Monday, March 10, 2008

New Sciences of Protection: Designing Safe Living

New Sciences of Protection: Designing Safe Living

IAS Annual Research Programme 2007-08


An interdisciplinary international conference to be held at Lancaster University.

Thursday, 10 July – Saturday, 12 July 2008

This conference investigates ‘protection’ at the intersections of security, sciences, technologies, markets and design. It considers three central questions:

n How is ‘safe living’ conceived of by designers, artist-writers, policy makers and regulators, scientist-engineers, social scientists and humanities scholars, and how do these conceptualisations of ‘safe living’ engage with sciences and technologies of protection?

n Is ‘safe living’ achievable, and how do conceptual, practical, political and cultural practices of design engage with sciences and technologies of protection to achieve ‘safe living’?

n And if ‘safe living’ were achievable, would it be desirable – as a politics, as an ethic, as a day-to-day way of life? Would ‘new sciences of protection’ make us safe or would they commodify us and/or multiply our fears and anxieties? Who/what would benefit from new sciences of protection, and who/what would be targeted as the unsafe and therefore as the unprotectable? And what are the mechanisms for this allocation of protection and 'safe living' -- socially, culturally, politically, and economically?

Keynote Speakers

Professor Anthony Dunne (Royal College of Art, London, UK and dunneandraby designs)

Fiona Raby (Royal College of Art, London, UK and dunneandraby designs)

Professor Susan Silby (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)

Professor Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University, UK)

Professor Richard Buchanan (Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA)

Lynn Hershman Leeson (Director of ‘Strange Culture’)

Benjamin H. Bratton (Director Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo! and UCLA Design|Media Arts)

We invite papers and presentations on such topics as:

Designing safe life/designing safe living (e.g., synthetic biology, genetics, designing safe citizens); Designing safe places (environmental futures, workplace safety, home/homeland security, the built environment); Distributing protection and 'safe living' (RFID and the design of safe borders, targeting unsafe citizens/environments/species/systems/procedures, designing 'the exception'); 'Design noir'; Designer security: fashion and new sciences of protection; Performing 'protection' and 'safe living'; Design, law, justice; Global brands and new spaces of consumption and control design methodologies, protocols, and procedures the safety of design as a practice and a method; Designing safe images/images of safety and protection; The codes and conduct of 'safe living'; Control, sustainable security, and the emergence of eco-cities safe/unsafe futures; Design, emotion, protection the pleasures of (un)safe design; Design and public engagement -- where should the design debate take place?

Abstracts should include a title, medium of presentation, contact details of the author(s) (name, postal address, email), and a summary of no more than 300 words. Please submit them to Anne-Marie Mumford at no later than 15 April, 2008. For future information about the conference please visit:

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