The Conservation Department
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum 
is pleased to announce its eighth edition of the FUTURE TALKS conference series:





November 08 – 10, 2023
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany

The deadline for submission of abstracts is
May 14, 2023

Since the beginning of industrialization, the increasing development of materials and related technologies have had an ever-greater influence on the design of goods and works of art. Until today materials are being invented, modified, blended and adapted to the needs of the market and the environment.
Conservators confronted with cultural objects of this era must recognize and interpret such complex relationships to gain a proper understanding of degradation and thus to develop appropriate conservation methods and the respective treatments. As we all know, the involvement of different disciplines, such as conservations scientists, engineers, designers and producers is a key element in the understanding of these objects.

As we could learn the last years, it is not uncommon for such conservation projects carried out to be initial approaches to the preservation of a particular modern material.
The FUTURE TALKS have been offering a discursive platform for such case studies since 2009.
14 years and 7 conferences later we’d like to review some of those to clarify their suitability and effectiveness. What worked well and still stands in the test of time? What needs to be reconsidered? What can we deduce for the future?
Like criminal investigators refer to COLD CASES when reopening past ones, with the FUTURE TALKS 023 we recognize the enormous potential in retrospective inspection of former conservation projects.
Nevertheless, the necessity of looking at current research should not be neglected.
Therefore, we call out for COLD AND CURRENT CASES in the conservation of the modern.

We are very much interested in the reassessment of earlier conservation projects and lectures on current cases dealing about:

Conservation/ Restoration
⁃ Retrospective insights into former conservation and restoration treatments. Still the best decision or time to rethink? How to handle earlier failures?
⁃ How to handle / conserve relatively unknown or innovative / advanced materials
⁃ Technological studies and object-related research
⁃ The degradation of serial and non-serial materials  and its conservation
⁃ The degradation of modern materials and its conservation
⁃ Case studies in the field of restoration of modern and contemporary objects and works of art
⁃ Innovative conservation strategies and new ways to treat modern materials
⁃ New conservation materials and tools
⁃ Innovative documentation techniques
⁃ Innovative conservation practices
⁃ Failure guides (application in industry and conservation)
⁃ The implementation of interdisciplinary approach
⁃ Critical analysis of professional approach
⁃ Visions and perspectives in the conservation of modern materials
(Where do we come from – where do we go to?)

Analytical Research
⁃ Innovative research and investigative methods on materials, technologies, degradation and conservation
⁃ New ways to identify modern materials
⁃ Strategies of characterisation and identification
⁃ How about looking at cold cases with modified / new / improved methods?

Production and Design
⁃ Application of new materials and technologies in the production of design and contemporary art
(in their time)
⁃ Exceptional use of relatively unknown or innovative / advanced materials
⁃ The innovative use of materials
⁃ Intelligent materials
⁃ The use of plastics in various fields of human culture
⁃ Recycled plastics and bioplastics
⁃ Processing of materials and manufacturing techniques
⁃ New and trendsetting materials in the production of design objects
⁃ Unusual design concepts
⁃ Visions in design
⁃ What can we learn from former products and materials?
⁃ What is the role of history of design and material in the design process of today?

During the three-day conference an interdisciplinary panel of experts from all over the world will share their experiences and knowledge in this field.

The detailed conference program and further information on registration and fees will be posted by end-May 2023.

To foster lively and interdisciplinary dialogue we invite submissions from conservators, conservation scientists, designers, architects, artists, engineers and producers.
Recent advances in this field, addressing technology, design and production processes, new and innovative treatment and analysis methods as well as current conservation research and ongoing projects are very welcome.
As we are aiming to create a dynamic event, the format of the presentations need not be a plenary talk. Ideas for workshops and panel discussions are of interest.


There are two ways to get involved, by either presenting a formal paper or submitting a poster. Preference for oral presentation will be given to papers dealing with current research. An abstract needs to be submitted for both options and should include:

+ The full title of the paper
+ Full names, postal addresses and e-mail address of the contact author

+ A summary of the paper (between 400 and 600 words)
+ Biographies of authors (max. 100 words)

+ Graphs, pictures, tables or references should not be included

+ Papers for the conference should be tailored to a 25-minute presentation time frame

+ All works submitted must be original and not have been published elsewhere. 

+ The language of the symposium and proceedings will be in English.

+ The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 30, 2023

+ Please send your ideas for a contribution to:

A selection committee will review the abstracts and notify authors by May 15, 2023.
The presentations (lectures / posters) will be published at the end of 2025 at the next FUTURE TALKS conference in the form of post prints. Authors will be required to submit a final paper to the organizers at the conference. 

The submitted papers for publication must be proof-read by a native English speaker.
The papers will be subject to a peer review and editing process.

Participation from students and professionals from allied fields is highly encouraged.

The conference and associated post prints will be in English.

The detailed conference program and further information about fees and registration will be posted end-May 2023.


With more than 1500 participants in the last 14 years the FUTURE TALKS became a highly recognized and established forum for interdisciplinary lectures, workshops and discussions on modern materials and technologies and its impact to the world of conservators, scientists, designers, artists and the gallery scene.

With the focus on an increasing number of interdisciplinary contributions related to technologies and modified analysis techniques, our goal is to improve the decision-making process in the conservation of modern materials and to discuss / define possible ways of active treatments.

FUTURE TALKS helps to raise public awareness to the fact that even serial products are faced with a gradual degradation process of material which can result at worst in a loss of cultural identity and history. 


Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum houses one of the world’s largest and most important collection of industrial design. The large number of objects reflects the technologies and materials developed during the 20th and 21st century, attesting in particular to the use of plastics. However, unlike most traditional materials these are subject to a dynamic ageing process and after only a short time often already bear irreversible traces of their age. Corresponding types of damage can hardly be reconciled with the respective designer’s original intentions and are often problematic in terms of conservation. 
Since its founding in 2002, the Conservation Department has become an important hub for the conservation and maintenance of modern design objects, through research into the deterioration and preservation of the collections, the development of new conservation processes and the knowledge of its original technology. It also plays an active role in networking and information sharing and takes part in national and international research projects in the conservation of design. Beyond the participation at international conferences with numerous lectures on the conservation of modern materials we had lectureships at the University College of London (UCL) in Doha, Qatar and the Technische Universität in Munich (TUM), Germany. Today we teach, among others, at the art academies of Stuttgart, Germany and Vienna, Austria.

Since 2009 both knowledge and network expanded to the FUTURE TALKS – an international conference platform, initiating an intensive and profound discourse on practical conservation treatments of modern materials.


Tim Bechthold [Dipl.Rest.Univ.]

Head of Conservation – Senior Curator

Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum