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Nordisk Forum for Designhistorie

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Welcome to The Nordic Forum for Design History’s 40th Anniversary Symposium:
Past and Future: Nordic Design History Reassessed
26–27 October 2023 at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo!


This symposium presents new international research and current concepts of Nordic design histories. We look forward to meeting in person to discuss and debate an ever-changing field. You are cordially welcome to this event whether you are a layperson interested in design, an academic or a practitioner. 

There will be three keynote lectures by guest speakers from the US, UK and Norway; all leading scholars within the field. The other speakers, from all the Nordic countries, will contribute with talks grouped according to the following themes: Material Approaches, 'Early Modern' Perspectives, Design and Mediation Processes, Fashion Histories and Modernism Inside Out. These presentations are the result of an earlier Open Call for Papers. 

This symposium is organised by the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in collaboration with the Nordic Forum for Design History. This year’s event marks the forum’s 40th Anniversary and is part of a series of symposia that have taken place in the Nordic countries since 1983. 

Keynote Speakers 

- Prof. Penny Sparke, Kingston University, London

- Dr Sarah A. Lichtman, Parsons School of Design, The New School, New York

- Prof. Kjetil Fallan, University of Oslo


The English website is here and includes the programme etc:

Version på norsk:


For conference enquiries, please email:

About the Nordic Forum for Design History

The Nordic Forum for Design History was founded in 1983 by Norwegian design historian Fredrik Wildhagen in collaboration with Dane Mirjam Gelfer-Jørgensen and Swede Lars Stackell. It is an open forum for scholars working within the field, a network which in recent years has expanded beyond the Nordic region. The Nordic countries take turns in hosting this event: the forum’s last conference in 2018 was hosted by the Museum of Design and Applied Art, Iceland.


Conference Conveners

Convener: Senior Curator, Dr Denise Hagströmer, Co-convener: Curator Education, Ole Gaudernack, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo


The Nordic Forum for Design History’s Working Group

The forum is informally organised with a board that is also the working group:

Prof. Anders V. Munch, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding; Head of Learning, Dr Leena Svinhufvud, Design Museum, Helsinki; Director Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Museum of Design and Applied Art, Reykjavik; Prof. Sara Kristoffersson, Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm; and Senior Curator, Dr Denise Hagströmer, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo.

The forum’s network base is at the University of Southern Denmark Kolding.


About the Keynote Speakers

PENNY SPARKE is a Professor of Design History at Kingston University and the Director of the Modern Interiors Research Centre. She received her PhD from Brighton Polytechnic in 1975 and taught the History of Design at Brighton Polytechnic (1975–1982) and the Royal College of Art (1982–1999). From 1999 to 2005 she was Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design & Music at Kingston University and from 2005 to 2014 she was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise). She has represented the History of Design in many ways both nationally and inter- nationally over her career. Her most important publications includeAn Introduction to Design and Culture, 1900 to the present (1986, 2004, 2013); Italian Design from 1860 to the present(1989);As Long as It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste(1995);Elsie de Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration(2005);The Modern Interior(2008); andNature Inside: Plants and Flowers in the Modern Interior(2021).


KJETIL FALLAN is Professor of Design History at the University of Oslo. His research interests revolve around twentieth-century design cultures, environmental histories of design, and histories of ecological design. Recent books includeEcological by Design: A History from Scandinavia(MIT Press, 2022);Nordic Design Cultures in Transformation, 1960–1980: Revolt and Resilience, co-edited with Christina Zetterlund and Anders V. Munch (Routledge, 2022);The Culture of Nature in the History of Design(Routledge, 2019); andDesigning Modern Norway: A History of Design Discourse(Routledge, 2019). Fallan also serves as an editor of the Journal of Design History (Oxford University Press).


SARAH A. LICHTMAN, PhD, is the Dean of the School of Art, Design, History, and Theory at Parsons School of Design, The New School, and the former director of the MA program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies, offered in affiliation with Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Her scholarship takes an inter- disciplinary, feminist approach and her articles and reviews have appeared in leading journals and collections. Sarah is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Design History, having served as book reviews editor (2016–2021) and is currently managing editor. Her work is broadly collaborative and in addition to her single authored publications, she is the co-editor of edited volumes, most recently the forthcomingDesign, Displacement, and Migration: Spatial and Material Histories(Routledge, 2023).


The Nordic Forum for Design History and the National Museum gratefully acknowledge support
from the Estrid Ericson Foundation. nordisk-forum-for-designhistorie

To join forum’s email list, please contact: Pernille Dahl Kragh,


Institut for Design, Medier og Uddannelsesvidenskab

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense - DK-5230
  • Telefon: +45 6550 1000

Sidst opdateret: 13.10.2023