“Who Cares?” 14th 4T International Design and Design History Symposium, http://4t.org.tr/en/4t14.html

Erdem Erten's picture
July 2, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Digital Humanities, Environmental History / Studies, Health and Health Care

Submission Deadline for Abstracts: 02 July 2021


“Who Cares?”


The Covid-19 Pandemic has once more reminded us how fragile our existence on this planet is and how fragile the planet itself has become. It also made us critically rethink design activities we have been carrying out to shape our environment in order to make ourselves more resilient. Our species is now going through a painful awakening, realizing that in order to make human life last, we have to care for all the living and non-living on a planetary scale.

“Care” then, assumes an ever-greater significance on an ever-greater scale. But who “cares?” Who cares about design’s role to make us well, to make our planet better, healthier? Are we to define the field anew, a totally new professional, a new platform of inquiry? How are we to learn from the history of all design disciplines that dealt with “care”?

Who has the power to care for the other? How can design empower people to care for themselves, for each other and for the planet? How can we care through design?

We would like to invite papers discussing the concept of care and design including but not limited to the areas below:

  • Design to care for the self: How do we design (for) our own bodies. How do we design for health and well-being? How do we design for other selves?

  • Design to care for the planet: Is it possible or ethical not to care for the planet while designing?

  • Design to care for the earlier and next generations: How does design take a role in the care for the elderly or care for children?

  • Design and ethnicity: Does design discriminate?

  • Design and equity, design and equality: How does design take a role in the access to care?


Special focus: Caring for Covid 19 (design in times of pandemics)

We would like to put a special emphasis on the discussion on past and contemporary applications of design in times of epidemics, and possibly, pandemics. This part invites research papers concentrated on the three pillars of caring for our bodies against Covid-19: hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks. Research papers on how designers tackle these issues, literally and metaphorically are welcome:

  • Hygiene and care: What is the role of design in creating communication, objects, interiors, buildings, systems and services for better hygiene?

  • Designing and (social) distancing: From devices to communication, from built environment to networked systems design helps creating distances as well as fighting against the consequences of distance and isolation. In this section we invite papers discussing how design tackles the concept of distance.

  • Designing the mask: What does a mask prevent, how does a mask protect? How can a designed layer/barrier/membrane care for us?


Those who are interested in contributing papers to the fourteenth 4T Symposium are invited to submit a title and an extended abstract of 1000 words through EasyChair by July 2nd 2021. Registration to EasyChair is essential in order to submit abstracts.


The symposium language is English; therefore all abstracts, presentations and papers should be in English. For any further questions please contact Işılay Tiarnagh Sheridan.


Selected proposals will be announced on August 23rd, 2021. Online presentations will be held between November 17th and 19th 2021.

Contact Info: 


 Işılay Tiarnagh Sheridan.

Contact Email: