Volume IV, number 1, February 2007 T2M 2007
By the time you read this you must have started to consider seriously submitting a paper or session proposal for the next T2M conference in Helmond, the Netherlands. While you are doing this, let me give you another reason which might tip the balance of your deliberations to attend, even if you end up not giving a presentation: this annual meeting will be our fth, and the Executive Committee has rightly decided to return to the cradle where it all began, in the south of Holland.
The ofcials of the city of Helmond are very much aware of this: after our meeting with the mayor in December, he agreed that Helmond should do its utmost to make this into a memorable event. Several civil servants and two aldermen (of Economic Affairs and of Culture) formed a working group that convenes monthly to monitor the progress of all preparatory work. Little Helmond should be at least as attractive to you as big Eindhoven was four years ago, even more so, because Helmond’s ambitions are grand. The city not only aspires to become one of the centers of European automotive R&D, with a special emphasis on design (inspired by the recent decision of the large and renowned research center TNO to move from Delft to Helmond, which will take effect just before the start of our conference), it also plans to found a Heritage House in which ‘mobility’ will become one of the main themes. Its ambitions are grand, indeed: recently the city, struggling to leave its ‘industrial’ past with high unemployment behind, became known because of the postmodern design of a whole new housing project, for which it hired the Italian architect Adolfo Natalini. On top of that, ECMD, the local conference organiser, received a government grant to start a project of a Virtual Mobility Museum of which the rst results will be presented during a special session at the conference. The purpose of this meeting is to seek international partners for a European project along similar lines.
The scientic committee (Bruce Pietrykowski, Garth Wilson and myself) hopes that we will see many new faces of scholars attracted to the theme of Design and Heritage. Design historians, designers and museum people will hopefully feel tempted
to mingle with transport and mobility historians. Design history is a eld in the process of experiencing a ‘cultural turn’ just like ours. Of course, as usual, all other topics are welcome, especially this year as we really wish to make this event into a reunion of all who have been involved in the founding and development of our eld. As has meanwhile become a tradition, we will have excursions, too, to the Design Week in Eindhoven, to a train collection in Leuven in nearby Belgium, and to the air museum in the Dutch polder of Flevoland. For the latter, we are currently negotiating the possibility to go
there by vintage plane.
What can you expect, apart from the conference itself? A special Design Event coinciding with the Design Week in neighboring Eindhoven will be organised, opened two weeks before the conference to draw national attention. Student groups from all three university design schools (Eindhoven, Delft, Enschede, in the east of the country) as well as from the world-famous Design Academy in Eindhoven will compete to get their designs of ‘mobility interiors’ accepted for display at the event. A sequence of presentations by top designers during these two weeks will hopefully draw extra crowds, and this sequence will have its climax during a special plenary session during our Saturday conference day where historians and designers will discuss common topics yet to be developed. The subsequent banquet will also be an event which will not easily be forgotten, given the fact that we have asked some design students to cooperate with the local Food Manufacturers League to prepare a dinner which appeals not only to our papilas but also to our eyes, and…well, the rest should, following tradition, remain a surprise.
Artist Impression of the Virtual Mobility Museum
The ‘monitoring committee’ is also discussing how to make the visit to Helmond during the three days of 25 to 28 October worthwhile for your partner, friend or family, too. Together with the city’s PR department we are now preparing a ‘social programme’ (well, more ‘social’ than attending conference sessions…) interesting enough for your partner to simply refuse stay-ing home and for yourself to test your loyalty towards our association which, of course, hopes to see you at the conference instead of at one of the places and events your partner will be visiting. We are preparing ample information to be placed at our website soon to give you a avour of what you can expect, so please invite your partner or friend to come along and join us in celebrating the conference’s fifth anniversary.