MD Journal #7 Call for papers Design & New Craft. Between industrial craftsmanship and interculturalism

December 31, 2018

Design & New Craft. Between industrial craftsmanship and interculturalism

In the world of design, solid yet sometimes controversial comparisons can be made between the various disciplines. These include the relationship that exists between the culture of craftsmanship and the culture of design, judged over time as having a complex and ambiguous interdependence. However, this relationship has been overhauled ever since design started facing postmodernist requirements, therefore having to deal with the division and fusion of genres, the polysemy of content and the merging and intercession of different skills and experience from different origins. This situation has helped to overcome the historical contradiction that faced conventional industrial design, based on the distinction between products that had or hadn’t been produced industrially.

This is also a relationship that needs to be scientifically reclassified, when considering that a new connection between design and craftsmanship has come into being within a plural culture that has modernised and once again transformed the notions of tradition, territory and localism, based on significant demographic, economic and political changes. This is a tangible and intangible change that has not only affected the processes involved with “knowing how” to design and make a product, but that also impacts the actual production itself: it is all about social heritage, a matrix of expertise, the phenomenon of multicultural and intercultural integration and the reorganisation and modernisation of the workplace and production and of the urban space itself.

This ongoing process between design and craftsmanship is also influenced by how the factory system and workplaces have invaded society, but also by how society as a whole has taken over manufacturing areas, freeing the entrepreneurial culture of closed-minded industrial rhetoric. A shifting context that is also home to makers’ movements, self-brand economic models, open source activities and “on demand” world views: a world involved in the process of digitalisation, therefore meaning experimental production and consumption criteria for goods, now supported by unprecedented technological and ideological networks.

The relationship between design projects and handmade production can today be represented as a composite area, home to historical skills, collaborative communities, creative economies, supportive relationships, joint projects and cultural geographies. A real and rhetorical place where we can find a passion for quality work, the desire to improve how we do our jobs and to learn more about techniques, the vocation for material experimentation and experimentation with materials, creating roots for communities of socially-recognised practices and, lastly, a place where practices once again become theoretical knowledge to be preserved.

These considerations form the basis of the critical analysis featured in the 7th issue of MD Journal: in the context of industrial craftsmanship and interculturalism, examining “New Craft” in the various symmetries that exist between this phenomenon and the design system. The analysis uses case studies, best practices and theoretical reflections to explore the weaknesses, the strengths and the chain of values that bring together design and craftsmanship, also with regard to the sometimes ambiguous relationship with issues of identity and local traditions. We also ask ourselves about the changes affecting the role of the designer, operating environments, entrepreneurial models and the relationships between real territories and metaphorical ones. In this regard, it is also important to consider how coming into contact with other craft traditions, developed through migration flows, introduces unexpected decorative qualities and new styles and functions, in addition to everything else. Lastly, we question which research models and what kind of researchers are necessary in order to implement the relationship between design and craftsmanship - and also to create innovation in the field of training.


Please find below some possible topics for discussion, focus points and research questions (D/C stands for Design and Craftsmanship):

- Tools and expertise to help mediation processes between D/C disciplines;

- Fields of research and researcher roles necessary to innovate the relationship between D/C;

- Desk and field research into design to increase the connection between D/C;

- The post-industrial world and New Economy in the network of craft activity;

- The relationship between D/C in the experimentation and integration of various training programmes;

- The role of computer and digital technologies in the processes to innovate manufacturing traditions;

- Virtual and well-publicised craftsmanship and craftsmanship in the world networks of innovation as a way to innovate processes and products;

- Visual communications and multimedia methods and tools to enhance the D/C relationship;

- The D/C connection as an example of collaborative communities, creative economies and supportive relationships;

- The value of intercultural and multicultural processes to trigger unprecedented development for the culture of craftsmanship;

- Craftsmanship, local areas, local development, identity, figurative heritage and a wealth of varieties, products: strengths and weaknesses;

- Craftsmanship, Genius Loci, rituals, clichés, customs, echo of traditions: constraints and opportunities;

- D/C in the relationship with traditional materials and new material paradigms;

- The role of tradition in the processes to innovate the culture of craftsmanship;

- The D/C relationship as a cultural asset.


Important dates
Abstract submission January 30th, 2019
Notification of Abstract Review Results February 15th, 2019
Submission paper April 17th, 2019
Notification of Peer Review Results May 25th, 2019
Submission of final version June 5th, 2019
Publication June/July 2019


#7 Issue Editors
Vincenzo Cristallo, La Sapienza, Università degli Studi di Roma
Carlo Martino, La Sapienza, Università degli Studi di Roma
Sabrina Lucibello, La Sapienza, Università degli Studi di Roma

Publishing process
Researches are invited to send to the Scientific Section of the MD Journal an abstract of 6000 maximum 8000 characters (including spaces), written in Italian (only foreign authors may write in English), by January 30th, 2019.
The abstract, written in a clear, succinct manner, must be pertinent to the topic of the Call, set forth the objectives and purposes of the paper and be accompanied by keywords that highlight the project’s main points.
Abstracts must be sent to
Authors will receive a notification of acceptance by February 15th 2019.
After that, authors must send the articles (including all documentation, see link below), by April 17th, 2019.
to the same email address:

Following the review by peer referees, comments will be notified to authors by May 25th, 2019.
and they will have to send the final version of the article to, by June 5th, 2019.
The e-version of the open-class MD Journal 7/2019 is free and will be published on June/July 2019. 
The magazine will also be printed and sent to the authors and to the main national libraries.

Nature and style of MD Journal scientific articles.
Please be reminded that scientific articles must comply with the following:
- definition and development of research topics;
- peer to peer argumentative intersubjective structure and style
- introduce connections and comparisons with established knowledg- explicit references (notes, bibliography, sources).

Please refer to 
Articles must be written in Italian; only foreign authors may write in English.
Authors must comply with the Editorial Rules.
Please refer to

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MD Material Design
ISSN 2239-6063

edited by
Alfonso Acocella