- Associate Professor, Associate Director URI Honors Program
- Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design
- Phone: 401.874.4176
- Email: email@example.com
- Office Location: 303, Quinn Hall
Karl completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Material Culture in 2011 from Boston University. His dissertation, examining the creation of national identity through dress in Iceland, was awarded the University Professors Edmonds Prize as the best dissertation of the academic year 2010-2011. After graduating from the Wimbledon School of Art in London in 1986 with a degree in 3d design for theater, Karl worked as an artist and designer for 20 years, in theater, films, and public art, with numerous commissions for sets and costumes, couture, exhibitions, graphic design, murals, lighting, installations, art direction, and production design. Karl has taught art, design theory, apparel design, and CAD since 1991. In 1994, he was commissioned to create, and head for its initial year, a Department of Industrial Design at The Reykjavik Technical College in Iceland, where he taught a number of design related courses from ’91-’96. Moving to Rhode Island in 1996, he began teaching at URI and has been here since, as Adjunct (’96–’10), lecturer (’10–’12), assistant professor (’12–’18), and associate professor (from July ’18). In May of 2014 Karl became also visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Folkloristics/ Ethnology and Museum Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland. That same month Karl was a speaker at TEDx Reykjavik, presenting thoughts on “What to wear on a starship in 2112 and why it matters.” Karl is the author of three textbooks, “The Design Process,” (3rd ed. 2014/2006,) “Fashioning Society”(2009,) and “Designing: An Introduction” (2014.) His most recent book, which he co-edited and contributed to with Dr. Terry Gunnell, was published in Iceland in November of 2017 and was subsequently nominated for the Icelandic Publishers’ Association’s Literary Prize in the field of Academic Works.
Karl’s research interests are directed toward the role apparel and design plays in the creation of personal, ethnic and national identity. Environmental concerns, especially in how the design community needs to contribute to environmental sustainability are also an increasing area of interest and focus. Since 2010, Karl was involved in a cross-disciplinary research project with scholars at the University of Iceland on nationalistic culture-creation in 19th century Iceland, resulting in a book that was published in late 2017. In 2012, however, he began to also investigate the design and cultural needs and constraints of clothing in long-duration space exploration and was awarded a grant from URI’s Council for Research toward this purpose in June of 2013. Since then, Karl has been a member of the 100 Year Starship Research Team that is aiming to enable human spaceflight beyond our solar system within a century. (See more about this in a recent SO Rhode Island magazine article).
- Ph.D., Anthropology and Material Culture, Boston University, University Professors Program, 2011
- B.A., 3d Design (Theatre), Wimbledon School of Art (University of London, UK.), 1986
Aspelund. Designing: An Introduction, New York: Fairchild Books/ Bloomsbury, 2015
Aspelund. The Design Process (3rd ed.), New York: Fairchild Books/ Bloomsbury, 2015 (2006)
Aspelund. Fashioning Society, New York: Fairchild Publications, 2009
Karl Aspelund, Terry Gunnell (editors.) Málarinn og Menningarsköpun: Sigurður Guðmundsson og Kvöldfélagið 1858-1874 [The Painter and Culture Creation: Sigurdur Gudmundsson and the Evening Society, 1858–1874.] Reykjavík: Opna & National Museum of Iceland, 2017.
A collection of 17 peer-reviewed essays by 13 authors (incl. editors.) These essays came out of a research project directed by myself and Dr. Terry Gunnel of the University of Iceland. The project began in 2011 and wrapped in late 2015.
The book was nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in the field of Academic Works for 2017 (Icelandic Publishers’ Association.)
Aspelund. “‘A national fiction’: Sigurður, the costumes, and the image.” [“Skáldskapur þjóðanna: Sigurður, búningarnir og ímyndin.”] In Aspelund, Gunnel 2017 (see above): National Museum of Iceland.
Aspelund. “Sigurður ‘the painter’: An avatar of European cultural trends.” [“Sigurður málari: Birtingarmynd strauma í Evrópskri menningu, 1848‐1874.”] In Aspelund, Gunnel 2017 (see above): National Museum of Iceland.
Karl Aspelund, Eiríkur Valdimarssson: “Themes of the Evening Society.” [“Yfirlit yfir störf og umræður Kvöldfélagsins 1861–1874.“] In Aspelund, Gunnel 2017 (see above): National Museum of Iceland.
Aspelund. “Breytileg Merking Menningararfs” [The Shifting Meaning of National Dress.] In: Íslenskur Menningararfur [Icelandic Cultural Heritage]. Ó. Rastrick and V. Hafstein, eds. Reykjavík: University of Iceland Press, 2015
Aspelund. “Why Consider the President’s Wardrobe?” In Harpa Þórsdóttir (ed.) Are You Ready Madame President? (pp. 15-34.) Gardabaer, Iceland: Museum of Design and Applied Art. 2014
Aspelund. “Hví skyldum við skoða föt Vigdísar?” In Harpa Þórsdóttir (ed.) In Ertu Tilbúin Frú Forseti/ Are You Ready Madame President? (pp. 15–24.) Gardabaer, Iceland: Museum of Design and Applied Art. 2014
Aspelund. “Why Consider the President’s Wardrobe?” In Harpa Þórsdóttir (ed.) In Ertu Tilbúin Frú Forseti/ Are You Ready Madame President? (pp. 25-34.) Gardabaer, Iceland: Museum of Design and Applied Art. 2014
This is my translation into English of the essay above, published in the same volume.
Papers and articles:
Aspelund. “Textile Needs and Constraints for Intravehicular Activity in Long Duration Space Flight, Part 3: Human Factors and Beyond Mars.” AATCC Review. 17:4, July 2017, 50–55. (DOI: 10.14504/ar.17.4.4)
Aspelund. “Textile Needs and Constraints for Intravehicular Activity in Long Duration Space Flight, Part 2: Astronaut Protection.” AATCC Review. 17: 3 May/June 2017, 46–51. (DOI: 10.14504/ar.17.3.4)
Aspelund. “Textile Needs and Constraints for Intravehicular Activity in Long Duration Space Flight. Part 1: Weight Limitations and Hygiene.” AATCC Review. 17:2, March/April 2017, 45–52. (DOI: 10.14504/ar.17.2.4)
E., K. Aspelund. “Svipir Kvoldfelagsins” Rannsoknir i felagsvisindum XIII. Felags- og mannvisindadeild. Erindi flutt a radstefnu i oktober 2012. [“Shades of the Evening Society” Proceedings of the Univ. of Iceland’s Conference on Research in Social Sciences XIII.] S. Eggertsson, A. G. Asgeirsdottir, eds. Reykjavik, University of Iceland Press, 2012
Aspelund. “Thekki eg nu born min aftur… Menningarskopun hastetta med kvenklaednadi og motun islenskrar thjodarimyndar a 19. old.“ Rannsoknir i felagsvisindum XII. Felags- og mannvisindadeild. Erindi flutt a radstefnu i oktober 2011.[“‘My children, now familiar to me again…’” Upper-Class Cultural Inventiveness with Women’s Apparel and the forming of National Identity in the 19th Century.” Proceedings of the Univ. of Iceland’s Conference on Research in Social Sciences XII. ] A. G. Asgeirsdottir, H. Bjornsdottir, H. Olafsdottir, eds. Reykjavik. University of Iceland Press, 2011
“Who are these Folk? What is their Dress? – Problems of Definition in the Study of Women’s National Dress in Iceland.” Nordiskt Dräktseminarium, 2009. (Proceedings, Nordic Councils for National Dress, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. 2011
H. Rosenkjær, O. Kristjánsdóttir, K. Aspelund. “The birth of a national costume: The making of a distinct Icelandic identity, 1857-1874.” Nordiskt Dräktseminarium, 2009. (Proceedings, Nordic Councils for National Dress, 2009) Orbaden, Sweden. 2011
Aspelund. “Ferðabók S.S. Howlands frá 1873“(“S.S. Howland´s Journal of Travel to Iceland in 1873. “) Saga (Journal of the Icelandic Historians’ Society ) XLVIII:1 2010
Aspelund, K.”Hallbar Design Behover Slöjden.” (”Green Design Needs the Crafts.”) Hemsljöden (Journal of the Swedish Handcraft Society) 2009/1: 16-17
Aspelund. “Handverkshefðin: Fyrirmynd við Kennslu í Visthæfri Hönnun.” (“Craft Traditions: Models for Teaching Sustainable Design.” Hugur og Hönd (Journal of the Icelandic Handcraft Society) 2008: 36-37
Willis, K. Aspelund, et. al., “Computational Schemes for Biomimetic Sculpture”, In Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM,) 5th Intl. Conference on Creativity and Cognition, pp.22-31, London, April 2005
On Line Publications
Three entries in Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe (ERNiE), ed. Joep Leerssen. (Electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms (SPIN)), www.romanticnationalism.net, June 2015:
SPIN is a research hub established under the auspices of the Huizinga Institute (Dutch National Research Institute for Cultural History) at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam, Coordinated by Joep Leerssen, Professor of Modern European Literature (www.spinnet.eu).