Cross(-)abilities in Design

11-12 May 2017
Venue: Yaşar University
Keynote Speaker: Christina Varvia

In the context of representing the other Gayatri Spivak once said: “And I don’t think, really that we will solve the problem today talking to each other; but, on the other hand I think it has to be kept alive as a problem.” it cultural The statement can be applied to many contexts of identification. Be, disciplinary, or individual identities, boundaries that define them are constructed rather than given. Contrary to essentialist claims, they need to be constantly questioned, deconstructed, and re-formed. This year’s symposium will question the boundaries of design and the possibilities to cross-over those boundaries. Hence the title, Cross (-) abilities in Design. It is possible to read the term crossabilities in two different ways. First as “Cross-abilities in Design”, looking at the boundaries, norms and taboos in design practice, discourse and education. The second as “Cross-abilities in Design” investigating the partnerships and the changing focus of design disciplines in a global context. In both cases the use of the term “design” is meant to evoke an identity category rather than an a-priori corpus. In exploring the problematic boundaries of design, encountering these two contested attributions are unavoidable. In this symposium, we would like to invite papers that question both attributions and keep this duality as a problem.

The conference has three strands:


Crossing Cultures

With a concentration on the global and local contexts as well as glocal creations:

How can design turn into an emancipatory practice by questioning cultural norms

How are design discourses translated across cultures?

How can cultural difference, rather than diversity, be productively mobilized in design education?


Crossing Disciplines

With a concentration on multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary studies and practices in areas related to design:

How are design discourses affected by other disciplinary discourses?

How are the boundaries of design set in professional and educational institutions?

What are the limits of interdisciplinary collaborations in design practices?


Crossing Subjectivities

With a concentration on the user and designer profiles: 

How do cultural generalizations, prejudices and stereotypes on identity affect design practices?

How can inclusive and accessible design be approached and broadened across different design disciplines?

How can the question of agency be addressed within design disciplines?


Organizing Committee

Tevfik Balcıoğlu, Gülsüm Baydar, Şebnem Yücel, Ahenk Yılmaz, Ömer Durmaz, Ö. Osman Demirbaş, Gökhan Mura, A. Can Özcan, Dilek Himam, Gökçeçiçek Savaşır, Özlem Taşkın Erten