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Student with mannequins

Karl Aspelund

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Boston University, 2011

Quinn Hall, Room 221
(401) 874-4176
aspelund@mail.uri.edu

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.

PUBLICATIONS
Books:

  • Aspelund, K Designing: An Introduction, New York: Fairchild (Bloomsbury), 2014
  • Aspelund, K. Fashioning Society, New York: Fairchild Publications, 2009
  • Aspelund, K. The Design Process (2nd ed.), New York: Fairchild Publications, 2010 (2006)


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.

  • Aspelund, K. "Thekki eg nu born min aftur... Menningarskopun hastetta med kvenklaednadi og motun islenskrar thjodarimyndar a 19. old.“ Rannsoknir í felagsvisindum XII. Felags- og mannvisindadeild. Erindi flutt a radstefnu í oktober 2011. ["'My children, now familiar to me again...'" Upper-Class Cultural Inventiveness with Women's Apparel and the forming of National Identity in the 19th Century." Proceedings of the Univ. of Iceland's Conference on Research in Social Sciences XII. A. G. Asgeirsdottir, H. Bjornsdottir, H. Olafsdottir, eds. Reykjavik Icelandic University Press, 2011
  • 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. "Ferdabók S.S. Howlands frá 1873" ("S.S. Howland's Journal of Travel to Iceland in 1873.") Saga (Journal of the Icelandic Historians' Society ) XLVIII:1 2010
  • Aspelund, K. "Hallbar Design Behover Slöjden." ("Green Design Needs the Crafts.") Hemsljöden (Journal of the Swedish Handcraft Society) 2009/1: 16-17
  • Aspelund, K. "Handverkshefdin: Fyrirmynd ad Kennslu í Visthæfri Hönnun." ("Craft Traditions: Models for Teaching Sustainable Design.") Hugur og Hönd (Journal of the Icelandic Handcraft Society) 2008: 36-37
  • Willis, A., Aspelund, K., et. al., "Computational Schemes for Biomimetic Sculpture", In Proceedings of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), 5th Intl. Conference on Creativity and Cognition (C&C), pp.22-31, London, April 2005.


PRESENTATIONS
Conference Presentations:

  • 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.“Foremothers and Fashionistas Unite!: A Bilateral Re-Imagining of The Authentic Icelandic Female Through Ethnic Costume and Designer Fashion.” American Anthropological Association 2012 Annual Meeting, San Francisco 11-14 November 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.

  • Aspelund, K. "Thekki eg nu born min aftur... Menningarskopun hastetta med kvenklaednadi og motun islenskrar thjodarimyndar a 19. old.“ ["'My children, now familiar to me again...'" Upper-Class Cultural Inventiveness with Women's apparel and the forming of National Identity in the 19th Century."] University of Iceland's Conference on Research in Soial Sciences XII. Reykjavik, October 2011
  • Aspelund, K. "Yet another Iceland: What a recently discovered travel journal by S.S. Howland from 1873 reveals about Icelanders, travelers, and the formation of national identity" 100th Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, April 2010.
  • Aspelund, K. "Who are these Folk? What is their Dress? Problems of Definition in the Study of Women's National Dress in Iceland." 2009 Meeting of the Nordic Councils for National Dress, (Nordiskt Dräktseminarium, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. August 2009. (Updated and delivered in Icelandic to a public audience at the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavík, in November of 2009 —see below).
  • Aspelund,K., G. H. Rosenkjær, O. Kristjánsdóttir: "The birth of a national costume: The making of a distinct Icelandic identity, 1857-1874."2009 Meeting of the Nordic Councils for National Dress, (Nordiskt Dräktseminarium, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. August 2009.
  • Aspelund, K. "Defining National Culture by Stealth and Design: How a 19th Century Artist and a Secret Society Defined 20th Century Icelandic Culture." Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, May 2009.
    * 1st prize, Society of Historians of Scandinavia's Award for best graduate student paper in history, 2009.
  • Aspelund, K. "Craft Traditions as Teachable Models for Sustainable Design." Nordic Handcrafts Association Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland, September 2007

Invited Presentations:

  • “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.

  • "Siggi séní, Coco Chanel og Iggy Pop: Hátískuöldin og átökin um ímynd vestræns thjodfelags." ("Siggi the Genius, Chanel, and Iggy Pop: The Hundred Years' Fashion and the struggle for the image of Western Society.") Lecture at a symposium "Fashion: Design, Commerce, and Theory." Hosted by the Icelandic Textile Center in Blonduos, and Holar University College, Iceland. June 2010.
  • "Why Worth? Why Paris?" Lecture hosted by: The Association of Icelandic Master Tailors and Dressmakers. Reykjavik, January 2010
  • "Who are these Folk? What is their Dress? Problems of Definition in the Study of Women's National Dress in Iceland." National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik. November 2009. (Delivered in English at the 2009 Meeting of the Nordic Councils for National Dress, (Nordiskt Dräktseminarium, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. August 2009 —see above.)
  • "Designing and Dressing Sustainably: What Must We Teach, What Must We Learn?" Nordic Fashion Biennale, Nordic House, Reykjavik Iceland, March 2009
  • "On an 'Icelandic' Design Process: Craft Traditions as Models for Sustainable Design Practices." Lecture and Workshop, Reykjavik Technical College, Reykjavik Iceland, March 2009
  • "The Design Process: Inspiration is Key." Guest Lecture, Reykjavik Technical College, Reykjavik Iceland, March 2009
  • "Innovation and the Importance of Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration."Lecture at Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik Iceland, March 2009
  • "On Women's National Dress in the Early Years of the 21st Century." Lecture, Icelandic Handcrafts Association, Reykjavik Iceland, January 2009
  • "Are Ideas Like Shirts? Innovation and Creative Thinking in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design." Guest lecturer in "Innovation" seminar (TMD 402 I), University of Rhode Island, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design, February, 2009
  • "Art, Environment, and Social Experience." Lecture with artist Brower Hatcher. Sponsored by Brown University's Div. of Engineering, the Creative Arts Council, and the Cogut Center for the Humanities. Brown University, April 2006
  • "Extensions of Self: Media, History, and the Perception of Style." Guest lecturer in "The Art and Science of Fashion" (TMD 402 K) seminar, University of Rhode Island, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design, April 2005