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CFP: It Wasn’t Written: International Symposium on designerly-ways of Historiography

February 19 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

New York, September 5 th , 2018

Call for Papers

In the past decades there has been a lot of discussion about the construction and impact of history. Historians claim to have overcome teleological narratives, moving away from grand narratives and challenging the white-male canon in order to decolonize and diversify. Histories, however, have not only been constructed from words but also designed in various media in different dimensions. What happens when the past is given a particular form? How do designers interpret historical information and, by doing so, shape our knowledge of the past and its impact on the future? The symposium focusses on historiographic dimensions of design in both the creation and the reception of history. It aims at discussing how specific knowledge, methods and elements of design are used to create histories, how they differ from each other and from written and oral histories, and how they create different trajectories for the future (Dilnot 2015).

Possible contributions will analyze the construction and dissemination of historical narratives in visualizations (such as timelines or genealogies), publications (such as history books), exhibitions (such as retrospectives), and software (such as history apps or digital timelines).

How does their design affect our understanding of history (and thereby future and time in general)? Already a simple artifact such as a timeline communicates much more than historical data. By placing events on a single line, time is given a teleological notion, whereas detours, parallelisms, discontinuities, shifts and other aspects can hardly be visualized. After an introductory keynote, the symposium will be organized in four panels – Visualizations, Publications, Exhibitions and Software –, bringing together invited contributions from established researchers and papers via an open call. We invite proposals for individual papers of 20 minutes in particular, but not exclusively, from the following fields: history, visual history, design history, cultural studies, digital humanities, editorial design, exhibition design, interaction design, and information design.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit the proposal for your contribution in English no later than Monday,

February 19th, 2018, including:

● Title of the panel (Visualizations, Publications, Exhibitions or Software).

● Title of the paper.

● Author’s full name, title, position, and institution.

● Abstract of the paper (not exceeding 500 words).

● Keywords.

● Brief professional biography (not exceeding 200 words).

Papers must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference.

Proposals will be double-blind reviewed and selected by the conference committee.

The proposal must be in PDF format (file extension .pdf). Upload your proposal to:


All questions about submissions should be emailed to: itwasntwritten@mailbox.org


Julia Meer (Humboldt University in Berlin, visiting researcher at the MIT)

Robert Lzicar (Bern University of the Arts HKB)

Invited Speakers

· Keynote: Clive Dilnot, Professor of Design Studies in the School of Art and Design History

and Theory, The New School / Parsons

· Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design,

The Museum of Modern Art (tbc.)

· Daniel Rosenberg, Professor of History, University of Oregon (tbc.)

· Teal Triggs, Associate Dean, School of Communication, Royal College of Art

· Johanna Drucker, Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies, University of California,

Los Angeles

· Jeremy Aynsley, Head of the Research Cluster Internationalising Design History,

University of Brighton

· Orit Halpern, Associate Professor of Interactive Design in the Department of Sociology and

Anthropology, Concordia University, Montréal

· Frédéric Kaplan, Professor in Digital Humanities, École Polytechnique Fédérale de

Lausanne EPFL (tbc.)

Venue: The conference will be held at the MoMA in New York.

Sponsors: Volkswagenstiftung, swissnex Boston


February 19
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category: