Dear DESIS community,

we are pleased to announce that the call for paper of the conference ‘CUMULUS Milan 2015 – The Virtuous Circle. Design Culture and Experimentation’, is now open. We are planning several parallel initiatives for DESIS and therefore we warmly recommend a massive participation 

Milano, Politecnico di Milano, June 3-7, 2015

The conference aims to investigate how design comes out of the interaction between a practice, which seeks to change the state of things, and a culture, which makes sense of this change. The way this happens evolves with time: practices and cultures evolve and so do the ways they interact; and the attention that is paid at different moments to one or other of these interacting polarities also evolves. In the current period of turbulent transformation of society and the economy, it is important to go back and reflect on the cultural dimension of design, its capacity to produce not only solutions but also meanings, and its relations with pragmatic aspects. Good design does not limit itself to tackling functional and technological questions, but it also always adopts a specific cultural approach that emerges, takes shape and changes direction through a continuous circle of experimenting and reflecting. Because the dimension and complexity of the problems is growing, it is becoming evident that to overcome them it is, above all, necessary to bring new sense systems into play. This is ground on which design, by its very nature, can do much. Indeed, the ability to create a virtuous circle between culture and practical experimentation is, or should be, its main and distinctive characteristic. However, for this really to happen it is necessary to trigger new discussion and reflection about the nature and purpose of design practice and culture. We need to take a step back in history and look at what they were like in the past; then come back to the present and ask ourselves how they have changed and are changing in today’s world in transition. This process could start with some questions, for example: how do the new design practices produce culture? Vice versa, how can this culture orientate and offer common horizons to the multiplicity of practices that take place in design activities? How does this emerging culture tie up with the design tradition of the last century? How can this add depth and consistence to the design culture of the 21st century?

In order to discuss these issues the conference will be organised into 7 tracks corresponding to 7 activities in which the virtuous design culture-experimentation circle can take place: Nurturing; Envisioning; Experimenting/Prototyping; Incubating/Scaling; Assessing; Disseminating/Communicating; Training/Educating.

Key dates:
Call For Papers Launch: Wed 23 July 2014
Submission of Full Papers: Mon 10 Nov 2014
Early Bird Conference Registration: Wed 3 Dec 2014 – Mon 16 Feb 2015
Final note of acceptance of the full paper: Thu 15 Jan 2015
Conference Registration Opens: Tue Feb 17 2015
Delivery of the final papers: Wed 15 Apr 2015
Conference: 3-7 June 2015

Contact: Laura Galluzzo,

Warm regards,

Luisa Collina, Politecnico di Milano, President of Cumulus
Ezio Manzini, President of DESIS Network
Anna Meroni, Politecnico di Milano, International Coordinator of DESIS Network