Category: Event

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design


Victor Papanek:
The Politics of Design

Design Museum Den Bosch,
October 17 2020 – March 23 2021
Genk, Belgium,
10 March – 12 July 2020
Design Museum Barcelona,
Catalonia, Spain
31 October 2019 – 2 February 2020
Vitra Design Museum,
Weil am Rhein, Germany
29 September 2018 – 10 March 2019

Co-curated by
Prof. Alison J. Clarke ,
a co-operation with Vitra Design Museum,
Papanek Foundation
and Museu del Disseny Barcelona

The Papanek Foundation presents the international travelling exhibition Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design, co-curated and organised with Vitra Design Museum in Weil Am Rhein, Germany. The expansive show presents varied and previously unseen materials from the Papanek Foundation archive pertaining to design activist Victor Papanek’s lifelong career, highlighting the crucial theme of design as a political and social tool. Alongside the exploration of Papanek’s links with key thinkers and design figures, ranging from media theorist Marshall McLuhan, maverick futurist Buckminster Fuller to leading feminist graphic designer Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, the exhibition casts light on the legacy of 1960s and 1970s activism through the presentation of contemporary exhibits dealing with politically pertinent issues ranging from state violence, to climate change, bio-synthetics, and the precariousness of citizenship.

Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design features work from cutting edge practitioners such as: Forensic Architecture; Natsai Audrey Chieza; Flui Colectivo; Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg; Femke Herregraven; NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism/Hypen-Labs; Lucy and Jorge Orta; Tomás Saraceno; Maya Jay Varadaraj.

This exhibition is a cooperation between the Vitra Design Museum and the Barcelona Design Museum, in collaboration with the Victor J. Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna, and is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

This Time It’s Personal


This Time It’s Personal

Online Event
June 9 2021, 14:00

Carol Tulloch


This talk will look at the broader concept of making – the home, the self with a focus on one of Professor Carol Tulloch’s main research interests – people of the African diaspora and their rights to be, which often has been claimed through quiet or conscious activism. Tulloch is a writer, curator and Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism at the University of the Arts London (UAL), based at Chelsea College of Arts. She is also a member of the Transnational Art, Identity and Nation Research Centre, and Chelsea College of Arts/V&A Fellow in Black Visual and Material Culture at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Purity Security

Guest Lecture

Purity and Security: A Cultural History of Plexiglass

Online Event
May 11 2021, 16.00

Shannon Mattern


Shannon Mattern is a Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt, all published by University of Minnesota Press; and The City Is Not a Computer, forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Her talk will focus on the contentious cultural history of Plexiglass as a material intervention.

Pandemic Objects Guest Lecture

Guest Lecture

Pandemic Objects

Online Event
April 21 2021, 14.00

Brendan Cormier


This talk will focus on Pandemic Objects, an editorial project initiated by Brendan Cormier, Senior Curator, for the Victoria and Albert Museum which has been running since the first lockdown in Spring 2020. Pandemic Objects compiles and reflects on objects that have taken on new meaning and purpose during the coronavirus outbreak. During times of pandemic, a host of everyday often-overlooked ‘objects’ (in the widest possible sense of the term) are suddenly charged with new urgency. Toilet paper becomes a symbol of public panic, a forehead thermometer a tool for social control, convention centres become hospitals, while parks become contested public commodities. By compiling these objects and reflecting on their changing purpose and meaning, Pandemic Objects aims to paint a unique picture of the pandemic and the pivotal role objects play within it.

Lecture Design for the Real World?


Design for the Real World?

Design Museum Den Bosch,
the Netherlands,
16 October 2020,
17.00 & 19.00

Prof. Alison J. Clarke

On the occasion of the opening of Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design at Design Museum Den Bosch, the exhibition initiator and co-curator, Alison J. Clarke, overturns the notion that socially responsible and sustainable design emerged from the counterculture and alternative politics of the late 1960s. Casting a critical light on the current social design movement, she reveals the macropolitics and neocolonial history in which it is embedded: the subject of her forthcoming monograph, Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World (MIT Press, 2021.)

Lecture Ecology and the Sociotechnics of Design


Ecology and the Sociotechnics of Design

C-Mine, Genk, Belgium
6 March 2020, 18.00

Prof. Alison J. Clarke

Further Information

This lecture explores how ”environment” and “ecology” emerged as key drivers of a newly honed politics of design in the 1970s. Clarke argues that the vision of social, environmental and transdisciplinary design, far from being part of a liberal progressive discourse, had its origins in the sociotechnics of Cold War experimentation.