BIAAS: Podcast – Designing His Life: Victor Papanek with Alison J. Clarke


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Podcast with Alison J. Clarke

In this new podcast, Alison J. Clarke discusses her latest book, Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World. Clarke has written the first biography of the Austrian-American trailblazer in social design. In the late 1960s, Victor Papanek began writing his seminal “Design for the Real World” which argued for socially and ecologically sustainable design long before the ensuing movements years later. Published in 1971, the impact and relevance of his book persists globally.

As a teenager, Victor Papanek fled Nazi-occupied Austria with his mother to land in New York. Before he even began his studies at Cooper Union, Papanek’s experiences in Vienna had shaped his socially-responsible outlook. Prof. Clarke explains why, to understand Papanek and his work, she had to examine his life as an Austrian-émigré.

About Presenter:

Alison J. Clarke is a design historian and social anthropologist. She is Professor of Design History and Theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where she is also Director of the Victor J. Papanek Foundation. She has written a number of books, including Tupperware: The Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, and contributed to BBC programing. In 2013, BIAAS awarded her a grant to research and complete a biography on Austrian-American designer and theorist Victor Papanek. Her book, Victor Papanek: Designer for the Real World, was published by MIT Press in 2021.

To learn more, visit the BIAAS website.