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Student Showcase Archive

Artun Ozguner

PhD Work

PhD work

INHERITANCE / DISAVOWAL: Commemorating and Representing the Nation-State in Turkey from Empire to Republic, 1908-1950s

This study aims to understand the role of spatial practices in the representation of nation-state in Turkey, and its commemoration in print between 1908 and the 1950s. Encompassing three major phases in Turkish history (the proto-nationalist revolution of 1908, the republican nation-building after WWI and the neo-traditionalist tendencies of the late 1940s) the period studied is testimony to a major shift from an empire to a modern nation-state.

Political historians’ accounts of state culture in the period often emphasise the role of a top-down transformation in politics in accompanying the arrival of republican culture. This thesis argues that when observed through transformation in print culture and the gradual nationalisation of the cosmopolitan network of designers and publishers, the period accommodated a more disparate use of modernism than the monolithic tone political history often suggests.

The study focuses on spatial practices and print culture, specifically the redefinition of the spatial memory landscape through the construction of monuments and the production of commemorative events, along with attempts to diffuse these as a cohesive narrative through print media. Print culture affords the permeation of ideas through printed journals, newspapers, postcards, stamps and money bills. At the same time, the very materiality of these artefacts and the monuments themselves reveals tensions between the politics, resources and technologies at hand. A close attention to the use and reception of monuments, public events and their representation in print also demonstrates how nationalism operates by appropriating some inherited legacies while disavowing others. The research shows how such amnesia was evident both in the practices of Young Turk modernisers in the turn of the century from 1908 to1923 and their Republican successors from the early 1920s to the 1950s, as design was approached as a material tool for the self-assertion of national modernity first in Young Turk proto-nationalism, then in the Republican elite’s endeavours to construe things as national. It argues that both regimes employed similar commemorative practices within the existing memory landscape, for the claim of different legitimacies. 



  • PhD


    School of Arts & Humanities


    History of Design, 2016–2019

  • Artun is a PhD candidate in the RCA History of Design programme in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum. His research explores the trajectories of commemorating and representing the Turkish nation-state in physical monuments and print media beginning from the 1908 constitutional revolution of the Ottoman Empire. His main research interests include practices of commemoration, nationalisation of material culture and design resources, graphic design history, visual and print culture. He also works as a practitioner in print making and illustration.

  • Degrees

  • BA, Banking and Finance, Bilkent University, Ankara, 2004; MDes, Design Studies, Izmir Univesity of Economics, 2013; Professional Master, Graphic Design European Institute of Design, 2015
  • Experience

  • Research Assistant, Department of Visual Communication Design, Izmir University of Economics, Izmir, 2011-2016; Teaching Assistant, Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum, History of Design Department, 2017-2019
  • Exhibitions

  • "Time is Out", Studio Andromeda 22a Rassegna Internazionale di Satira, Trento, 2014; "Tam Tam: Toyssimi 100 bambini + 100 designer: 100 giocattoli", Triennale, Milano, 2015; "Come gli studenti dello IED vedono Brancamenta / How IED students see Brancamenta, Brancamenta Rebranding Project", Cavalli Cafe, Milano, 2015
  • Awards

  • "Come gli studenti dello IED vedono Brancamenta / How IED students see Brancamenta, Brancamenta Rebranding Project Finalist" 2015
  • Conferences

  • Presenter, "Postcards of Revolution/Revulsion: Commemorating the Ottoman Constitutional Revolution of 1908", Design and Displacement, Design History Society Annual Conference, September 2018; Presenter, “Picturing the Nation-State with Imperial Know-How: The Work of Jean Weinberg in Turkey during 1920-1930s”, The First Century of Photography, (1839-1939), Boğaziçi University Archives and Documentation Center, ANAMED, June 2018; Co-presenter with Asst.Prof.Dr. Fulya Ertem Başkaya, “Twisting Realism: The Representation of Power in the Portraits of Ottoman Sultans in the Early Photographic Era”, The Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities, April 2015; Presenter, “Art on Paper / Art of Paper”, Collisions, SECAC / South Eastern College Art Conference, October 2012; Organizer, "Balkan Locus / Focus Symposium, Long 20th century communication design histories", Izmir University of Economics, Faculty of Fine Arts and Design (in collaboration with Parsons The New School for Design), June 2012
  • Publications

  • "Silent dissidence : artefacts as other space", Writing Space for Open Space Contemporary, 2019; "Legacy in the Pocket: Reactivating Collective Memory by Co-Design", PAD Journal, vol. 12, 2014; “(Un)forgotten”, Dergi 5.5, ISSN 2458-9845, vol. 2 2014, pp. 20-21; “Unut(tur-ma)mak”, XXI, ISSN 1303-9598, vol. 131, pp. 10-12; “Screen / Artist Relationship in the Making of a Doll: the case study of a personal experience”, Dolls And Puppets As Artistic And Cultural Phenomenon - University of Warsaw / Institute of Art History, vol. 3, 2014; “Ah Su Kültürel Sermaye…”, Dergi 5.5, ISSN 2458-9845, vol. 1, 2014, pp. 28-29