Design Culture and Somaesthetics: Conference in dialogue between post-disciplinary fields

17-10-2018

Call for Papers

In the recent past, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research has provided remarkable
progress and development within the humanities and social sciences. The early phase of this
development witnessed preliminary dialogues between separate disciplines and their
representatives who have gathered to discuss common interests. The initial goal was to
understand each other, to recognize common topics of research. This phase induced
productive dialogues but did not lead to long lasting, organized post-disciplinary projects, let
alone integrative conceptual frameworks.
The latter only started in a second phase, when emerging post-disciplinary fields began to
make suggestions for research platforms that were more defined and methodologically better
founded. Somaesthetics, initiated by Richard Shusterman, and design culture studies,
initiated by Guy Julier among others, are two among these most promising new postdisciplines.
Design discourses, practices and products that are constituted in the synergy of all our senses
are the protagonists of design culture studies that takes design culture as a flow of cultural
products produced by social practices and reflected in cultural discourses. To Julier’s mind,
design culture as an object of study includes both the material and immaterial aspects of
everyday life. At the same time, somaesthetics explores and reconceptualizes the focal pointand ultimate reference of human environments, products, practices and discourses, namely,
the embodied experience. Whereas somaesthetics reflects the pragmatist understanding of
philosophy as a means of improving experience through a reflective art of living, it defines
itself as a tool for designing good life. According to Shusterman, somaesthetics is the critical,
meliorative study of the experience and the use of one’s body as a locus of sensory-aesthetic
appreciation and creative self-fashioning devoted to the knowledge, discourses and
disciplines that structure such somatic care or can improve it.
Both design culture studies and somaesthetics are interested in body-mind interactions and
both include theory, methodology and practice alike within their action radius.
The purpose of this conference is to take a step backward and address design theorists,
philosophers, anthropologists, aestheticians, social scientists, healthcare professionals,
technology experts, artists, designers and educators to discuss the parallel and
complementary possibilities of these post-disciplinary approaches in the spirit of initial
dialogue and pragmatic goodwill in order to create platforms of fulfilling and fruitful future
collaborations.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
– Somaesthetic aspects of user experience
– Virtual reality, immersive technologies
– Posthumanism, Artificial intelligence and embodiedness
– Human-computer interaction
– Ambient experience design
– Atmospheres in human environments
– Social body and experience society
– Everyday aesthetics
– Object biography, material memory and material engagement

We are expecting original and unpublished articles. A selection of the papers will be
published in the forthcoming issues of the peer-reviewed, online, academic research journals
The Journal of Somaesthetics and Pragmatism Today or in a volume on somaesthetics and
design based on the conference and published in the Brill series Studies in Somaesthetics.
Online Submission and further details: http://doktori.mome.hu/conference-2019/?lang=en