Invitation to a Symposium | A Woman’s Work

18 December 2018

[Translate to English:] A Woman's Work 1

Curated by Foreign Legion, Vera Sacchetti and Matylda Krzykowski, “A Woman's Work” is a symposium organized as a complement to the "Against Invisibility" exhibition, which focuses on the forgotten stories of the female designers of the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau. Taking the exhibition as a starting point, “A Woman’s Work” examines the contemporary, in order to shed light on the invisibility of the female practitioner as it continues to exist today.

Structured in three parts – 'Advocates of History', 'Enablers of Visibility' and 'Dismantlers of Existing Conditions' – the symposium brings together a wide range of practitioners, scholars, writers, critics and curators based in different parts of Europe, aiming to offer transversal, multigenerational and diverse perspectives on the present and the future of female practice. Throughout the course of one day, conversations will take place in a variety of formats, creating platforms for exchange and connection. A Woman’s Work aims to bring women in and around design, art and architecture to the fore, advocating for their visibility to become a permanent condition.

Tulga Beyerle, Director of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (former Director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum): “Right from the beginning, it was important to me to examine and address the topic of invisibility not only retrospectively but also in relation to the present and the future. Vera Sacchetti and Matylda Krzykowski are two outstanding, creative and active curators who, with their network and critically humorous spirits, will fill and lead this symposium with exciting questions and an interesting range of participants.”

10:15 – Introductory Remarks
Matylda Krzykowski, Vera Sacchetti

10:30 – Introduction to “Against Invisibility”
Klara Němečková, Curator of the exhibition

10:45 – Part 1 – Advocates of History
“Women have always been there”, critic Alexandra Lange has recently noted, “but we have overlooked their contributions.” If design history has been skewed from the start – given the perspective of those who wrote it in the first place – what can be done to rediscover women designers? Advocates of History looks at recent examples of revisited design history, in exhibitions, books and events, that seek to celebrate female practitioners and their contributions to the fields of design and architecture.
Speakers: Thomas Geisler, Libby Sellers, Annika Frye, [Mary Pepchsinski] [Supplement dated 14 January 2019: You will find the updated program here.]

12:45 – Part 2 – Enablers of Visibility
It is not enough that female practitioners do the work – it is also up to those in positions of power to bring their work to the spotlight. How can we make sure that the histories of these designers are written, talked about, broadcast? And how can they be transported from one generation to the next? Enablers of Visibility examines the roles of museums, schools, critics, journalists, and even social media in disseminating the stories of women designers.
Speakers: Katrin Greiling, Alice Rawsthorn, Antje Stahl

14:15 – Ritual of Self-Empowerment

Speaker: Pinar Demirdag

14:30 – Part 3 – Dismantlers of Existing Conditions

Even while pushing for the visibility of the female practitioner, we often fail to recognize our own bias and ingrained behaviours. How can we create frameworks for the visibility of women designers without replicating the same Eurocentric stereotypes, and without overlooking different perspectives and geographies? Dismantlers of Existing Conditions discusses strategies for shifting our perspective, and that of our students, our audiences, and our establishment.
Speakers: Danah Abdulla, Christoph Knoth, Sarah Owens

15.45 – Roundup and Concluding Remarks
Tulga Beyerle, Matylda Krzykowski, Vera Sacchetti

The working language will be English.

Speaker biographies (A-Z):

Danah Abdulla is a designer, researcher and educator. She is Senior Lecturer in Communication Design at Brunel University London; founding member of the Decolonising Design research group, and Creative Director and Editor of Kalimat Magazine. She has a PhD in Design from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Pinar Demirdag is a one half of the artist duo Pinar&Viola. Their practice resides in the junction of art, design, fashion, personal development and societal issues. They do collaborations with world leading brands like Google, Ikea, Nike and regularly receive invitations to take part in international exhibitions.

Thomas Geisler is director of the Werkraum Bregenzerwald. He has curated exhibitions for the Vienna Biennale, London Design Biennale, Vitra Design Museum, and many others. He was  curator and head of the Design Collection at the MAK Vienna and is co-founder of Vienna Design Week. In July 2019, he will become director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in  Dresden.

Katrin Greiling
is founder of Studio Greiling, a Stockholm-conceived Berlin-based office dedicated to furniture design, interior architecture and photography. Combining these mediums provides Greiling a wide perspective and allows her to embrace projects from different angles, notable as well in her teachings as professor for product design.

Christoph Knoth is a graphic designer, web developer and professor for Digitale Grafik at the art university HFBK Hamburg. In 2011 he founded the studio Knoth & Renner together with Konrad Renner. They mainly work in the field of digital culture.
Sarah Owens is Professor of Visual Communication at Zurich University of the Arts. She is a graduate of the University of Reading and the Royal College of Art in London. Her research and writing focus on the social foundations of design.
Mary Pepchinski, architect, writer and historian, trained and studied in New York and Berlin. She explores the intersections of gender and architecture through writing, curating and teaching as the Chair for Architectural and Societal Studies at the TU Dresden.
Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and author of Design as an Attitude. She is chair of trustees of The Hepworth Wakefield and Chisenhale Gallery. A founding member of the Writers for Liberty human rights campaign to champion, Alice was awarded an OBE for services to design and the arts.
Libby Sellers is a design historian, consultant and author of Women Design – a focus on women in design from the last two centuries. She was curator at London’s Design Museum and founder-director of one of London’s leading commercial galleries. In 2014 she was honoured by the Women of the Year awards as a Woman of Achievement in the Arts.

Antje Stahl is a journalist with training in art history, philosophy and literature from Humboldt University Berlin, Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, and New York University. She worked as an editor for Monopol Magazine and Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and was recently awarded the Michael Athen Award for criticism.

We would like to invite you to this symposium; please register here.

The SKD will communicate with the hashtags #awomansworktoday and #gegendieunsichtbarkeit on social media.

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