Recent Opportunities

Tirana Design Week International Conference – Foreseeing Uncertainty: Design and Non-Normativity

Tirana Design Week (TDW) this year, in 2019approaches Tirana’s 100th anniversary as the capital of Albania. Comparing photos of a bucolic Tirana in 1920 with what one sees from Polis University’s fourth floor today, inevitably raises doubts about the endurance of design, while conspicuously evincing the fluctuating tendency of what constitutes a norm in a world continuously oscillating between what is desired or imagined as an endogenous equilibrium and exogenous menaces. The objective of Tirana Design Week is to draw current research and design practices, as well as theoretical speculations on the topic of uncertainty and non-normativity in multiple scales and contexts, in and from the city of Tirana, with the latter understood as a dis-position, a tendency to change position.

The significance of addressing such topic from Tirana is that this city is a harsh and unmediated example of what is already a global symptom: a strong contrast between an ideology of normativity on the one hand, and its actual impossibility on the other; between the aim for responsible design practices and ethical boundaries impossible to overcome; between education and merciless economic reasonbetween standardized production and mass-customized desiresbetween daily ideologies of inclusivity and an increasingly predominant exclusivitybetween plain design narratives and irresponsible political decision makingbetween expensive normativity affordable only by few, and not-so-cheap sub-normativity for the many; between frenzied building development and destruction of urban artifactsbetween ’glittery’ shapesin the center and chaotic sprawl in the periphery; between style and non-styleWhat happens in-between is dimmed as ‘uncertain’. TDWthis year aims precisely to enhance such uncertainty from the perspective of different practices such as designarchitecturesociologyurban and environmental studiestheory and historyinnovationwritingresearch and pedagogy, among others. Not so much to propose another new agenda - we already have plenty of those, but rather to juxtapose these practices with what is already happening ‘out there’, and speculate how they can potentially inflect, positively or negatively, this ‘out there’: the un-reason of non-normativity and the commodification of normativity.

We invite scientific and applied research papers and posters that research, propose frameworks, and speculate about the issues presented above: those of Un-Certainty and Non-Normativity . The conference consists of four large topicsResearch and Methods, History and Theory, Innovative Processes, and Philosophy and Objects. These topics consist of more focused paper session topics (For more information on the topics see: A paper and poster abstract must be submitted by May 15th. The papers and posters must be submitted by June 30th. (For more information on submission deadlines see: Both abstracts and papers and posters will be selected according to a peer review process. The papers must not exceed 4000 words maximum, while the posters must be formatted in a A-1 board. (For more information see the submission guidelines The proceedings of the conference will be published in a dedicated volume and the best one selected to be inserted in the FORUM A+P Journal TDW special issue.

Wishing you an unforgettable event and looking forward to having you in Tirana,

Skënder Luarasi PhD & Valerio Perna PhD


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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