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Globally, 2023 marks the mid-point of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda, yet we are still struggling to rebuild and respond to current conditions in every aspect. The future remains unpredictable and never have we been presented with such complexity as what we are facing today. As we continue to live in this age of Anthropocene, we carry on the legacy of being the cause of both destruction and rehabilitation. These ambiguous roles manifest on every occasion when we try to solve a problem. Consequently, we grow to feel more anxious and innovation seems to no longer be possible. 

Creativity is at the heart of what we do as artists, makers, and designers. For us, crisis creates opportunities to open up other pathways in this ever-changing world. With its fluidity, art, craft, culture, and design discipline has significant roles in facilitating changes everywhere through its capability to connect humans, nature, and everything in between. At this conference, we are inviting you to explore the theme of “Fluid & Ubiquitous”, which is elaborated into various sub-themes that encompass some key ideas:

  1. Care
  2. Systemic Design
  3. Cross-cultural Identity
  4. Object as an Agency
  5. Transmateriality

Sub-theme 1


Natureculture refers to the entanglement of multispecies histories (Haraway, 2003). This synthesis between nature and culture recognizes the inseparability of the biophysical and social relationships. Care in this sense is attending to this incongruous world, that encompasses our bodies, ourselves, and our environment, “all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web” (Tronto, 1993 in Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011). 

Over the past decade, the “crisis of care” has grown more evident in our society. It is endemic to neoliberalism (Miller & Coombs, 2022), as we forgo our basic needs to care for ourselves and others in exchange for a stronger economy. Even in the business of caring, we keep turning back to hierarchical dominative dualism of the powerful over the subordinate. This condition we face as artists and designers in the midst of society and its problems is not all that unlike from this position.

This sub-theme is interested to explore new and old ways in which we create methods and apparatuses to break the boundaries of disciplines and neoliberal paradigms to care for our biophysical and social space and  sphere:

  1. How do art, craft, and design contribute in identifying problems of care for society and/or nature?
  2. What methods or tools can we use to encourage sustainability in the practice of care?
  3. What are the roles of art, craft, and design in growing the culture of care?
  4. How can we creatively respond to problems that hinder societal cohesion, individual well-being, and/or ecological balance?

Scope: Art & design for well-being, community-based projects, environmental art, ecodesign.

Sub-theme 2

Systemic Design

The principles of systemic design bring together experts in the fields of sensemaking, intervention design, co-creation, and systems thinking to explore the challenges and opportunities for designing solutions to complex problems in a range of sectors. By placing human-centered design at the forefront of our discussions, we aim to facilitate stakeholder engagement and ensure that our solutions are sensitive to the needs and values of the communities they will serve.

With a focus on intervention design, our discussions will address the systemic drivers of social, economic, and environmental issues, and we will explore the role of systemic design in transforming complex systems to meet the changing needs of our world. Share your experiences in collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders, including citizens, policymakers, and industry leaders, to develop effective solutions to complex problems.

This sub-theme will cover a range of topics, including but not limited to the following questions:

  • How do art and design contribute to systemic transformation? 
  • What are the roles of art and design field in solving wicked problems? 
  • How do we facilitate stakeholder engagement in the co-creation process to design solutions for humans?

This sub-theme includes but is not limited to: co-creation, intervention design, sensemaking, system thinking, regional development, Policy design, Transdisciplinary approach, design for national identity, Etc.

Sub-theme 3

Cross-cultural Identity

Cross-cultural Identity is strongly tied to the term Transculturation which has previously been introduced as a multi-level exchange between two or more actively-engaged cultures, superseding the traditional concepts of assimilation and influences (Ortiz, 1947). It carries the idea of the consequent creation of new cultural phenomena (neoculturation), by sharing interests and common values across cultural and national borders (Slimbach, 2011). Transculturation was closely related to cultural hegemony, trade, and missionary in the past. The processes are now more complex within the context of globalisation and Society 5.0, involving many layers of abstracted interactions interwoven through various encounters, direct or indirect.

In art, craft, and design, transculturation is the visual expression of particular societies and their changing attitudes, ideas, and beliefs (Leavens, 2004). The changes are ubiquitous as they can be reflected in shapes, materials, and styles of artifacts. Transculturalism is characterised by cultural fluidity and the dynamics of cultural change, allowing artists, crafters, and designers to adapt and adopt new discourses, values, ideas, and knowledge systems (Lewis, 2008). It shows that culture is always in a state of flux, and always seeking new terrains of knowing and being, and so does art, craft, and design. 

We welcome contributors to explore the role of design, craft, and art practice and research by answering these questions: 

  1. How does transculturation impact design, craft, and art processes and products? 
  2. How does the transculturation process trigger a new vision of art, craft, and design in a new emerging society? Will they change and create a new culture in the future?
  3. How art, craft, and design are involved in the discussion process between culture(s) to produce shapes, materials, and styles of artefacts?

Scope:  The aesthetic impacts of transculturation, Cross-National Branding, Trans-aesthetics, Art/Design History, Transforming Traditions, Anthropology Design.

Sub-theme 4

Object as an Agency 

The concept of the Object as an Agency is driven from “Speculative Non-human Theories”, a philosophical approach that emerged from Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) (was first articulated by Graham Harman in his book “Tool Being” in 1998), and Actor-Network Theory (ANT) (was developed in the 1980s by Bruno Latour but gained attention in the 1990’s through his book “We Have Never Been Modern”, 1991), which aims to provide an alternative perspective to traditional philosophy in response to the Anthropocene, a geological era marked by significant human impact on the earth’s ecosystems.

This approach emphasizes the agency and vitality of non-human entities, such as objects and technology, which have frequently been ignored or relegated to a passive role in traditional philosophy. Non-human entities possess their own form of agency and can influence human behavior. From these standpoints, we would like to propose some questions for your consideration. 

  1. How can non-human entities influence human behavior, and what is the importance of understanding this from Art, Craft, and Design practices?
  2. What are the moral implications of treating non-human entities?
  3. What (or maybe how?) is the cultural perspective on the relationship between humans and non-human entities?
  4. How can non-human entities shape cultural values and practices in Art, Craft, and Design?

Scope: Art and Design Practice, Philosophy of Art and Design (not limited to OOO and ANT), Ethnography, AI, STS (socio-technical theory)

Sub-theme 5


Transmaterial is a multifaceted concept mainly implemented in art, craft, design, and architecture describing the experimentation and creative process to develop innovative materials and techniques. Transmaterial by its nature emphasizes the value of sustainability by challenging the artists or designers during the process and promoting the use of environmentally-friendly materials that can be constantly recycled or biodegraded, as mentioned by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002). As a cue to redefine the physical environment, Blaine Brownell (2006) categorizes more than two hundred most intriguing new materials mainly applied in architecture and design fields. Almost two decades later, it is expected that new and innovative materials have emerged, which also generate this sub-theme to ensue.

Transitional tools play an essential role in the creative process of art, craft, and design, enabling artists and designers to experiment, iterate, and refine ideas before arriving at a final result. The latest trend of using artificial intelligence has followed digital assisting and 3D printing to become increasingly popular tools these days. Nevertheless, this theme aims to seek the ideas of how humans subdue the tools, rather than be restrained by them.

This sub-theme will encompass a broad range of topics, including the following questions:

  • What is the aesthetic impact of material innovations on arts and design?
  • How can the concept of environmentally conscious art and design practice contribute to sustainable development?
  • What is the role of transitional tools in art and design practice? 
  • How do transitional tools support the development of human and environmental-friendly products and services?
  • Why are digital tools able to contribute to breakthroughs in art and design?
  • How has the post-medium approach challenged traditional definitions and boundaries of art forms and media?

Scope: material innovations, human-friendly art and design, environmentally friendly art and design, post-medium approach in art, innovative tools in art and design