Global Arts and Cultures

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Design for the Real World Today: A Panel Discussion on Victor Papanek’s Design Manifesto and its Legacy

Panel Discussion

Friday, October 5, 2018

RISD Museum, Repair and Design Futures Exhibition

Members of the RISD community will be joined by Professor Alison J. Clarke, University of Applied Arts Vienna, to discuss Victor Papanek’s influential 1971 book Design for the Real World. Papanek challenged designers to remake their profession by questioning the imperatives of modernism and commercialism and developing a practice critically attuned to social and environmental issues around the world. Participants will dig into passages from the book and discuss the ongoing relevance of Papanek’s ideas, particularly in relation to present concerns with global exchange and environmental sustainability. Audience members are encouraged to read Design for the Real World and to bring questions and opinions.

This event is sponsored by the Division of Liberal Arts graduate programs in Global Arts and Cultures and Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies in conjunction with the Repair and Design Futures exhibition.

Image credit: The Universoty of Applied Arts Vienna, Papanek Foundation

Alison Clarke

Alison J. Clarke is a design historian and trained social anthropologist. She is chair of Design History and Theory and Director of the Victor J. Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna, and taught previously at the Royal College of Art, London. Professor Clarke’s publications include Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, which became the basis of an Emmy Award nominated PBS documentary, Design Anthropology: Object Culture in the 21st Century (2017), and Émigré Cultures in Design and Architecture (with Elana Shapira, 2017). She is currently completing a monograph for MIT Press titled Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World, as well as co-curating a related exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum, Germany.