NORDES 2021 - 2nd Call for Papers - Matters of Scale 

The 9th Nordic Design Research Society (NORDES) conference

hosted at Design School Kolding and University of Southern Denmark – Kolding.

15-18 Aug 2021



Full call is at

Matters of scale

Scale is ubiquitous in the world of design, but its implications mostly go unnoticed. Terms that are easy to use, like the global or human-scale, have widespread allure and even impact, yet they also hide and confuse.

Although scale is a fundamental feature of all systems, artefacts and organisms, it is surprisingly rarely reflected upon in design. In the abstract, scale points to mathematical features but it is, above all, inherently relational and comparative. To think about scale nearly always involves thinking about another context of activity or reception that is either inside, outside or beyond the immediate field of practice. Design research may be pivotal in how matters of scale are understood and acted on.


In these times of urgent troubles, problems appear to be large-scale and designers are often invited to ‘scale up’ their efforts to solve them, or defend the wellbeing or the rights of a universal ‘human’. Meanwhile viruses, for instance, wreak havoc in machines and bodies across different orders of scale, connecting and disconnecting in complicated ways. If size, temporal duration, scope, territory and impact work in scalar ways in design, whether noticed or not, how can we learn to take scale seriously?


Nordes 2021 provides opportunities to explore the multiple roles, processes and impacts of scales across all areas of design and design research in all their manifestations. How does scale matter in the context of design, designs and designers? What kinds of scalar relationships does design involve and how does or might design research identify and problematise these?


Full papers, exploratory papers, exhibition artifacts and workshops that, in design research, explicitly address the topic of ‘Matters of Scale’ are invited.


The matters of scale

Potential conference themes may include, but are not limited to:

Audit, measurement and ranking
Manufacture, modularity and making
Human-, non-human and other scales and calibrations
Queer scales
Communities, publics, diasporas, networks
Governance, design for policy and implementation
Downscaling, relocalising, resilience, resistance
Territories, borders, shrinkage, dead spaces
Economies of scale
Temporal regimes: routines and irregularities; sprints and hacks
Open, big and small data
Prototypes, toolkits, archetypes, blueprints, guidelines, models
Platforms and one-offs
Representations, reproductions, fakes
Submission categories
Full submissions to all categories are due to January 20, 2021 and will receive peer review. Full and exploratory papers are subject to a double-blind, peer review process, and accepted full and exploratory papers will be published in the online Nordes Digital Archive.

Submission categories:

Full papers
Exploratory short papers
Exhibition artifacts
Doctoral Consortium
You can now find the submission template, and detailed descriptions of each of the submission categories: Full papers, Exploratory papers, Exhibition and Workshops.


We are especially excited about the workshop and exhibition categories where the chairs are encouraging everyone to stretch and explore different formats and places for engagement.


The Workshop Chairs Danielle Wilde & Susan Kozel introduce the call with: “Nordes Workshops in 2021 will provide the opportunity to translate Matters of Scale into practice. With the shattering of conventions and practices of all kinds occurring at present, Matters of Scale can be addressed with added urgency and vitality. The what, the how, and the scope of scale? Micro, macro, global, multi-species, relational, temporal, ephemeral? The inside, the outside, the beyond? We invite you to investigate Matters of Scale at the same time as posing the question of what it means to workshop, to make or to practice together in current circumstances? For Nordes 2021, the traditional workshop format can be stretched so that Matters of Scale are reconfigured, critiqued and re-performed. Formats can engender opportunities to meet, engage in in depth exchanges, discuss, reflect or provoke. They can take place in Kolding, in distributed locations, outside or online”. Call for workshops: Matters of Scale in Practice


The Exhibition Chairs Eva Knutz & Kathrina Dankl have moved the exhibition into urban space. They introduce the call with: “The exhibition format of Nordes 2021 will take participants outside the doors of the main conference venues and into the city of Kolding. Alongside a route through the city, spatial objects such as a bridge, flora such as trees and fauna such as ducks have been picked as starting points for site-specific design experiments that negotiate matters of scale. Scaling in this context, attempts to bring about temporary experiments that create a dialogue between different actors and relate to the term “scale” in various ways. These may be spatial investigations and interactions, dealing with light/ heavy, micro/macro, below/above the ground; they might discuss relations and context-specificity, for instance public places/private spaces/non-places or local/global scale/connecting with many/linking a few; design experiments may well negotiate cultural citizenship and communication among humans and non-humans in the city.” Call for exhibition: Agency in the City of Kolding


Key dates

20 Jan 2021 Deadline for submissions

1 April 2021 Notification to authors and contributors

3 May 2021 Final submission deadline

15-18 Aug 2021 Conference


Jamer Hunt as keynote speaker at NORDES´21

The organizers of Nordes2021 proudly present Jamer Hunt as the first keynote speaker at the conference. Under the heading Powers of Eleven, Hunt will address how designers need scale as a conceptual framework for thinking through the present. To quote from Hunt’s keynote abstract: “Digital dematerialization and network entanglements are deforming our perception and conception of scale and unsettling our capacity to link cause and effect — or design with its outcomes. Cutting across disciplines and ranging across topics (from ants to traffic circles and from surveillance systems to COVID-19), this presentation will x-ray our current social predicaments and outline design strategies for navigating the complexity of our many “broken” systems.” Hunt’s talk is a further development of ideas found in his recently published book Not to scale – how the Small Becomes Large, the Large Becomes Unthinkable and the unthinkable becomes Possible, published on Grand Central Publishing. Jamer Hunt is Vice Provost for Transdisciplinary Initiatives and Associate Professor of Transdisciplinary Design University, The New School, Parsons.


On behalf of the organizers.


Eva Brandt & Thomas Markussen

General conference chairs



Best regards,

Thomas Markussen

Associate Professor

Department of Design and Communication


+45 65 50 12 35


+45 93 50 71 96

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University of Southern Denmark

Universitetsparken 1

DK-6000 Kolding


Eeva Berglund

Adjunct Professor (Environmental Policy)

Department of Design

twitter: @eevabee