2014 was a year of commemoration for the wars and unrest of the twentieth century: the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War; the anniversaries of 1944, final year of the Second World War and the opening battles of the Vietnam War in 1954; the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994. Claire O’Mahony, Course Director of the MSt in the History of Design, convened the 2014 annual Design History Society conference at Oxford's Department for Continuing Education reflecting upon the relationship of design and craft both to conflict and to hopes for peace and justice in our collective memory and our future.
Between Thursday 4 and Saturday 6 September 2014, 120 scholars travelled from 19 countries around the globe to meet at Rewley House to share and to discuss their new research about Design for War and Peace. Professors and doctoral candidates; practitioners, museum and heritage professionals and independent scholars presented 65 academic papers, framed by 3 invited keynote lectures generously funded by the Design History Society and the University of Oxford’s John Fell Fund.
The keynote lectures were filmed and most of the speakers generously gave permission to podcast their 20-minute papers. These recordings form this digital conference proceeding which was made possible through the generosity of the University of Oxford’s John Fell Fund supporting the administrative work of a 2013-5 MSt in the History of Design student, Vega Bantock, and the technical support the Department for Continuing Education IT team.
Decorated Handkerchiefs: cotton, colours and conflict ‘in and about’ Northern Ireland
This paper examines a cotton handkerchief decorated by women republican prisoners Armagh Jail in 1976. It considers the power of cloth, its appropriation and circulation through in prisons of the conflict ‘in and about’ Northern Ireland. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
A Jewish Teenager in Hiding: Representations of Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl (1952) chronicles the two years that Anne, her family, and four other Jews spent in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. This paper focuses on the postwar adaptations of Frank’s wartime diary into a Broadway play. It looks at the ways in which Frank’s original descriptions of her hiding space are translated and represented during the postwar period. It highlights shifts and transitions in spatial constructions and compares them to the diverse written and visual narratives of the diary. It considers how spatial design and material culture represents cultural context and emphasizes character development which resulted in what contemporary critic Algene Ballif described as Frank’s metamorphosis into an “American adolescent.”
In addition, the paper focuses on the scenic designs of Boris Aronson (1900-1980) who designed the set for the initial New York stage production of the Frank diary. Aronson emigrated to the United States in 1923 where he also designed sets in New York City’s Jewish experimental theaters. Identified by director and critic Harold Clurman as a “master visual artist of the stage,” Aronson experimented with innovative theatrical techniques.
Anne’s hiding space as described in her diary is shaped by the reality of war. On stage that space is reimagined, and In this sense, Anne’s hiding space may be related to more popular notions of teenaged girls and the spaces they inhabited in the postwar period manifesting a transition in how one visualizes a wartime space during peace.
Design for the Reconstruction: housing Exhibitions and the QT8 Model District at the ninth Triennale in Milan (1947)
The reconstruction in Italy is perceived as a call by architects who, after the fall of Fascism and the Civil War. The first postwar Triennale in 1947 is the test for the new design, architecture and urban planning in Italy.
Clothing Soldiers: Development of an organised system of production and supply of military clothing in England between 1645 and 1708
This paper will set up and identify certain needs that a soldier's clothing of this period had to satisfy and will provide an analysis of the processes and systems of supply in place between 1645 and 1708 in order to identify changes and developments in the way that the English Military man was clothed.
Arthur Wragg: Pacifist Polemics in Black and White
Arthur Wragg Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
“Not for Glory, not for Gain!” The Czech Glass Spartakiad Figurine, 1955
This paper looks at the glass figurines of Czech artist Miloslav Klinger, made to commemorate the 1955 Prague Spartakiad, as complex sites of memory, craft and political propaganda. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/