Lechts und Rinks: Design, Populism, New Right and Engagement

16th Annual meeting of the German Society for Design Theory and Research (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und -forschungm DGTF) | Kunsthochschule Kassel | 15-16 November 2019

The emergence of New Right movements challenge the design disciplines in ways that were previously unfamiliar, because the political success of the New Right is to a large extent based on purposeful design achievements: On efficient communication design in social media; on the subversive aestheticization of protests; and finally, on the creative coding of entire spaces. This year's DGTF conference takes these developments as an occasion to focus on the instruments of an own design discipline: What does it mean for designers to work in a society in which ethnic and nationalistic symbolic expression is achieved? In which cultural identities are evoked, ethnopluralism celebrated, and xenophobia made socially acceptable? In which political arguments intensify ideologically – and at the same time aesthetically adapt? In short, what (new) roles does design take on when advanced design solutions contribute to the rise of right-wing populist ideologies?

Divided into five thematic blocks, the conference examines the fields of action in which design practice meets forms of political radicalization. Specifically, the role of the media, the appropriation of spaces, the function of graphics and objects, as well as the organization of interactions are examined – in order to discuss the relationship between design practices and New Right ideologies. The conference will be opened by a workshop format in which the limits and possibilities of political design decisions will be practically explored.

Call for Practice | Deadline: July 31, 2019

As always, also this year's DGTF conference aims to put both theoretical and practical research approaches equally in discussion. Therefore, in addition to the speaker program, the open call invites proposals from design practitioners of all disciplines. Within this format, each contribution will have five minutes and three slides. In this way, the respective topic should be presented succinctly, encouraging further discussion. Invited are approaches, works and research projects that deal with, or provide a perspective on the topic of the conference in the broadest sense. Submissions should be guided by the question of the relationship between design practices and an identitary, nationalistic and exclusionary politics. Where and when do design works take on a progressive function? Can design act socio-politically? How can design even react to the emergence of populism? What could such a design look like? And what (new) design and media processes should then underlie it?

We look forward to proposals from all fields of design – and ask that abstracts be limited to max. half a DIN A4 page and three images. Please send submissions to: conference2019[at]dgtf.de

For further information, please contact us via: mail@dgtf.de

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