SHOT Annual Meeting 2019: Milan, Italy

In the 1950s Milan was, along with Turin, the industrial capital of Northern Italy. Established companies such as Pirelli, Breda, and Falk had their factories in the outskirts of the city. It was in that economic and cultural environment that the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo Da Vinci,” one of the venues of the SHOT meeting, was inaugurated in 1953. Milan remains the economic center of Italy. It hosts the headquarters of national and multi-national banks and companies, Italy’s National Stock Exchange, a thriving network of new high-technology industries, and an expanding tertiary sector including logistics and transportation, food, and publishing. Four years ago it was the location of Expo 2015, whose theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” attracted 22 million visitors. Last but not least, Milan is one of the world’s capitals of fashion and design: a glamorous gallery of internationally famous brands.

Milan is also an important city of culture, with three universities, an engineering school, an economics and business school, and a medical school. And it is a city of the arts: the city center is rich with a remarkable variety of historic buildings, monuments, museums, and other treasures. Among them, Milan holds extraordinary examples of Leonardo’s work as an artist and an engineer, including the Codex Atlanticus and the Last Supper.

To pay tribute to the venue of the meeting we want to encourage proposals that engage topics related to a broadly interpreted theme of “Exploring the interface between technology, art, and design.”

In the past and present, and in different cultural traditions, technology, art, design, and craft have blended together in a cross-fertilization process. While the boundaries between knowledge formation, artistic expression, and material culture are permeable, diverse factors affect the degree to which they combine and the quality of the results emerging from their interactions. In Italy the examples of fruitful collaboration are numerous, in the present as well as in both the recent and more distant past. Similar cases can be found worldwide; examination of the clustering of interactions among technology, art, and design in diverse contexts and periods is an important project of the history of technology.

More recently we observe a growing interest in educational programs proactively encouraging and supporting collaboration among artists, scientists, engineers, architects, and craftspeople, as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences. These programs encourage a reappraisal of different approaches to the relations between form and function in different cultural traditions.

We invite SHOT participants to reflect on these themes from an historical as well as a contemporary perspective, and with respect to a variety of socio-cultural environments. Among the aspects which deserve to be discussed is how art and design impact innovation in new as well as traditional production technologies; how digital technologies are opening new perspectives in the development of design and the arts, as well as the reinterpretation and development of traditional crafts; and how art, design, and craft can provide inspiration in the search for the transition to more sustainable consumption/production patterns.

For the 2019 meeting the Program Committee welcomes proposals of these types:

Traditional sessions:

Sessions of 3 or 4 papers, with a chair and commentator listed in the session proposal. Deadline: March 31, 2019.

Unconventional sessions:

Sessions with formats that diverge in useful ways from traditional sessions. These can include (but are not limited to) round-table sessions, workshop-style sessions with pre-circulated papers, and poster sessions. Poster proposals should describe the content and the visual material to be used in the poster. Individuals whose posters are accepted must be available to talk about them in a lunch/evening slot to be decided by the program committee.The Program Committee encourages other creative formats to facilitate communication, dialogue, and audience involvement. For instance, last year’s SHOT meeting featured a new “you write, I present” format in which a discussant presents a paper for the author, with authors on-site to respond to comments, take questions from the audience, and join overall discussions. Last year’s meeting also saw sessions in which the authors commented on each other’s papers with no single commentator. The program committee will look favorably on formats that make sessions less hierarchical and reduce the distance between audience and author and between author and commentator. Deadline: March 31, 2019.

Open sessions:

Individuals interested in finding others to join panel sessions may propose Open Sessions, starting January 31, with a final deadline of March 20. Open Session descriptions, along with the organizer’s contact information, will appear on the SHOT website (the earlier the proposal is sent to SHOT, the earlier it will be posted to the website.)

Open Sessions proposals are limited to two pages total. The first page should include a title, session organizer name, and contact information at the top, followed by a paragraph or two clearly describing the proposed session topic or theme and its significance in the broader study of the history of technology. Submit Open Session proposals in a single PDF or Word file to the secretary’s office ([email protected]). The secretary’s office will post the proposals on the SHOT-website.

For individuals who want to join a proposed panel from the Open Sessions list, please contact the organizer for that panel, not the Program Committee. In order to give the session organizer sufficient time to select proposals and assemble the final panel, the deadline for submitting your paper proposal to the organizer is March 20, 2019. Open Session organizers will then assemble full panels and submit them through SHOT’s online system by March 31, 2019.

Individual papers:

Proposals for individual papers will be considered, but the Program Committee will give preference to pre-organized sessions (traditional, unconventional, or completed open sessions). Those scholars who might ordinarily propose an individual paper are encouraged to propose Open Sessions themselves or to join an Open Session. Deadline: March 31, 2019.