Mini-symposium 'Design & Fashion Historiographies in the Netherlands'

Mini-symposium 'Design & Fashion Historiographies in the Netherlands'

Wednesday, 11 December, 17.00 – 19.00 hrs at the VU University Amsterdam, room HG14a-33 (in the main building), De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV Amsterdam

This mini-symposium is organised by the MA Design Cultures VU University and the Design and Fashion Platform of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA). Entrance is free, but seats are limited! Please RSVP:

Recently, design and fashion are becoming increasingly accepted subjects of study in Dutch universities. This academic institutionalization raises questions as to the disciplines' pasts. We can identify two parallel but unconnected historiographies, i.e. the first elaborating on product and graphic design simultaneously and the second on fashion design. How has design and fashion been researched in the Netherlands? According to which theoretical and methodological traditions and in which institutional settings? Why did they develop independently of each other and why have not they yet merged? In which ways do Dutch historiographies of design and fashion differ from canonical (British) design historiography?

These topics will be explored at the mini-symposium "Design and Fashion Historiographies in the Netherlands." Building on the lectures on Dutch design historiography organized by the Design History Society Netherlands in 2012, two keynote speakers will delve into design and fashion historiographies in the Netherlands, which will be further elaborated during a round table discussion with experts representing different facets of the field. The aim of this meeting is to explore, together with the participants, the breadth of the fields as well as the interest in further investigating their pasts today.

Keynote speakers
- Prof dr Anneke Smelik (Radboud University Nijmegen)
- Dr Frederike Huygen (independent scholar)

Round table participants
- Dr Ellinoor Bergvelt (University of Amsterdam)
- Dr Christine Delhaye (University of Amsterdam)
- Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez (VU University Amsterdam)
- Dr Grace Lees-Maffei (VU University Amsterdam, Hertfordshire University) - Drs Joana Ozorio de Almeida Meroz (VU University Amsterdam)

- Yara Cavalcanti Araujo (VU University Amsterdam)

Participant Biographies

Prof Anneke Smelik writes about film, fashion and media and has published over a dozen books and over a hundred articles. She is project leader of two NWO-programmes on fashion: 'Dutch Fashion in a Globalized World', and 'Crafting Wearables'. She researches how the image of the body changes in visual culture and in fashion, through changed norms about beauty and perfection, or through an increasing approximation between humans and machine, as e.g. in fashionable technology, science fiction films or digital photography. She develops new theoretical approaches to fashion studies from a materialist and a deleuzean perspective. She is at present the coordinator of a new master programme on Creative Industries at the Radboud University Nijmegen.

Dr Frederike Huygen studied art history in Leiden and Amsterdam with a specialisation in design. In the early 1980s she became curator at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam where she built a collection on design and organized exhibitions. She was also editor of the magazine Items and published many articles and books. Since 1996 Huygen works as freelance researcher and writer. In 2013 she received her doctoral degree on a dissertation about the graphic designer Jurriaan Schrofer.

Dr Ellinoor Bergvelt is a specialist on collections, museums and (interior) design. See: ‘Van art decowerkgroep (1971-72) naar batikproject (2012), theorie en praktijk van wetenschappelijk onderzoek’ (since 1 February 2013). She was (co-) editor of Van neorenaissance tot postmodernisme (1996); Industrie en vormgeving in Nederland 1850-1950/Industry and Design in the Netherlands (1985-1986); 80 jaar wonen in het Stedelijk (1981); Goed Wonen. Een Nederlandse wooncultuur 1946-1968 (1979); Amsterdamse School. Nederlandse architectuur 1910-1930 (1975). Recently she has been working on the global influence of batik since the 19th century (Batik as an example of cultural crossovers – Dutch East-Indies / Indonesia – the Netherlands – West-Africa – Yinka Shonibare); an article on that subject will be published in an Encyclopedia of Asian Design by Bloomsbury (Berg) in 2015.

Dr Christine Delhaye is Lecturer in Cultural Theory and Policy in the Cultural Studies programme, Department of Arts, Religion and Culture at the University of Amsterdam, where she is program chair of the MA Cultural Studies. She teaches courses on cultural theory and cultural policy. Since last year she also teaches the Fashion theory course. Her fields of research are situated at the intersection of cultural globalization, urban cultures and fashion. Last year she published, together with Ellinoor Bergvelt the article 'Fashion exhibitions in the Netherlands: between visual spectacles and community outreach’ in: Fashion Theory: The journal of Dress, Body & Culture, 2012. As from this academic year onwards, she is also co-ordinator of the research group Fashion/representations in global context in the Faculty of Humanities.

Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez is Assistant Professor at the VU University Amsterdam. His research interests encompass design and fashion as related with consumption, gender and national identity. Since the end of his PhD, he has been conducting research on the shifting cultural status of industrial design and craft from the 1950s up to today with Belgium as case study. Industrial design, as cultural activity, was considered during the 1960s as an edge phenomenon of the crafts industry. Conversely, craft was often related to the field of sculpture. However, design has gradually taken over the leading role and by the 1990s craft activity was moved to the background. Designers or design critics are not the only active agents that shape the design landscape, but also the institutions for design promotion disseminated their own concepts on applied arts and design. Museums, award schemes and state-funded institutions are studied as actors that shape and reshape the perception of design and craft. This research was funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders from 2007 to 2010.

Dr Grace Lees-Maffei is Visiting Professor of Design History and Theory in the MA Design Cultures, where she teaches the course 'Design, History and Culture'. She is also Reader in Design History at the University of Hertfordshire, coordinator of the Theorising Visual Art and Design (TVAD) Research Group in its work on relationships between text, narrative and image and Managing Editor of the Journal of Design History. Grace’s research interests centre upon the mediation of design, through channels including domestic advice literature, corporate literature, advertising and magazines. Dr Lees-Maffei is author of Design at Home: Domestic Advice Books in Britain and the US since 1945 (Routledge, 2013), editor of Writing Design: Words and Objects (Berg, 2011) and Iconic Designs: 50 Stories about 50 Things (Bloomsbury, 2014) and co-editor of Made in Italy: Rethinking a Century of Italian Design (Bloomsbury, 2013) and The Design History Reader (Berg, 2010).

Drs Joana Ozorio de Almeida Meroz is a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Design Cultures department of the VU University Amsterdam. Her research project, "A History of the Construction of the Idea of 'Dutch Design' (1970-2012)," advances from the premise that Dutch Design is the product of a discursive construction rather than the natural result of a 'typically Dutch' identity or culture. Accordingly, the research traces the development of ideas about Dutch Design as well as the actors involved in the production and institutionalisation of those ideas, particularly in relation to Dutch international cultural policy. This research is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) programme Mosaic. She also supervises MA theses and co-teaches "The Arts and Crafts of Dutch Design," and the Design module of the BA "Media, Kunst, Design en Architectuur."


The Design and Fashion Platform of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA) In contemporary culture design and fashion continue to grow in importance and popularity. However, design and fashion have long been neglected by the Arts and Humanities as a field of academic study. The Design and Fashion Cultures Platform aims to encourage academic interest and research in design and fashion as they are embedded in their cultural and material contexts. The focus will be on the study of product design, graphic design, and fashion, taking into account the complex, globalised, chain of production, sale, and consumption. The Platform also wishes to explore the wider cultural field in which design and fashion operate and the ways in which they become meaningful and even constitutive of consumer’s identities. The platform combines theoretical, historical and comparative approaches to design and fashion, and welcomes all researchers and students interested in the field. Organizers: Anneke Smelik (Radboud University Nijmegen), Javier Gimeno-Martínez (VU University Amsterdam) and Joana Ozorio de Almeida Meroz (VU University Amsterdam).

The Master Design Cultures, VU University Amsterdam Since 1 September 2010, the Faculty of Arts of VU University Amsterdam, offers the first fully accredited, internationally oriented Master’s programme Design Cultures. The MA programme Design Cultures is all about the study of product design, graphic design and fashion in a broad diverse cultural context. The focus is on both the designer as ‘author’ and the complex chain of production, sale, consumption and criticism in which design operates and derives its many different meanings. Design Cultures restores design as the core object of academic interest without detracting from the cultural and material context in which it operates. The programme combines a generalist, comparative approach to design with a clear focus on history and theory.

Looking Good? Aesthetics and Iconicity in Design History

Looking Good? Aesthetics and Iconicity in Design History

Poster Sessions – A Design Historian Reflects

Poster Sessions – A Design Historian Reflects