Adult Programs

Around 1914: Design in a New Age, Symposium

Decorative Arts

Centennial Decorative Arts Symposium at the ROM


Pre-registration is required.  Please note ticket sales will not be available at the door.

The Year 1914 marks the year when the Royal Ontario Museum was founded. This was a pivotally important year as Europe and Western civilization plunged into a World War, which brought about profound social changes and the end of a world order that had existed for centuries. It was also a pivotally important time in the development of architecture, design and the decorative arts. It ushered in a period of radical experimentation that challenged the traditional dependency on historical precedents and eventually brought about the acceptance of the modern movement, and with it, industrial design. During the early decades of the 20th century many designers were concerned with the problem of evolving the form or design of an object appropriate to its function. They were also attempting to reconcile quality design with the possibilities of mass production and the new materials made available with recent technology. Designers precipitated changes in the approach to good design that were to bear fruit subsequently in Europe and America.

Symposium speakers will discuss the significance of Arts and Crafts Movement in England and America, the various the various expressions of Art Nouveau in Europe, and the fusion of art, craftsmanship and industry in Germany that led ultimately to the founding of the Bauhaus school in Weimar and the acceptance of industrial design.

Keynote Speaker:  Rosalind Pepall, Former Senior Curator of Decorative Art, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.  Keynote Address:  Soaring Ambition: Canadian Architecture and Design Before the War
Rosalind Pepall will replace Margaret MacMillan as the keynote speaker.


Thursday, April 10th

5:30 pm - 6:00 pm Symposium Registration

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm  Keynote Address

7:00 - 9:00 pm        Cocktail Reception

Friday, April 11th

8:15 am Breakfast

9:00am - 4:00pm A Series of lectures by international experts in the field of decorative art, design and architecture

(coffee break and lunch included)

For those interested:

4:15 pm- 5:15 pm - Tour of the Decorative Arts exhibition on the 3rd floor

Symposium Speakers

  • Dr. Paul Stirton, Professor and Editor, Bard Graduate Centre; Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, New York: Arts and Crafts in the United Kingdom
  • Dr. Pamela Robertson, Senior Curator and Professor of Mackintosh Studies, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow:  Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Architecture: A New Study
  • Dr. Martin Eidelberg, Professor of Art History, Rutgers University:  The Rise and Fall of Tiffany Studios
  • Etienne Tornier, Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art, Paris: Art Nouveau, Siegfried Bing and America
  • Dr Christian Witt-Dörring, Curator MAK Vienna and the Neue Galerie, New York: Adolf Loos and the Weiner Werkstatte
  • Dr. Stanford Anderson, Professor of History and Architecture and former Head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Peter Behrens, Painter, Architect, Industrial Designer

Download Around 1914 Symposium Brochure and Program Schedule

This program is organized by the European Section of the Department of World Cultures and the Department of Museum Volunteers.

Schedule and Symposium Speakers subject to change.


Royal Ontario Museum
Lectures: Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre, Level 1B


President's Choice School Entrance ►