PhD Seminar by Heidi Sohn – Worlding: A Matter of Design

In this PhD seminar, we will engage with the concept of ‘worlding’, understood as the processes through which a world is created, and discuss the role of design in the construction of our lived environments (milieu). We will first introduce and briefly discuss three different angles through which this concept has been approached: phenomenology, post/colonialism and new materialism, respectively, looking at the agential force and practical modes implicit in each one of them. We will then focus on the neo-materialist perspective specifically as a framework to speculate how design – as a transversal, mediating agent – may become a powerful tool in the creation of multiple worlds and better futures.

The two-hour PhD seminar will be structured in two parts according to the thematic content, to guarantee a dynamic flow of ideas and participation. The first part will consist of a half-hour lecture on the three understandings of the concept of ‘worlding’, followed by a half-hour discussion among the participants who are asked to identify, relate and articulate their doctoral research within one, or several of the presented frameworks. The second part will consist of a half-hour lecture focusing on how new materialism, process ontologies and a philosophy of ‘affirmative becoming’ may be made operational in theory formation and design research. Participants are encouraged to discuss their own work, raise problems, doubts and questions, and engage each other within the frameworks introduced in the seminar. The aim of the seminar is to introduce participants to basic notions of new materialist philosophies and their relevance for design practice and the spatial disciplines, while fostering a safe space for the exchange of ideas and speculative thought.

This seminar was previously scheduled to be held on 24 Nov 2021. Due to unforseen circumstances, it has been postphoned to 11 January 2022. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Associate Professor of Architecture Theory, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft

Dr. ir. Heidi Sohn is interim chair and academic coordinator of the Architecture Theory Group in the Theories & Territories Section of the Department of Architecture. Her area of expertise comprises postmodern theories and contemporary continental philosophies, and their intersection with the materialization of the world. Her research focuses on politico-economic and socio-cultural processes, agential power, and their impact on spatio-temporal disciplines and material-discursive practices, including architecture. Her current interests revolve on conceptual problematizations of territory, terraforming and Geophilosophy. She is author and co-editor of several publications. She has been visiting professor of Architecture Theory in DIA, Dessau, Germany, and in Umeå School of Architecture, Sweden.

Join this seminar on Zoom
URL: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89258665175
Meeting ID: 892 5866 5175
Passcode: 214326

  • All PolyU PhD students are welcome.
  • This seminar, hosted on Zoom Meeting, allows only authenticated users (i.e. Zoom logged-in users).
  • Event registration is required (click HERE). Registrants will receive a reading list prior to this seminar.