Project: Design history in other geographies

Departing in the Swedish part of Sápmi and Småland this research project is project aiming at altering a traditional understanding of design history by claiming that the place is important in the shaping and understanding of cultural heritage.

Project information

Project manager
Christina Zetterlund, Linnaeus University
Other project members
Anna Westman Kuhmunen, Ájtte – the Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University and Ájtte – the Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum
Riksantikvarieämbetet (The Swedish National Heritage Board)
1 Jan 2020–31 Dec 2021

More about the project

During the second half of the 19th century, design museums was founded in the metropolis of the west as a method of teaching the notion of quality to producers and consumers alike. Here, the foundation for collections and archives that still have a vital role in current understanding of design history was laid. In Sweden, this story was formulated mainly from the capital Stockholm. It is a place with national cultural heritage institutions and organizations.

Form, the designer, and the producing company as seen from management perspective came to dominate this history writing. However, it is a history writing that in recent decades has been challenged. Within the framework of this project, we seek to further develop this questioning by writing what we call design history from other geographies.

The project seeks to create alternatives to a traditional design history by claiming the importance of place in the shaping and understanding of cultural heritage. A statement that we explore by organizing workshops and seminars together with researchers, employees at cultural heritage institutions and practitioners of design and crafts. In addition, we are conducting two case studies: one in the Swedish part of Sápmi and the other in Småland. We propose a change altering the notion of a center to instead write design histories from multiple vantage points, a history that acknowledge the complexity and practices that forms design history in Sweden.