The European Province and its significance for design histories

Jonathan Woodham

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Our current understanding of design and the history of design fails to encompass design activity in more than a modest percentage of the 200 or so countries in the world. It has been dominated by research into the design activities of those belonging to the first industrialised world and has largely fallen in line with the general preoccupation of design commentators and historians in its concentration on free-market, rather than socialist, economies. Analysis of mainstream histories of design has largely shown them to be restricted to narratives that embrace between 5 and 10% of the world’s countries. Representatives of a number of European countries contributed to a round table discussion with a series of short papers (of which this was one) that considered a number of key questions about what has been termed the ‘European Province’ and its significance for design history . This paper also drew attention to the difficulties for research into the design ethos of a number of countries where access to primary source materials is considerably restricted by the small number of speakers of the language. This has often been exacerbated by a lack of official recognition of the potential importance of design history as offering unique cultural, social, economic, political and technological understandings of national identity and change and, as a consequence, restricted opportunities for employment in the higher education and museum sectors and for the preservation, organisation and development of archival sources.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014
Event9th International Committee Design History and Design Studies - University of Aveiro, 8-11 July 2014
Duration: 1 Jul 2014 → …


Conference9th International Committee Design History and Design Studies
Period1/07/14 → …


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