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Online Seminar


Design Stories



The seminar is part of "Looking Through Objects", a curatorial project that celebrates
women’s contribution to change through design in Poland, the Baltic region and beyond.

Design is an inseparable part of our lives. Whether its furniture, everyday utilitarian objects, fashion, book covers or signage in public places – we are surrounded by the fruits of designers' labor. We see their designs, but we often know nothing about their creators – the designers themselves. To remedy this situation, SWPS University, in collaboration with the National Museum in Gdańsk and the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design in Tallinn, would like to invite everyone to an online seminar showcasing the work of female designers and highlighting the changes that have been occurring in the world of design over the past 10 years.

Participation is free of charge. Registration required.

November 25-26, 2021
15.00-19.00 CET (UTC+1)

Female Perspective

The seminar is part of a two-year project “Looking Through Objects”. The goal of the “Design Stories” is to showcase a perspective of female Polish designers who mostly work abroad, and designers and researchers from Estonia and Great Britain. The seminar will focus on the transformation that has occurred over the last 10 years in the world of design, and on personal experiences and ideas of the designers, which will be presented in the form of interviews.

The seminar will be recorded and made available post the live transmission on the online channels of SWPS University, the National Museum in Gdańsk, and the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design in Tallinn.


DAY 1: NOVEMBER 25, 2021

15:00-15:10 – Welcome and introduction to the “Looking Through Objects” project – Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka (SWPS University) and Gian Luca Amadei (RCA)

15:10-15:30Libby Sellers, United Kingdom – “We Don’t Embroider Cushions Here” …???
Libby Sellers will give a historical overview of the many reasons why women’s great contributions to the 20th century design have been largely absent from the design historical canon and why the need to redress this imbalance remains valid today. From the issues of patriarchy, the way design has been both taught and narrated, to discussions on material choice and much wider issues of geo-politics, this session seeks to highlight how female practitioners have not always been as celebrated as their male counterparts, and to show the impact this has had on our understanding of contemporary design. The session should serve as a launch pad, or a context from which the great achievements and advancements of women in design can continue to be celebrated.

15:30-15:40 – Q&A

15:40-16:00 Triin Jerlei, Estonia – Women in Estonian design. From Past to Present
This presentation focuses on Estonian design, using this small country as an example of regional variations in the role of women within local design economies. Dr. Jerlei will analyze key female figures in Estonian design history, their legacy and activities, as a pathway to understanding the importance of women in contemporary Estonian design.

16:00-16:10 – Q&A

16:10-16:30 – Anna Rosinke, Maciej Chmara, Poland/Austria/Germany – Illustrations from isolation and why do kitchens need wheels?

16:30-16:40 – Q&A

16:40-17:00 – Break

17:00-17:20  Daria Wypiór, Poland, The culture of shame
How do we define cultural norms? Why do we so often ask a question: "Is it normal? Is it appropriate"? How does shame affect our lives and is it always negative? Taking these questions as a starting point, Daria Wypiór will discuss the influence of design on overcoming taboo subjects.

17:20-17:30 – Q&A

17:30–17:50Raili Keiv, Estonia – Rethinking Ceramics
Raili Keiv will present a selection of her latest projects, which investigate and challenge a relationship between two materials. In her view, materials, such as porcelain and wood or porcelain and metal, meet through process in new and unexpected ways. She will also discuss the role of the designer as the initiator and mediator of these unique encounters.

17:50 - 18:00 Q&A

18:00 - 18:45 Round table discussion 

DAY 2: NOVEMBER 26, 2021

15:00-15:10 – Welcome and summary of the previous day Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka (SWPS University) and Gian Luca Amadei (RCA)

15:10-15:30Kärt Ojavee, Estonia, Undefined Useful Objects: exploring the future
This presentation explores the opportunities and challenges of cross-disciplinary work in a practice-led research by the speaker, who in her work, blends art and design, craft and novel technologies. Through a selection of case studies that tend to contemplate the hypothetical future rather than offer solutions for the present day, it becomes evident that the element of uncertainty has shaped the authors work, leaving the viewer in a dialogue with partly undefined objects or experiences.

15:30-15:40 – Q&A

15:40-16:00 Aleksandra Kędziorek, Poland, The Clothed Home: Mediating seasonal changes in domestic interiors
In manor houses, aristocratic mansions and peasant cottages of the pre-electric times, textiles were widely used as a seasonal clothing for architecture. Contrary to the logic of the contemporary, serviceless architecture, they required constant care: remaining at all times within the process, maintaining rituals, and staying sensitive to the subtle, cyclical changes in the environment. As such, they were the domain of women: weavers who stood behind their production, and housewives involved in household management. Taking as a starting point the research conducted for the Polish Pavilion at the 2021 London Design Biennale, Aleksandra Kędziorek will discuss women’s engagement in caring architecture and tuning in domestic spaces to the rhythm of the natural world.

16:00-16:10 – Q&A

16:10-16:30 – Wiktoria Szawiel, Poland/Portugal – Design and identity: creative praxis as a practice of the self
At present, it is widely acknowledged that design is a form of research, a powerful tool of critique, a way to construct narratives or address urgent societal issues. From a slightly different perspective, in this presentation, Wiktoria Szawiel will focus on the intimate relationship between creative praxis and the constitution of the self. By taking as a starting point her graduation project "Landscapes Within", she will reflect on the question of identity and how design can be viewed as a practice (and design education as an experience) that opens up an atypical space for self-(trans)formation and self-positioning in our actuality.

16:30-16:40 – Q&A

16:40-17:00 – Break

17:00-17:20  Klementyna Jankiewicz, Poland/Israel – Designing quantum experiences. Democratization of knowledge during the rise of the next great technological revolution
The next technological revolution, quantum computing, is around the corner. It is important to assure that the general population, not trained as quantum physicists or quantum engineers, will have easy access to this transformative and disruptive technology. In her presentation Klementyna Jankiewicz will investigate the ways design can help in the democratization of knowledge and lower the entry threshold to this fascinating, but complex and un-intuitive field.

17:20-17:30 – Q&A

17:30–17:50Sara Boś, Poland – NOfall - wearable technology that reduces the risk of dance injuries
Classical dancers are constantly balancing on the verge of mobility and endurance of the body. Ankle injuries account for 70% of all ballet-related injuries. NOfall is a wearable band designed to support the correct positioning of the foot while learning classical dance, thus increasing the safety of dancers.

17:50 - 18:00 Q&A

18:00 - 18:45 Round table discussion 


Libby Sellers

Libby Sellers is a design historian, independent curator and writer based in London. She was a former senior curator of the London’s Design Museum (2000-2007), and supported emerging design through her eponymous gallery (2007-2015). Currently, Libby focuses on writing and curation for personal initiatives, private galleries and public institutions, including the first-ever design exhibition at Frieze New York 2020. She has authored numerous essays, catalogues and publications on design, and is a juror on many international design awards. In 2018, her book Women Design, an overview of inspiring female practitioners living and creating over the last 100 years, was published by Frances Lincoln, and since then, it has inspired countless lectures, talks and articles on gender diversity in design. Since its first edition, the book has been published in numerous languages, and is now available in paperback. In 2014, Libby was named Woman of Achievement in the Arts in the British Women of the Year awards.

Triin Jerlei

Dr Triin Jerlei is a design historian, educator and curator. She currently works at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design and the Middlesex University in London. Her research interests include transnational design histories, local design in the Soviet Estonia, and the history of factory glass. Triin obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Brighton, in 2016 for her research thesis on “Industrial designers within the Soviet Estonian design ideology of the Late Socialist period, 1965-1988”. She has taught at several universities in Estonia and internationally, and curated several exhibitions.

Daria Wypiór

Daria Wypiór graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and Łódź. Her design approach and the broader context of her projects stem primarily from empathy and sensitivity and take care not only of the needs, but also the emotions of the users. Daria's versatile approach to design themes is reflected in her portfolio, which includes industrial products, jewelry, nautical design, and architectural projects. Daria was a finalist in the MAKE ME 2021 international design competition for young designers at the Łódź Design Festival, as well as Design 32, a national competition for the best design diploma in Poland. She is also the winner of the Grand Prix in the design category at Gdynia Design Days.

Dr. Kärt Ojavee

Dr. Kärt Ojavee, is an artist, designer and researcher. She experiments with new technologies and traditional textile fabricating techniques, testing the boundaries of both disciplines. In 2013, she defended her doctoral thesis on “Active Smart Interior Textiles: interactive soft displays” at the Estonian Academy of Arts, supervised by Maarja Kruusmaa at the Centre for Biorobotics. Besides working on her own practice, Kärt is currently a research fellow at the Estonian Academy of Arts’ Interior Architecture Department, where she researches experimental biomaterials and living materials.

Raili Keiv

Raili Keiv is a ceramic designer who lives and works in Tallinn, Estonia. She is intrigued by the possibilities offered not only by the large ceramics industry, but also small-scale studio work. Raili is fascinated with the perfection and efficiency offered by large-scale industry, while admiring the errors that keep, unintentionally, appearing in small-scale pieces produced by hand in her studio. During her studies, Raili completed an internship at the porcelain factory “Kahla” in Germany. Once she graduated, she set up her studio in Berlin and has recently moved back to Tallinn, where she currently lives and works.

Aleksandra Kędziorek

Aleksandra Kędziorek is an architecture historian, curator and editor based in Warsaw. She curated "The Clothed Home: Tuning In to the Seasonal Imagination" exhibition for the Polish Pavilion at the 2021 London design Biennale, and a travelling exhibition "Oskar Hansen: Open Form” (in collaboration with Ł. Ronduda and S. Guttierez for MACBA in Barcelona, Serralves Museum in Porto, Yale School of Architecture, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, 2014–17). Aleksandra was also a custodian of the Oskar and Zofia Hansen House in Szumin (2013–17). She published extensively on the history of architecture and design, including the books CIAM Archipelago: The letters by Helena Syrkus (with K. Uchowicz and M. Wirkus, 2019) and Oskar Hansen—Opening Modernism: On Open Form Architecture, Art and Didactics (with Ł. Ronduda, 2014).

Wiktoria Szawiel

Wiktoria Szawiel is a designer and a Ph.D. candidate in Arts Education at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, with a Bachelor’s degree in Product Design and the Design Academy Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with a Master’s degree in Contextual Design.

Klem Jankiewicz

Klem Jankiewicz is a designer working at the intersection of science, technology, culture, and education. She designs interfaces for quantum technologies. Klem co-founded Quantum Flytrap, a startup company bringing quantum computing, which provides solutions used not only by the industry but also professors at Oxford and Stanford, closer to users. As a part of Jankiewicz Studio, she has collaborated with cultural and educational institutions worldwide. Klem was a visiting designer at the Centre For Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore, she worked with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of California Irvine, and JW3 London. She designed the permanent artwork that is featured on the facade of the POLIN Museum in Warsaw. She also cooperated with Adam Mickiewicz Institute, most recently developing projects for the LEM 2021 project. Klem's numerous projects were showcased at international design exhibitions and festivals such as: the New York Maker Fair, ICFF New York, 100% Design Tokyo, 100% Design London, and Seoul Design Week.

Sara Boś

Sara is currently the Head of the Robotics and Digital Workshop, and tutor on the Industrial Design Programme at the School of Form in Warsaw. Her research focuses on parametric design and digital processes in manufacturing. She is also interested in exploring the symbiotic relationship between industrial manufacturing and handicrafts. Sara graduated from School of Form with a diploma in Industrial Design and the Academy of Fine Art and Design in Wroclaw and later worked at Oskar Zięta studio. Her designs were exhibited at Dutch Design Week, Milan Design Week, and Gdynia Design Days. Currently, she teaches at School of Form in Warsaw. Before embarking on her design and robotics career, Sara trained as a gymnast, ballet dancer and a musician (double bass).

Looking Through Objects Project

The main goal of the “Looking Through Objects” project is to showcase Polish female designers and to present their best designs to the world-wide audience. Through various objects, experiences, and design approaches, the curators want to depict the socio-economic transformation that has occurred on the design market over the last decade.

The project is financed by the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport as part of the “Kultura Inspirująca” (Inspiring Culture) program.

Read more about the Looking Through Objects project »

The „Looking Through Objects” project is financed by the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport as part of the “Kultura Inspirująca” (Inspiring Culture) program.



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Date and Location

November 25-26, 2020, 15.00-19.00


Sara Boś, SWPS University
e-mail: sbos@swps.edu.pl

Emilia Pawłusz, National Museum in Gdańsk
e-mail: lto@mng.gda.pl

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