Robert L. Peters

29 October 2007

Design/Culture: 2007 Icograda Congress in Cuba

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Havana, Cuba

The past 10 days have seen a blur of activities here in Havana, the “international capital of graphic and communication design” this past week by dent of its hosting of the 2007 Icograda World Design Congress and 22nd Icograda General Assembly. Over 550 attendees from 57 countries converged in this amazing city to participate in several conferences and to take in the many design-related exhibitions and ancillary events.

For the first time in nearly two decades I was able to attend an Icograda World Congress without official responsibilities (I did end up chairing the summary panel discussion on day two of the International Conference, was interviewed by Cuban national television at the opening of the Exposición Internacional CARTELES POR LA DIVERSIDAD CULTURAL at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and attended the General Assembly as an official observer—but that’s a very light load compared to the past). Highlights for me were the chance to reconnect with old friends from around the globe (including 9 other previous presidents of Icograda in attendance), spending time with Cuban design colleagues, taking in the numerous cultural attractions, a private garden-dinner reception with the Cuban Minister of Culture and the Icograda board, and yes, numerous late-night swims in the pool.

Stu Alden has posted hundreds of photographs of the week on flickr. Maggie McNabb penned her take on the events for DT&G Magazine, and the official congress website has a full listing of the week’s events. A PDF of the “Cuba Si! Life and design on the embargoed archipelago” feature article that I wrote for Communication Arts magazine in May 2006 can be read or downloaded here.

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Above: Black flags of mourning block out the propaganda messages streaming from LED reader-boards in the windows of U.S. embassy; ten Icograda presidents (and new president elect Russell Kennedy of Australia) salute Ahn Sang-Soo; graphic detail of a police call-box; old-school Cuban ingenuity (orange-peeler); yours truly.

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