Beyond a Brief Encounter: Everyday Interactions Between Transport & Design

Call for Papers: Special Edition of the Journal of Design History. Deadline for submission 1st April 2016.

Design history and transport history are inexorably interwoven. From the sleek stream-lining of the Mallard to the unusual Moquette patterns that have welcomed bums to London Underground seats since the 1930s, designed elements have filled perceptions and experiences of transport. Design was, and still is, all around passengers, workers and travellers, and the goods they carried, in modern transport, encompassed by everything from locomotives down to monogrammed drinks coasters.

There is still, however, a significant gulf in our understandings of how everyday design affected transport users. Wolfgang Schivelbusch, in his 1989 The Railway Journey, spoke of how small design choices, such as seating arrangements, could have enormous consequences (both intended and accidental) on travellers. An intermeshing of transport and design histories, two disciplines with increasingly broad and innovative approaches to source material, research questions, and interdisciplinary theory, offers exciting new possibilities. Particularly, recent developments in transport history are poised to build upon the growing trend for histories of everyday design, with a focus on process and reflection rather than following big-name designers and brands.

Editor: Andrew McLean, Head Curator, National Railway Museum.

This special edition for the Journal of Design History invites papers that address this interaction surrounding the everyday in design and transport history.

Themes could include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Vehicle layout and design.
  • Architecture of stations, platforms, and termini.
  • “Scenic” routes and layouts.
  • Tickets, labels, signs, and other printed or typographic material.
  • The material culture of travel.
  • Presentation of transport in literature and modern media.
  • Passenger experiences.
  • Spaces of sociability, privacy, comfort or danger.
  • The senses and travelling, transport, and infrastructure.
  • Liveries, insignia and staff uniforms.
  • Children and the experience of travel.
  • Accessibility and disability in transport design.
  • Cycles of destruction and reconstruction in transport design.
  • The interplay between transport design and the landscape.
  • Engineering and design experts and expertise.
  • Advertising, promoting, and selling modern transport.
  • Safety, security, or hygiene and design.
  • Design differences between passenger and goods lines.
  • Briefs, consulting, and contracting of design work after privatisation.

Submissions covering other aspects of transport and design history are also encouraged.

Please email an abstract of c.300 words to [email protected] by 1st April 2016.

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