Call for Abstracts: Issue 05 "Conflicts of Interest"
“Conflicts of interest” are said to compromise the impartiality of research, but what would it mean to be disinterested? Ethical codes warn us that researchers’ objectivity can be corrupted by a clashing set of interests—those of funding agencies, clients and publics, as well as researchers’ self-interest in professional advancement or personal gain. If the resolution of such conflicts might typically call for avoidance, recusal or disclosure, what would such strategies mean for the design disciplines and research on the built environment? What varied interests, expressed in the form of money or other manifestations of influence, do designers contend with? Who does impartiality protect, and when are conflicts of interest productive?
Issue 05 asks how researchers define an ethics of interest and disinterest across diverse structures of research funding. How do designers reify, leverage, alter or sidestep the constraints of financial support, and from what vantage points? How is the value of research assessed, and in what marketplaces?
Beyond the automotive industry’s role in the Federal-Aid Highway Act or BP’s now-defunct sponsorship of the Tate Modern, even the most speculative work is governed by the economics of research. Universities shape niche publishing industries by determining tenure criteria and create new structures for commercialization as student debts escalate. Government agencies and NGOs issue grants captured from local tax bases or global markets to test ever-changing definitions of welfare, social justice and development. Even Silicon Valley-style start-ups and crowd-funding campaigns rely on licensing and liability protocols developed within the service professions. From philanthropy to profit, and from patronage to entrepreneurship, we hope to examine how researchers locate their role in directing the systemic reach of such funding structures.
We seek thoughtful and playful approaches to applied research in the built environment. Contributions may include opinion pieces, research papers on pivotal moments from a history of applied research, speculative drawing series about the protocols of research practice or photo essays on research projects. For this issue especially, we welcome opportunities to publish interviews with representatives of foundations, government agencies and design practices. Articles are not limited in length (600-2000 words, recommended) and can be published as text, photo essays, videos or other media. Contributors are encouraged to demonstrate techniques and protocols in meticulous detail. Eligibility to contribute is not limited by institutional affiliation or area of expertise.
To apply, email the following in one pdf document to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Title and subtitle. - Author name and 50-word bio.
- Abstract describing context, argument and intended format and length of your proposed contribution, 300 words max.
- Design or writing samples and website urls, optional.
Deadlines for Issue 05 are as follows:
- Sep 1, 2016: Abstracts due (we will also review abstracts on a rolling basis throughout the summer of 2016, so feel free to send them in advance).
- Jan 9, 2017: Contributions due (once selected).
- May, 2017: Publication.