Design & Regional Resilience in Japan: Talk by Professor Sarah Teasley


Watch a recording of this event in the player above.

Explore historical ties between design creativity and regional thriving in Japan in an extensively illustrated talk by Sarah Teasley, Professor of Design at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Throughout Japan’s history, designers and makers have had to weather extreme disruption. The stories of the products, systems, relationships and communities created by designers and makers as old markets shifted and disappeared is part of a much larger story about design within national, regional and global movements of capital, people and ideas.

Precisely how people in the many local communities that comprise Japan’s rich culture of making and creativity have responded to these opportunities and changing conditions, however, is a very local story. As this talk elaborates, it is also a deeply historical one, and how communities have reshaped their craft to thrive in new conditions demonstrates skill, ingenuity and a commitment to community wellbeing.

As part of Japan House’s commitment to presenting regional ingenuity and resilience, and as a segue to the exhibition The Carpenters’ Line: Woodworking Heritage in Hida Takayama, this talk explores a rich variety of initiatives from the past 150 years, from wood, lacquerware and fashion to social enterprises.

About the speaker 

Professor Sarah Teasley

Sarah Teasley is a social historian, design researcher and author, known for her research into histories of design, creativity and communities in modern Japan. She is Professor of Design at RMIT University in Melbourne. Her current projects include the DESIAP/Kogei-Net transnational mentoring programme for women’s leadership in design, craft and social innovation in Asia-Pacific, supported by the AHRC and the Australia-Japan Foundation, and historical research into the reception of cutting-edge technology and materials in local design and manufacturing, supported by the Australian Research Council. She is the author of Designing Modern Japan (Reaktion, 2022), co-editor of Design and Society in Modern Japan (2016) and Global Design History (Routledge, 2011), and has published numerous articles and book chapters.

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