Design in Plastics from the Practical to the Philosophical

International Conference 17th – 18th September 2015 Arts University Bournemouth

What is Provocative Plastics?

Plastics are pervasive. They are now used in manufacturing more than any other material group and have thus shaped the modern world. They are also widely used as a creative medium. Nonetheless, they are controversial: for some they are beautiful and adaptive; for others unauthentic and destructive.

This conference provides an international forum for scholars, art & design practitioners, and members of the plastics industry to examine the past, present and potential of plastics in a balanced way, juxtaposing the positive with the negative. It is expected that the conference will play a key role in developing a realistic understanding of the meaning of plastics for society and in influencing how plastics are perceived and deployed in the future.

It will also enable knowledge exchange between the plastics industry and the academic community.

Hosted by:

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Plastic reality: the provocative nature of plastics

This session will focus on the challenging reality of plastics in promotion, product and packaging.

Plastic environment: plastics and world sustainability

This session will focus on ways to improve the impact of plastics on the environment.

Plastic muse: the inspirational characteristics of plastics

This session will focus on how the different characteristics of plastic materials can contribute to creativity.

Plastic printing: 3D printing as inspiration

This session will focus on the potential of 3D printing as a resource for artists and as a contributor to public appreciation of plastic materials.

Plastic legacy: plastics remembered

This session will focus on issues relating to plastics heritage within museums.

Plastic value: the emotional and economic price of plastics

This session will focus on plastics in relation to different value systems and their changing fortunes within these value systems.


  • Sebastian Conran

    Sebastian Conran

    Sebastian Conran is a leading British designer and Managing Director of the product design company, Sebastian Conran Associates (SCA).

  • Kigge Hvid

    Kigge Hvid
    CEO, INDEX: Design to Improve Life

    Kigge Hvid has led the development and growth of INDEX: Design to Improve Life® since her appointment as founding CEO in 2002. Kigge combines a deep understanding of design parameters, business requirements and economic realities.

  • Eric Bischof

    Eric Bischof
    Vice President (Corporate Sustainability), Bayer MaterialScience

    Eric Bischof has more than 20 years’ experience in the chemicals industry, including positions in manufacturing, product management, supply chain management and business process redesign. Eric currently works for Bayer MaterialScience.


Plastic legacy: plastics remembered

  • Brenda Keneghan Victoria and Albert Museum The changing fortunes of plastic objects in museums and galleries.
  • Deborah Cane & Rachel Cockett Birmingham Museums Trust Art or a cart? ARTicle 14, Debrouilee-toi, toi-meme.
  • Amelia Knowlson Newcastle University Plastic networks: the use of 3D printed museum objects to facilitate relationships between museums.

Plastic value: the emotional and economic price of plastics

  • Guenter Latterman University of Bayreuth, Germany Glass and plastics: a provocative comparison of two polymer classes.
  • Gerson Lessa Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Materiality and perception: plastics as precious materials.
  • Maria Georgaki University of the Arts, London The canonisation of plastics: plastics and aspects of ‘value’ in the ILEA Camberwell collection.
  • Kirsten Hardie Arts University Bournemouth Plastic designs that can disgust and delight: the polemic polarizing of plastics.
  • Tone Rasch Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology National attitudes around the introduction and reception of cellulose fibres in Norway.
  • Russell Gagg Arts University Bournemouth The material consciousness of plastics.
  • Mark Suggitt Derwent Valley World Heritage Site, Derbyshire Plastic fantastic lovers: post war perceptions of plastics in popular culture.
  • Roderick Walden, Cathy Lockhart, Stefan Lie & Berto Pandolfo University of Technology Sydney, Australia Imperfect aesthetic.

Formal papers will be complemented by academic posters.

Calls for submissions have now closed. We’re delighted to announce we’ve received 45 submissions from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and across the United Kingdom and we were equally delighted by their quality and quantity. The peer review panel has now met and agreed the content of the conference will be as follows:

Plastic reality: the provocative nature of plastics

  • Dom Lane Colour and Thing Marketing Agency,Bristol Plastic Brandtastic: a plotted history of brand bribery from Cracker Jack to Happy Meals
  • Alan Manley Loughborough University Wear and affect: cosmetic obsolescence of plastics in digital products.
  • Joanne Lee Sheffield Hallam University Witches knickers and carrier bag theories: thinking through the plastic.

Plastic environment: plastics and world sustainability

  • Hadi Mehrpouya & Diego Zamora Edinburgh College of Art Mobile plastics: a messed up design paradigm
  • Abu Saifullah & Ben Thomas Bournemouth University Fracture behaviours analysis of rotary moulded plastic materials used in marine leisure craft application.
  • Susan Mossman Science Museum, London Plastics and social responsibility.

Plastic muse: the inspirational characteristics of plastics

  • Flora McClean Royal College of Art, London The PVC Beret: can feminism explain why wearing a plastic hat is provocative?
  • Richard Hooper Liverpool Hope University Thomian luminosity in CNC fabricated cast acrylic sculpture.

Plastic printing: 3D printing as inspiration

  • Daniel Rourke & Moreehshin Allahyari Goldsmiths, University of London and South Bank University, London
    The 3D Manifesto and Cookbook.
  • Evan Raskob Ravensbourne, London Wound sounds: turning recorded sound into plastic sculpture using computational design and 3D printing
  • Diego Zamora Edinburgh College of Art
    Rapport and Plastics: how 3D printing might contribute to better relationships with.


Vanitas Exhibition

Provocative Plastics Exhibition: "Provocative Plastics? Discuss, Debate, Deliberate"

11th September 2015 – 12th April 2016

This exhibition will run along-side the conference and will give you the opportunity to have your say.

Plastic Vanitas Exhibition

TheGallery, AUB
10th September – 29th October 2015

Plastic Vanitas is an exhibition of work by Mariele Neudecker, inspired by the collection of the Museum of Design in Plastics, a research resource of the Arts University Bournemouth.


Arts University Bournemouth
Wallisdown, Poole
BH12 5HH
United Kingdom

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What’s happening?

Thursday 17th September 2015

  • Day 1 conference
  • Gala Dinner

Friday 18th September 2015

  • Day 2 conference

Full agenda of 2 day conference is to be confirmed.


Standard Ticket £250
Delegates presenting a peer reviewed paper Free
Delegates presenting a poster £75
Research students £50

Buy Tickets

NB: Prices include refreshments and a gala dinner on 17th September 2015.

Discounts applicable for certain named groups. Please contact for further information.