Mediating and rethinking site – teaching and the design process

Claire Short's picture
Call for Papers
April 20, 2022
Indiana, United States
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Urban History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Fine Arts

Mediating and rethinking 'site' – teaching and the design process


Mediating and rethinking 'site' in the creative process

Ball State University, April 20-22, 2022

This conference call is interest in exploring the role of sites, settings, location and context in design teaching and practice.


Full Call:

The concept of a site, location, setting or a context is a notion that has, in recent times has taken on meanings seemingly directly associated with the pandemic and concomitant social distancing – whether permanently or not. However, as a concept it has always resonated in very different ways across different disciplines: literature, poetry, philosophy, history, politics, film, fine art, and allied design fields all have their particular associations ascribed to it.

From the field of human geography, David Harvey once defined ‘absolute’ material space as the experience of streets, walls, territorial markers, and physical boundaries. However, he also suggests that there are multiple other readings of space, from lived-relative to conceptualized-relational spaces. His reading of ‘site’ in the urban context is thus complex and nuanced.

In alignment with the nuanced pre (and probably post) pandemic reading of site found in Harvey, this conference strand papers invites submissions that consider site (and its correlates in different disciplines – location, setting, context etc.) as something more than just ‘absolute’ and/or material. Rather than reduce the notions of site, location or setting to a category of perceived parameters, boundaries, or topographic features, we invite papers that consider ‘site’ as a more intangible and malleable concept that may serve as a framework for art and design teaching, and as an impetus for the creative process.

In our own disciplinary areas (architecture and urban design) designers often think of site in ‘absolute’ terms and thus, in design-teaching, it typically connotes an urban, suburban, rural, or exurban place. In the traditional design studio, students use this approach to draw upon multidisciplinary concepts to generate architecture that establishes the order of the city. Recent research on the effects of post-industrialisation, however, argues that architecture no longer orders the city and, in its place, landscapes, sites, and atmospheres now define the nature of our urban experience. Consequently, it is our proposition, that ‘site’ more broadly understood, should now serve as the medium for multidisciplinary, conceptual design-thinking in the fields of spatial design.

Seeking to broaden our understanding of site then, this strand invites multiple perspectives on the issue of ‘site’, whether it be defined in terms of location, setting, context or any other disciplinary conceptual framework. It seeks to exchange ideas on how these varying notions will inform each other and, untimely, the design of the places we inhabit.



30 June 2021: Abstracts (Early)   |    30 July 2021:  Feedback  | 05 December: Abstracts (Round 1)  |  20 December 2021: Feedback   |    05 March 2022: Abstracts (Round 2)  |  15 March 2022: Feedback    |    05 April 2022: Registration Closes


Routledge Taylor & Francis | UCL Press | Intellect Books | Cambridge Scholars Publishing | Vernon Press | Libri Publishing.


Contact Info: 

Raj Kumar, Matt Wilson, Sean Burns