The Role of the Humanities in Design Creativity

Eamonn Canniffe recently participated in the above titled conference at the the University of Lincoln, hosted by Professor Nicholas Temple. Keynote speakers included Karsten Harries, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of “The Ethical Function of Architecture”, Dalibor Vesely (Professorial Visiting Fellow at the Manchester School of Architetcure) Jonathan Sawday (Professor of English Studies at Strathclyde University) and the architect Eric Parry. Around the core of the discipline of Architecture, the influence of other creative disciplines and their relation to History, Philosophy and Literature were considered in a series of papers which explored themes such as Humanities and Modernity, and Humanities and the Public Realm.In his keynote paper, “The Responsibility of Design” Karsten Harries, remarked that against the repeated marginalisation of human values the purpose of the humanities was to open windows in the prevailing objective world, windows to transendence, predicting that the issues of spirituality and the environment would become the most significant subjects of debate in the future. The clarity of this idea seems particularly apposite when considered in relation to this image of The Collection, Lincoln (Panter Hudspith Architects 2005) the venue for the concluding sessions of the conference, framing the sublime grandeur of Lincoln Cathedral.

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