Istanbul 2002

Mind the Map:
Design History Beyond Borders


The first International Design History Conference organised in Barcelona in 1999 has opened a window for the design history debate towards wider horizons incorporating many countries.

This international dimension of the debate reached a bigger spectrum in the Havana Conference in June 2000, thanks to the increased number of contributors. The delegates explored the Conference theme, 'The Emergence of Regional Histories' in depth and witnessed the vicissitude of approaches as well as the emergence of a common ground for mutual understanding and agreement on several issues.

The success of both Conferences has found their best expression with participants wishing follow up meetings, which have been briefly discussed and Istanbul has been shown as a destination for the third Conference. The desire for a world wide design history talk was so promising that the Istanbul Conference may enable us to establish a network, could even be an informal/formal body discussing and developing the subject further with international co-operation and academic solidarity.


Academics, scholars, educators, designers, design writers and critics, researchers and research degree students are expected to form the backbone of the Conference and create an atmosphere of profound debate (plus 'fun and laughter', hopefully...). The Conference is also open to other audiences and especially to design students who are likely to be offered a subsidised reduced rate.


The last quarter of the 20th Century has witnessed the rapid development of Design Historiography coinciding with the emergence of information networks and globalisation. The issue of design discipline, design studies and design knowledge has been well discussed in the Anglo-Saxon World and has reached saturation point today. Nevertheless the nature of design history still requires substantial debate which is now being enriched by those matters derived from, local/regional/peripheral interests and concerns.

Design history has extended its contents by including various subjects such as Colonialism, the impact of import products and industries in developing countries; traditional crafts and the threat they were subjected to due to globalisation, the potentials of new industrialised countries and so on.

The development of design history in those areas hitherto not studied or not widely known, offers new items for the agenda of unresolved issues. Probably what adds to the attributes of Design History is that it is not only 'factual' but also heavily 'functional', and perhaps, this makes it loaded with more burdens than one could expect. From this spectrum of challenging and recently surfaced questions, the Conference aims to explore the rocky territory of design history with cautious and maybe carefully engineered visits to borders, if they exist.


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[PDF] Mind the Map. Presentation to the Proceedings Book, Tevfik Balcioğlu