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ISIE’s Second Annual Online Symposium
‘Best Practices in International Exposition Design’
23-24 March 2023


  • Symposium registration deadline for paper participants: February 28. Please note that you must be registered by that date to present.

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See below for more details

The Institute for the Study of International Expositions (ISIE: announces its upcoming two-day online symposium of papers and panels that explore design lessons from past and present international expositions potentially relevant to today's and tomorrow's expos.

Day 1 begins at 10:30am EDT,

Day 2 begins at 10:00am EDT.


Recognizing we are a global community, recordings of presentations will be made available to registrants during the event and for the following seven days.


See below for more details.

Questions can be sent to:

Participant registration before 28 February 2023: US$100

Regular registration before 22 March 2023: US$100  
Student registration before 22 March 2023: US$50 

(Note that a copy of your valid student ID is required with registration to qualify. Scholarships will be made available for students and postgraduate presenters based on need. Please submit a letter expressing need according to the instructions on no later than 28 February 2023.) 

Late registration between 23 - 24 March 2023: US$150

The 2023 Symposium

Since the first World Exposition — the Great Exhibition of 1851 — these events have had one unexpected, even fatal, flaw: organizational amnesia. Once an expo turns out its lights and closes the gates to its fairgrounds for the last time, few participating countries hold onto their commissioners, designers, and staff. In short, they wipe their collective memory clean. When these countries begin planning pavilions and exhibits for the next World Expos, they often find themselves reinventing the proverbial wheel. This frequently results in designs that are ambitious in concept, sumptuous on paper — but lackluster in execution.

The 2023 ISIE symposium will bring scholars, professionals, and enthusiasts together to learn from the past and to generate new ideas and practices relating to the design of future international expositions.

Day one will be highlighted by a series of papers exploring lessons learned from past relevant for future expositions, as well as a panel of experts in design areas critical to international expositions, including wayfinding, accessibility, and digital technology.

Day two will include a panel of pavilion designers from the recent Expo 2020 in Dubai. Appearing will be the designers of the extraordinary Vision, Spanish, and Austrian pavilions, whose galvanic architecture held millions in their sensuous grip. Joining them will be representatives from candidates for upcoming World Expos including Osaka, Rome, the United States, and Ukraine, exploring their master plans’ designs that will fast-forward us into a future as sustainable as it is visionary.
ISIE’s aim is for participants to leave the symposium with new understandings and insights related to best practices in exposition design that can then be applied to future fairs. Accordingly, the symposium will include round
table events focused on the topic of exposition design and offer opportunities to informally socialize and meet others with related interests. We also invite those interested in the study of world’s fairs to become involved in the future development of ISIE and help create a seed bank of ideas related to exposition history and design.

We hope you join us!

Symposium Chairs

Guido Cimadomo, Associate Professor, Universidad de Málaga

Charles Pappas, Senior Writer, Exhibitor Magazine

Lisa Schrenk, Professor of Architectural History, CAPLA, University of Arizona



Symposium Schedule

Day 1 (All times listed are in US Eastern Daylight Time)

10:30am EDT

Welcome and Introduction

Dr. Lisa Schrenk, Professor of Architectural History, University of Arizona, USA

Dr. Nancy Pollock-Ellwand, Dean, CAPLA, University of Arizona, USA

10:40am EDT

Paper Session One: Transforming the City: Early Expo Development and Housing

Session Chair: Dr. Sarah Moore, University of Arizona, USA
-    Lucie Prohin, Housing the Working-Class at International Expositions During the Second Half of 19th Century
-    Miriam R. Levin, What Were World’s Fairs for? Catalysts for Modern Urban Development in the Second Industrial Revolution
-    Eduardo Jiménez-Morales & Guido Cimadomo, The 1929 Ibero-American Exposition at Seville. The Role of New Hotels in the Transformation of the City

12:10pm EDT

Paper Session Two: National and Corporate Identity and Design

Session Chair: James Fortuna, St. Andrews University, Scotland
-     Lisa D. Schrenk, Lessons Learned: Relevant Design Practices from Chicago’s 1933-34 Century of Progress International Exposition
-     Edson G. Cabalfin, Representing Postcolonial Identity in Philippine Pavilions in International Expositions, 1958-1992
-    Harry Kurniawan, The Strategy to Represent the Diversity of Indonesia in Indonesia Pavilion for International Expositions

1:40pm EDT

Paper Session Three: Innovations: Food & Design

Session Chair: Constanza A. Robles Sepúlveda, Boston University, USA & Chile
-    Zeila Tesoriere & Renzo Lecardane, Blurring the Pavilion at Expo '70 Osaka. The Festival Plaza Framed Under an Urban Performative Canopy
-    Rafael Ortiz, Vernacular Design for the Development of Sustainable Strategies on Expos Pavilions after Expo Hannover 2000
-    Van Troi Tran, Food Logistics and Mundane Governance at the Shanghai World Expo

3:10pm EDT

Paper Session Four: Recent & Future Expos: Goals, Labs, & Challenges

Session Chair: Dr. Guido Cimadomo, University of Málaga, Spain
-    Patrice Ballester, The SDGs and the World Expo – Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Across the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Analysis: Towards a New Paradigm of Mega-Events?
-    Toby Shulruff & Levi Wyman, A Trip Through Tomorrowland: The World Expo as Futures Lab
-    Mark Ritchie, Interaction of Politics and Design - Exploring the Political Dynamics That Shaped the Minnesota 2027 Expo Bid

5:00pm EDT

Panel Session One: Doing It Right     

-   Sarah Manning co-founder and director of Spaceagency on the wayfinding and signage of Expo 2020                        

-   Kathy Johnson from St. Cloud State University’s Center for International Disability Advocacy and Diplomacy on how Expo 2020 approached disability issues

-   Victor Torregroza, brand experiences program manager, global event marketing for Intel Corp., on reducing the reliance on screens to convey information and deliver experiences

End of Day

Social Gathering

Connect with colleagues with similar Expo interests and continue the discussion

Day 2 (All times listed are in US Eastern Daylight Time)

10:00am EDT

Introductory Remarks

Charles Pappas, Senior Writer, Exhibitor Magazine

10:05am EDT

Panel Session Two: Back to the Future I

Harald Dosch, director of business development, NUSSLI Group, on the designs of the Austrian and Kazakhstan pavilions in 2020, and a sneak preview of Expo 2025    

Lara Captan, Arabic type designer and typographer, on the design of the calligraphy benches with Asif Khan at Expo 2020

- Sahera Bleibleh, associate professor, architectural engineering department, College of Engineering, United Arab Emirates University, and Exhibition Director and Operations for the UAEU Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, on how youth perceived Expo and may shape future development of UAE, and futuristic cities in general.

- Marta Sękulska-Wrońska and Michał Czerwiński, architects from WXCA Architect, discussing the Poland Pavilion at Expo 2020

- Carmen Bueno, executive curator of the Spanish Pavilion for Expo 2020

Intermission: Photo Show of Dubai Expo

~11:45am EDT

Panel Session Three: Back to the Future II           

Alvaro Torrellas and León Carlos Álvarez, from Icaria Atelier, designers of the Vision and Opportunity Pavilions at Expo 2020                                         

Serina Hijjas, architect, of the Malaysia Pavilion at Expo 2020                    

Oliver Poole CEO of Zebek Ltd. on the use of storytelling and design in the Gabon Pavilion

- John Boon, head of the landscape architecture and Green City Advisory Group, Arcadis, with the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), on masterplanning guidelines for world and horticultural exhibitions                                        

1:45pm EDT

Panel Session Four: Things to Come

Javier Pérez de la Fuente, from Municipality of Malaga, Office of Urban Planning, architect of Malaga’s Expo 2027

David Loehr, principal of DLR Group, on the design of Minneapolis' Expo 2027 master plan                                                                                      

Roman Grygoryshyn, deputy head of the Odessa Regional State Administration for Odesa Expo 2030

Matteo Gatto, from Matteo Gatto & Associati, technical director for Rome’s 2030 master plan    


End of Day

Social Gathering

Connect with colleagues with similar Expo interests and continue the discussion

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