Plate Keynotes 2019

Prof. Otto von Busch
Parsons School of Design | The New School, USA

Lifetimes of Conflict

Dr. Otto von Busch is associate professor of Integrated Design at Parsons school of design, The New School, in New York City. He has a background in arts, craft, design and theory and has taught and exhibited globally. In his artistic research practice he explores the emergence of a new hacktivist designer role, where the designer engages participants into a collective experience of hands-on empowerment. Taking inspiration from various forms of social activism, this is an engaged and collective process of enablement, creative resistance and DIY practice, where a community shares and develops new capabilities of craftsmanship for social engagement. This work especially highlights how the powers of fashion can be bent to achieve a positive personal and social condition with which the Everyperson is free to grow to their full potential.


Prof. Jacqueline M. Cramer
Utrecht University,
The Netherlands

The evolution of Implementing circular economy

Prof. Jacqueline Cramer is member of the Amsterdam Economic Board, particularly in charge of the circular economy and Professor of Sustainable Innovation at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Before, she was Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment for the Labour Party (2007 –2010) in the Netherlands. Her background is primarily related to industry, working as a consultant for many years with more than 200 companies on the implementation of sustainable entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility and circular economy. She represents a unique mix of academic track record, top level political experience and down to earth activism ranging from eco-design, circular economy and practical sustainability to fight against marine plastic pollution.

Prof. Heike Derwanz
University of Oldenburg, Germany

The end of life of fast fashion

Heike Derwanz is professor of Material Culture in Educational Settings at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. As a cultural anthropologist and art historian specializing in metropolitan culture and lifestyle she researches urban textile practices in households and their embeddedness in city infrastructures. In her projects about everyday clothing practices in times of fast fashion, minimalism and other degrowth-practices she is interested in social and economic practices of creative innovators and entrepreneurs. The fact that Heike Derwanz has gained deep knowledge on the material culture of clothing in her ethnographic research adds much authenticity and colour to her presentations.


Presentations and sessions at the 2019 PLATE Conference will cover the following topics:

Product lifetimes and product design

  • Product lifetimes in a historical perspective
  • Modular product design
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Lifetime prediction and lifetime prognostics
  • Lessons learnt from industrial obsolescence management
  • Education for ecodesign
  • Miniaturisation as a challenge for ecodesign
  • The case of planned obsolescence

Circular Economy and circularity in business

  • Historical examples for circular economy
  • Circular Economy and globalization
  • Circular Economy – overcoming the economic growth imperative?
  • Rebound effects of the Circular Economy
  • The role of cooperation and transparency in value chains
  • Local, regional, global value circles
  • Transition to circular business models
  • Cultural change in organisations towards circularity

Sustainable consumption

  • Sufficiency in product consumption
  • From fast fashion to slow fashion
  • The role of lifetime labelling
  • Product attachment
  • Individualisation and lifestyles
  • Consumer practices leading to short and long use-times
  • Awareness for longevity

Sharing economy and collaborative consumption

  • Product sharing communities
  • Long lasting products as commons
  • The meaning of owning
  • The role of social networks
Repair, DIY and maker communities
  • The empowerment of consumers
  • Fostering competences and creativity in DIY communities
  • Grassroots innovation for sustainable production
  • Enhance interconnectedness between DIY communities
  • Open knowledge, open design, open data, open source…

Policy, regulation and legislation

  • Policies to regulate lifetimes
  • How to design an architecture of responsibility
  • Global challenges and national solutions
  • Role of lobbying from corporations and civil society

Obsolescence 4.0 – Digitalisation and product lifetimes

  • Smart technologies and smart products
  • Software obsolescence
  • Digital social innovation for longer lasting products
  • Data security, data privacy
  • Product monitoring – Consumer observation and manipulation in a surveillance economy?

Other PLATE-related topics

  • We welcome additional submissions not directly fitting under the listed topics
  • Please make sure that product lifetimes and either environmental or social sustainability feature clearly in your proposal. For example, analysing social effects from longer or shorter product lifetimes may be in scope, while purely economic sustainability viewpoints may not be suitable