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Women Design : Day 1

December 2018 marks 100 years since the first general election in which a percentage of women voted for the first time in the UK. In commemoration of the suffragettes’ ultimate victory, and as a stark reminder of the need to improve gender equality in the industry, Libby Sellers and the Design Museum host a two-day series of talks on women in design.

What to expect

We might think that women’s voices are echoing around the world right now, yet in design debates, conferences and talks, women are underrepresented. Women make up nearly three-quarters of the design student population at colleges and universities, yet this figure drops dramatically to less than one quarter when it comes to the senior figures in the design industry.

Through exploring historical injustices, and analysing contemporary design culture, Women Design hopes to create a difference in the representation of women in design. This two-day series of talks and debates features lectures, conversations and round table discussions by leading practitioners, curators, educators and critics. Topics will include the gendering of history, the role of education and mentoring, diversity and inclusion in design and the prospect of a genderless future.

Desktop Exhibition 'Gender & Technology’, for the ‘Is Technology Sexist’ symposium at Institut Kunst Basel, October 2017

Casa de Vidro_LBB_SãoPaulo_1951

Exhibition view 'Room With Its Own Rules’ curated by Matylda Krzykowski for Chamber. Work by Studio Berg, Ana Kraš and Gun Gordillo

Hella Jongerius. Photo by Luke Hayes.

Charlotte Perriand. Chaise portrait.

Zaha Hadid portrait, Architechture and Design, the Design Museum. Photo by Luke Hayes


10.30 Refreshments
Teas & Coffees floor -1

10.50 Introduction:
Libby Sellers and Sumitra Upham.

11.00 Soane Medal Lecture: Denise Scott Brown
A pre-recorded lecture by Denise Scott Brown commissioned by the Sir John Soane’s Museum on the occasion of for the Soane Medal 2018 ceremony.

12.00 Keynote Lecture: Built Gendering
World-renowned sociologist Saskia Sassen discusses how and why urban planning is not gender neutral.

13.00 Lunch Break

14.00 Panel Discussion: Gender Biased Historiography
A panel of curators and design historians reflect on the work of pioneering female designers including Lina Bo Bardi, Anni Albers, Ray Eames and other prominent figures who have been overlooked in design history.
Chair: Pat Kirkham, Professor at Kingston University and Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts.
Ann Coxon, Curator: Displays and International Art at Tate Modern.
Noemi Blager, architect and curator.
Tulga Beyerle, Director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum.

15.15 Tea Break

16.00 Conversation: Gendered Technologies
How are new technologies challenging gender identity and forging new gender politics? Writer and researcher Tamar Shafrir in conversation with queer and nonbinary, feminist designer Gabriel A. Maher will discuss the potential of new technologies for designers.

17.00 Endnote Lecture: Designing the Impossible
Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun is an award-winning director and designer of experiences. In this lecture/ discussion, she shares how she is using the ‘design of experiences’ as a tool to disrupt social hierarchies in the creative and space science industry.

17.45 Closing Comments
Libby Sellers and Sumitra Upham.

18.00 Designers in Residence Showcase
The outstanding candidates selected for this year’s Designers in Residence programme are all women. Following the symposium, guests are invited to attend the opening of the Designer in in Residence Showcase to meet and view the work of Ella Bulley, Hester Buck, Legrand Jäger and Helga Schmid.

18.30 Legrand Jäger Performance
The Design Museum ground floor atrium

20.00 Event Ends

Booking information

Adult: £20

Student/Concession: £15

Members: £15

Two-day pass Save on this ticket for both days of the "Women Design" event (Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December).

Related event

Women Design: Day 2

Find out more about day two of Women Design and see the full programme.

Background image | Exhibition view 'Room With Its Own Rules’ curated by Matylda Krzykowski for Chamber. Work by Mimi Jung, Lindsey Adelman, Buro Belén and Mira Nakashima.