Designing Mobilities

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Simon Cook - Participant

Designing Mobilities 2015 London South Bank University, 14-15 April 2015

Organisers: Justin Spinney (Cardiff); Suzanne Reimer (Southampton) and Philip Pinch (London South Bank University)

Call for Papers

Mobilities research has often focused on the micro-scale of hybrid bodies and spaces rather than larger systems of mobility. In particular remarkably little attention has been paid to design and the related business and regulatory functions that circumscribe the production of systems and experiences of mobility. Yet it is evident that the mobility objects that these systems produce—part of Latour’s (2008) ‘missing masses’—are central in shaping conduct and experiences. For example, everyday mobility objects materialize cultural and societal values in similar ways to built environments; play a central role in shaping experiences of mobility, subjectivities and social and cultural identities (for example ‘citizen’ or ‘mother’); and mediate interactions and conduct between other actors and environments. In this workshop we intend to explore the role of designers, consumer-facing business functions (such as consumer experience and marketing), and the regulatory, legal and normative frameworks that circumscribe these functions in co-producing these relationships. A whole host of questions arise from this proposition:

How do designers understand the desires and affordances of the mobile subject? How are notions of actual or aspirational use translated into product qualities? How do these shape product qualities and circumscribe use? How do consumer-facing business functions (marketing, sales, advertising, PR) shape the meanings of mobile objects and their qualities?
How do mobile objects shape the social identities, moral obligations and cultural practices of people on the move? How are specific technologies implicated in this? How does the use and representation of mobility objects shape conduct to produce social and cultural identities?
What understandings of practice and values underpin regulatory knowledges and design standards? How are such knowledges transmitted between actors, and to what extent are they transformed and interpreted by design professionals, consumer-facing business functions and policy makers in different local and national contexts?
How do design standards play out in everyday mobility to shape interactions between different styles of movement? To what extent are mobility objects imagined and designed to harmonise with multiple environments and modes of mobility? How are sensory, affective and visual regimes shaped by designers? What are the inter-linkages between different constellations of mobilities such as the design of HGVs, containerisation and palletisation?
What can a historical perspective on the design, manufacture and regulation of mobility objects tell us about the emergence of practices, identities and norms?
In investigating such questions we seek to bring together academics and design professionals with a view to future collaboration in a two-day workshop. This will take place on April 14th and 15th 2015 at London South Bank University. We welcome abstracts of no more than 250 words to be submitted to the organisers (;; no later than Friday 31st October 2014.
14 Apr 201515 Apr 2015

Designing Mobilities

Duration14 Apr 201515 Apr 2015

Event: Other

ID: 25174405