13th Sep 2012 - 15th Sep 2012
The Design History Society's 2012 international conference, 'The Material Culture of Sport', is being convened by Paul Jobling from the Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton and will take place 13-15 September 2012. It will be the fourth time that Brighton has played host to the DHS annual conference, following on from those in 1977, 1987 and 1997. In fact, the theme of the 1977 conference, 'Design History: Fad or function?', was the inaugural event for the Design History Society itself. The 2012 Conference is another DHS landmark, insofar as it coincides with both the 2012 Olympics and Cultural Olympiad and the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Design History. More importantly, it is a timely opportunity for design history to engage with and debate a subject area that it has largely overlooked, and an opportunity to contest ideas such as Nick Hornby's that, '… football is necessarily about movement, athleticism, fleeting moments and huge crowds; a couple of old medals, a few international caps and a pile of old programmes … hardly capture the essence of the game.’
In fact, although it coincides with and complements the 2012 London Olympic Games and Cultural Olympiad, the conference does not simply celebrate the Olympics ethos or deal exclusively with the material culture of the Games. Rather, it embraces research in the material culture of professional and amateur sport in all its manifestations, from and across different historical periods, and from various theoretical and methodological perspectives. Accordingly, the conference includes original papers from some 60 international speakers, ranging over themes such as sport and urban space; heritage and renewal; design and sports technology; advertising and sports brands; poster design; fashion and sports clothing; sculpture and statues; trophies and medals; museology and collecting; the Cold War; and national and ethnic identities. There are panels concerning: sport and film; the Olympic Games and global design networks; sporting style and fashionable bodies; sport statues; and the material culture of football and rugby.
Three keynote speakers will headline the conference. Opening the 2012 DHS conference, is Christopher Young (University of Cambridge) who will speak to the title of The Architecture, Design and Ceremony of the Munich 1972 Games. On the 14 September, Iain McRury (University of East London) will speak about the symbolism of sports mascots, and closing the conference, Iain Sinclair (author of Ghost Milk: Calling Time on the Grand Project) will reflect on ‘Heritage and the throwaway impermanence of the present’.
There are also two gala events for delegates attending the conference. The first is The Design History Society Welcome Reception, which will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Journal of Design History and be held in Brighton Museum, on the evening of Thursday, 13 September. The second, a hot buffet and drinks with catering by the acclaimed ecological restaurant Arch 139 (formerly, Due South), will take place in the Banqueting Room and Great Kitchen of the Royal Pavilion, on Friday, 14 September.
Full booking details for these events and the conference itself can be found at:
Header design by Ness Woods, 2012
The DHS 2012 conference, 'The Material Culture of Sport', convened by Paul Jobling at the University of Brighton, was a very successful event. Delegates who attended from the UK and overseas responded in positive – and even glowing terms – about the smooth-running of the conference and the stimulating content of the programme as well as the hospitality they received. One wrote that it was the 'perfect combination of conviviality and debate', and another that it was 'such a beautifully organized and intellectually challenging event'. The final budget resulted in a respectable surplus, which is to be used by the DHS to help fund student bursaries for conference attendance in the future.
The conference was a DHS landmark, insofar as it coincided with both the 2012 Olympics/Paralympics and Cultural Olympiad and the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Design History. It included original papers from more than 50 international speakers, ranging over themes concerning: architecture, sports stadia and arenas; the urban environment and psycho-geography; design and sports technology; advertising; graphic design; fashion and sports clothing; film; sculpture, statues, trophies and medals; collecting; and gender and national identities. There were four keynote speakers, each of whom addressed the pros and cons of the impact of the material culture of sport on social and urban spaces that enabled a summative debate about such issues. Paul Jobling is currently planning an anthology of 22 of the conference papers, with a view to publication in 2014.
A complementary exhibition, 'Graphic Design and the Olympic Games', curated by Paul Jobling, showcased selected posters and graphic systems from the Icograda holdings in the University of Brighton Design Archives for Tokyo (1964), Mexico (1968), Munich (1972), Montreal (1976) and Seoul (1988).
Finally, there were two social events for delegates attending the conference. The Design History Society Welcome Reception, held in the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, also celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Journal of Design History, while the gala dinner with catering by the acclaimed ecological restaurant Due South was held in the Banqueting Room and Great Kitchen of the Royal Pavilion.