualized through a diversity of lenses, experiences and spaces. This exhibition will reflect on, articulate and critique aspects of design education by documenting our past, situating our present and envisioning our future possibilities. Beyond looking at the legacy and prospects of our own program, we hope that Design Latitudes will generate dialogue and debate on how to equip designers to meet the needs of communities in the north and beyond.

We invite submissions from students, graduates, faculty, instructors and design professionals affiliated with or connected in any way to Design Studies in Industrial Design and Visual Communication Design at the University of Alberta.

We are seeking innovative submissions that challenge, conceptualize, critique, embody, examine, explore, interrogate, propose, reflect on and reveal a wide array of frameworks for design studies in the ‘north’.

We are especially looking for projects that:

  • Connect designers’ ways of thinking with cultural ways of knowing
  • Equip designers to meet people’s needs through cross-cultural collaborations
  • Challenge imported education models
  • Demonstrates how design supports biodiversity
  • Offer perspectives on spirituality and design
  • Engage with environmental, societal, political issues
  • Transform spaces of communication through design
  • Embrace pluralistic and intercultural approaches to design
  • Explore tacit ‘northern’ knowledge versus tacit ‘design’ knowledge
  • Interrogate the idea of sustainable design education
  • Explore different economies

We are especially looking for projects that:

  • Demarcate the frontiers of design education
  • Document unique aspects of design education, research, practice, industry and community engagement in the north
  • Assess the influence of geographical context in design problems and solutions
  • Investigate the role and responsibility of designers with respect to northern ecologies
  • Consider northern introspections: Which north? Whose north? Where is north?
  • Investigate how design in the south contrasts with design in the north
  • Deal with sustainability in the north (social, economic and environmental)
  • Uncover the hidden dimensions of design in the north
  • Explore the necessary characteristics of northern designers
  • Document the development of design curriculum to meet the needs of people in Canada’s north and in other northern locations
  • Envision the future of design and/in the north
  • Investigate the existence of genres of northern design
  • Demonstrate the influence of northern design globally
  • Employ northern technologies
  • Reveal and critique northern design discourses

We imagine submissions of student, professional, research and community design work that could include print, digital, time-based, motion, installation, interactive, 3D and integrated formats and media. We also welcome work that aligns to the general call that we have not yet imagined.

Proposals should include:

  • your contact information (name and email);
  • your connection to the Design Studies program at the University of Alberta;
  • the title of your project;
  • a 300-word description relating your project to the exhibition themes; and
  • relevant images of your project.

Submit your proposal, including images, in Word or PDF formats to

Work will be shown in the exhibition and related public spaces, on the Design Latitudes website, and in other exhibition documentation.

Note: All work must be submitted with the permission of participants, collaborators, community partners and clients, as appropriate. Exhibitors will be responsible for all shipping and insurance costs.


6 February 2015: Deadline for proposals

13 February 2015: Notification of adjudication results

17 April 2015: Deadline for sending accepted projects for inclusion in the exhibition

21 May 2015: Reception from 7 pm to 10 pm at the Fine Arts Building Gallery


For questions about your submission, please contact

For further information about Design Latitudes, contact Bonnie Sadler Takach ( or Aidan Rowe (

Visit for updated information about the Design Latitudes exhibition and the Counterpoints panel discussion to be held on May 21, 2015.

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