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CUMULUSBUD 2024 : Cumulus Budapest 2024 - P/References of Design


When May 15, 2024 - May 17, 2024
Where Budapest, Hungary
Submission Deadline Dec 8, 2023
Final Version Due Feb 8, 2024
Categories    references of design   preferences of design   design   design education

Call For Papers


P/References of Design

Our references for understanding and relating to the world, as well as our preferences when we make our choices as humans are confronted by major ecological, socio-economic, and geopolitical challenges. The horizons of art and design are changing. Anchor points, both old and new, must be reconsidered. As modern value structures break down and new ones emerge, we find ourselves in an age of liminality.

A hundred years ago, during another time of global turbulence, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, an emblematic figure of the Bauhaus movement, stated that “tradition must be dynamic.”¹ As we see our own century unfolding, with collapsing ecosystems, struggling global and local communities, and failing economic paradigms, we must admit that Moholy-Nagy was right. Human references and preferences do shift, and must be shifted.

The Cumulus conference in Budapest aims to explore contemporary design culture² by examining its current tensions and parallels. Participants are encouraged to share their perspectives on the ongoing “revaluation of values”³ which concern established references and competing preferences in design.

When the long-standing paradigm of human-centred design falls short in addressing the complexities and the variety of multiple non-human agents in our world, how should we approach design? Should the position and possibilities of the living, sentient, knowing and purposeful human being as the ultimate reference of any cultural activity be reconsidered in the face of the prevailing ideologies of ‘humanness’ inherited from modernism? Is design, as a tool for optimizing user experience and “streamlining the sales curve”,⁴ still preferable when facing the “limits to growth”⁵? Is the user still the legitimate source and focus of the design process? How should the starting points and objectives of design be set today?

What is the role of design and the designer in society anyway? Where will the expertise of designers be most crucial in the upcoming years? How should the design profession adapt to effectively address future needs and preferences? How are traditional references being challenged by alternative ontologies in the shadow of climate change, intensifying geopolitical tensions, the emerging post-truth world, and the rise of generative content creation?

During the conference, we will delve into various perspectives of strategic design, systems thinking, co-creation and more-than-human design. The event will also examine tensions and parallels that guide us towards contemporary practices which harness both human and machine creativity, and navigate the social, physical and virtual realms of design. The widening liminal space between value structures will also provide us with a chance to contemplate the dynamics between the centres and peripheries of the global design landscape, along with the history and institutional power structures of modern design.

As a transitional zone situated between the West and the East, the Balkans and the Baltics, Hungary has always encountered diverse and contesting values, resulting in a wide array of references and preferences. With its 143-year history and a recent major institutional renewal, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest invites academics, educators and art and design professionals from all over the world to discuss and consider the revaluation of established frameworks and explore future perspectives of design culture.

¹ Moholy-Nagy L., 1947. Vision in Motion. Chicago: P. Theobald, p. 22.
² Julier, G., 2000. The Culture of Design. London: Sage.
³ Nietzsche, F. W., 1883-1885. (2006). Thus Spoke Zarathustra: a Book for All and None. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
⁴ The famous sentence, "he streamlines the sales curve", is written under the portrait of iconic industrial designer Raymond Loewy on the cover of the October 31, 1949 issue of Time magazine.
⁵ Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., Behrens III, W. W., 1972. The Limits to Growth. New York: Universe Books.


Join us on 15-17 May 2024 in Budapest for a gathering of art and design professionals, academics and educators from all over the world, who will come together to explore and discuss the references for and preferences of design.

We welcome submissions in the following nine tracks:

- Centres and Peripheries
- Converging Bodies of Knowledge
- Redefining Data Boundaries
- Bridging Design and Economics
- Speculative Perspectives
- The Power of Immersion
- The Future of Well-being
- Taming Entropy: Systems Design for Climate and Change
- Ways of Living Together

Read more on tracks:


Accepted formats:
– Academic papers
– Short papers (for PhD students only)
- Slide decks (presentation of creative and professional work)
- Posters
- Workshops
- Format X

More on accepted formats:


Find key submission dates at

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