Special Issue

Alive. Active. Adaptive: Experiential Knowledge and Emerging Materials
Full Paper: 28 Mar. '18

Call for Papers

Suzanne Lee uses microbial cellulose composed of millions of tiny bacteria to produce clothing in her bathtub (Science Museum, 2010); Carole Collet, in “This is Alive” (2013), invites us to imagine a world in which plants grow products and bacteria are genetically reprogrammed; Anna Vallgårda (2009) introduces the notion of “computational composites”, a new design space in which conventional materials (like wood) become more expressive and adaptable through computation. These are a few examples of how the emergence of new materials and new approaches to using materials is offering an opportunity for achieving new experiences in design. But as materials acquire new agency and interactional possibilities (whether algorithmic, biological or chemical), how do we work with such alive, active and adaptive materials? And as materials acquire connectivity (whether digital or organic) and thus the ability to fluctuate within more fluid situations of use and need, how do we understand the movements, temporalities and relationships of one material in relation to other materials? This calls for different skill sets and for different ways of understanding and mobilizing materials in design.

In this special issue, we welcome submissions from a diverse range of researchers and practitioners whose work is centered on the experiential knowledge acquired through working with emerging materials that are alive, active and adaptive.

Suggested Research Themes

  • Designerly or artistic ways of understanding alive, active, adaptive materials
  • Frameworks, approaches, tools and methods to support designing with alive, active and adaptive materials
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations between different disciplines, such as materials science and design, in opening up new research spaces and design possibilities with alive, active and adaptive materials
  • Explorations of future applications of alive, active and adaptive materials
  • Critical views on the future of emerging materials and the implications for design research and practice
  • Design research on and reflective accounts of experience and practice with alive, active and adaptive materials
  • Implications of alive, active and adaptive materials on (materials) education in design or other creative disciplines


  1. Collet, C. (2013). This is alive. Retrieved from http://thisisalive.com
  2. Science M useum. (2010). Bio-couture. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/WVW-jSdhILs
  3. Vallgårda, A. (2009). Computational composites: Understanding the materiality of computational technology (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Retrieved from http://akav.dk/publications/kappe.pdf


  • Full Paper Due:
  • Notification of Review Results:
  • Final Version of Paper Due:
  • Notification of Acceptance:
  • Special Issue Publication Date:

28 March 2018
1 June 2018
2 July 2018
20 July 2018
30 October 2018

Submission of Papers

Manuscripts should be prepared using the template file and guidelines found at the AuthorGuidelines page. Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. A double-blind review process will be employed for this special issue.

Manuscripts should also be sent through the online submission system. Authors should choose “Special Issue on Material and Design” as the Journal Section when submitting papers.

Special Issue Editors

Elvin Karana and Elisa GiaccardiKristina Niedderer
 Industrial Design Engineering,
Delft University of Technology
 Faculty of Arts,
University of Wolverhampton
Nithikul Nimkulrat Jeng-Neng Fan
 Department of Textile Design,
Estonian Academy of Arts
 Department of Design,
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology