Ph.D., Boston University, 2011
Quinn Hall, Room 221
Courses: Introduction to Design (TMD 126,) CAD for Textiles and Apparel (TMD 346,) Fashion Theory and Analysis (TMD 424)
Karl completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Material Culture in 2011 from Boston University.His dissertation, examining the state and nature of national dress in Iceland, was awarded the University Professors Edmonds Prize as the best dissertation of the academic year 2010-2011.
Research interests are directed toward the role apparel and design plays in the creation of personal, ethnic and national identity. Environmental concerns, especially in how the design community needs to contribute to environmental sustainability are also an increasing area of interest and focus. He has since 2010 been involved in a cross-disciplinary research project with scholars at the University of Iceland on nationalistic culture-creation in 19th century Iceland. He is now turning toward investigating the design and cultural needs and constraints of clothing in very-long-term space exploration and was awarded a grant from URI's Council for Research toward this purpose in June of 2013.
Karl has taught art, design theory, apparel design, and CAD since 1991. In 1994, he was commissioned to create, and head for its initial year, a Department of Industrial Design at The Reykjavik Technical College in Iceland, where he taught a number of design related courses from '91-'96. Moving to Rhode Island in 1996, he began teaching at URI that fall and taught Apparel Design (TMD 327,) and Portfolios and Presentations (TMD 427) for 15 years. In the school year of 2010-2011, he also lectured on the Development of Contemporary Fashion (TMD 240) and chair the Textiles and Clothing Seminar (TMD 402) on the theme of "Future Vision." and --with Dr. Martin Bide-- Sustainability in Textiles and Apparel (GCH 104). He has also taught Apparel Design ('96-'00) and An Introduction to Illustration and Design for Apparel ('04) at RISD's Department of Continuing Education in Providence.
After graduating from the Wimbledon School of Art in London in 1986 with a degree in 3d design for theater, Karl worked as an artist and designer for 20 years. Credits include over 40 theatrical productions, 4 films, 2 public artworks, and numerous commissions for sets and costumes, couture, exhibitions, graphic design, murals, lighting, installations, art direction, and production design. Karl also designed at the Mid-Ocean Studio from 2001-2007, creating CAD models for the artist Brower Hatcher and collaborating on the development of biomimetic sculpture. These efforts involved researching cellular automata and natural morphology to develop algorithms and computerized methods for the auto-generation of structural forms obeying organic principles. The project required collaboration with Brown University’s SHAPE Lab, a multidisciplinary project supported by the National Science Foundation.
Papers and articles:
Aspelund. K. “Sigurdur Gudmundsson,” “Dress and Design,” “Commemorations and Festivals in Iceland.” In Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe. Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms (SPIN www.spinnet.eu). Huizinga Institute, Amsterdam. 2012.
K. Aspelund. “Who are these Folk? What is their Dress? Problems of Definition in the Study of Women’s National Dress in Iceland.” Nordiskt Draktseminarium, 2009. (Proceedings, Nordic Councils for National Dress, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. 2011¬†
G. H. Rosenkjaer, O. Kristjansdottir, K. Aspelund. “The birth of a national costume: The making of a distinct Icelandic identity, 1857-1874.” Nordiskt Draktseminarium, 2009. (Proceedings, Nordic Councils for National Dress, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. 2011
Aspelund, K. “On the Responsibility of Designers” in session on “Hippocratic Innovation: What’s the next Next” EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration (ES:GC2) European Parliament, Brussels. 4th-8th March 2013.
Aspelund, K. “Necessary Advances in Textiles for Space-Travel: Implications for Current Emergency Needs on Earth” in session: “Time, distance and destinations.” EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration (ES:GC2) European Parliament, Brussels. 4th-8th March 2013.
Aspelund, K. “Biomimicry and Textiles: Solving Shared Problems of Sustainability on and off the Planet.” In session: “Life, environment and habitats.” EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration (ES:GC2) European Parliament, Brussels. 4th-8th March 2013.
Aspelund, K. “The 100 Year Starship: What to Wear, What to Pack? Inspiring investigations in textiles and apparel toward a sustainable industry, and human needs, constraints, and behavior.” The 100 Year Starship Symposium 2012 (Plenary Session.) Houston, Texas. 13-16 September, 2012
Aspelund, K. “The Foremothers Revisited: The Continuing Story of Icelandic National Identity Creation with Textiles and Women's Dress." Textile Society of America: 13th Biennial Symposium, Washington, DC. September 2012.
Aspelund, K. “A Nations Poetic Invention": Sigurdur Gudmundsson and the creation of cultural boundaries in the new society of the 19th century.” Forum on the Artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, the Evening Society, and Culture Creation in Iceland 1848-1874. Hosted by the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik. Organizers: Terry Gunnell, University of Iceland and Karl Aspelund, URI. March 2012.
“Seven Green Gates: The Art and Science of Ecologically Friendly Fashion Design” Guest lecture in TMD402 seminar on the Art and Science of Fashion, URI 20th Feb. 2013.