September 13, 2022 Symposium to Investigate Public Interiority

The School of Interior Architecture at the UT College of Architecture and Design is pleased to announce the Public Interiority Symposium + Exhibition. Led by Liz Teston, associate professor, School of Interior Architecture, and others, the Public Interiority Symposium + Exhibition will be held in person at the University of Tennessee Knoxville on February 18, 2023, with a public exhibition in the Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture from January 17-February 18, 2023. The symposium and exhibition establish a global platform to investigate public interiority.

About the Symposium + Exhibition

The UT Public Interiority Symposium + Exhibition prompts designers to address the intersections between experience-based interiority and the city. It expands interiority beyond the simple enclosure and asserts an equal claim on urbanity and the commons. This question about interiority’s nature is critical and timely in the design discipline as it broadens our notion of interiors. It recognizes interiority’s primary features—human-scaled, responsive and phenomenologically driven spaces, regardless of enclosure.

The symposium and exhibition will examine design’s role in assembling conditional interiors outside the architectural enclosure—outdoor urban conditions of interiority provisionally generate (and are generated by) stimuli such as atmospheres, forms, programs, politics and psychologies.

Contemporary culture increasingly challenges the reductive nature of binary classifications. This fluidity should be understood to apply to definitions of interiority—places (interior, exterior, temporal or even virtual) that enrich interactions and lived experience.

This symposium and exhibition will question fundamental ideas about the nature of interiority and how it creates and is created by public life–within a range of scales, including infrastructural, architectural, bodily and cognitive. It will also explore spatial practices that encourage inhabitants and designers to continually renegotiate and reassemble space beyond the confines of property, enclosure and permanence. Forces like intimacy, temporality and public interiority bear witness to the contemporary contexts within which they exist.

The Public Interiority Symposium + Exhibition will consider the consequences of architectural porosity and the resultant interior leakage into the city. Likewise, we ask how ambiance, perception, everyday usage and public interest shape these cultural settings—addressing immediate and enduring needs for experiential communal places.

The Public Interiority Symposium + Exhibition seeks to bring together designers and scholars from various design backgrounds, geographies, and experiences. Through this symposium and exhibition, participants will engage in design actions, stimulate discussion and articulate latent futures within various mediated settings. The program will foster an environment for exchanging ideas, sharing creative works and envisioning a holistic approach to designing conditional interiors.

Call for Proposals

We welcome papers and exhibition submissions considering interiority within an expanded and broad field. Submissions should orient toward public interiorities generated by atmospheres, programs, politics, psychologies, forms and beyond. We also see these factors as an omnidirectional network. In other words, public interiority generates these phenomena, and these phenomena render public interiority. We will consider submissions with a wide variety of approaches to design: both theoretical and built-works, histories and futures, cultural and technical, and so forth.

For the exhibition, we welcome representational artifacts that stimulate discussion surrounding public interiority and all of its forms. These submissions include two-dimensional drawings, three-dimensional works, installation proposals, videos and interactive events. The exhibition is open to scholars, design practitioners, artists, students and anyone investigating interiority. We are interested in works from a multitude of backgrounds and experiences. The exhibition will be held at the University of Tennessee’s Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture from January 17-February 18, 2023, with the closing reception on the evening of the symposium.

For paper presentations, please submit abstracts with original, unpublished research of no more than 300 words, a two-page CV and three images to by October 15, 2022, midnight EST.

For exhibition submissions, please email a file-share link (OneDrive, GoogleDrive, Dropbox, etc.) containing a single jpg of the image and Word Doc. The Word Doc must include the size, media, author name and a short description. The image must be at least 300dpi resolution and include crops. The following file naming conventions apply: lastname_firstname.jpg and lastname_firstname.doc. Submissions not complying with the criteria will not be reviewed.

Files will be blind-reviewed on screen by a jury and the exhibition team will print drawings. Submit to by October 15, 2022, midnight EST. Three-dimensional works and analog drawings will be shipped to the gallery before December 15, 2022. This process will be further coordinated upon acceptance. Note that proposals for an installation or interactive event should consider the size and shape of the gallery space, as well as materials and methods that are temporary and not precious (costly, hard to obtain, etc.). If selected, the exhibition team will work closely with the designer on installing the installation. Images of the gallery space are available here (link to Google Drive).

Accepted submissions for the symposium and exhibition will be notified by November 15, 2022.


Symposium + Exhibition Organizers, University of Tennessee

  • Liz Teston, primary contact, UT School of Interior Architecture
  • Hojung Kim, UT School of Interior Architecture
  • Marie Saldaña, UT School of Interior Architecture
  • Milagros Zingoni-Phielipp, director, UT School of Interior Architecture
  • Jason Young, dean, UT College of Architecture + Design


External Editorial Board

  • Amy Campos, California College of the Arts
  • Ladi’Sasha Jones, Princeton University PhD Candidate
  • Igor Siddiqui, University of Texas-Austin
  • Penny Sparke, Kingston University
  • Karin Tehve, Pratt Institute