Virtual Conference and Fair

August 26-28, 2022

On Friday, August 26, speakers discussed two very different perspectives on ephemera: an appreciation of a historical form of advertising to the use of more recent ephemera to enrich a modern commercial experience.

Our Speakers were:

Barbara Fahs Charles and Erika Piola, Metamorphic Trade Cards: Entertaining & Engaging the Hand, Eye, and Mind

The Robert Staples Metamorphic Collection at the Library Company of Philadelphia was featured in this presentation. Barbara Fahs Charles, the design partner and wife of Robert Staples, talked about the scope and diversity of the collection and the simple delight and charm of the individual tradecards. Many have both verbal and visual puns that engage and entertain as they unfold. They are also a window into the culture, politics, and prejudices of the times when they were designed, printed, and distributed. Erika Piola, Curator of Graphic Arts and Director of the Visual Culture Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia, discussed this extensive collection as a primary source of research by scholars and the diversity of topics able to be studied.

Video 1 Barbara Fahs Charles and Erika Piola


MinnJoo Baek, Innovating traditional market spaces in Shanghai

In Shanghai, traditional markets have been markers of ephemeral space, found at the center of the local community and central to the local economy. Fast-changing lifestyles, the growth of large online supermarkets, and digital technological development have led to the decline of these markets. Based on field research and user interviews, this experimental research focuses on the renovation/reconstruction of an existing market to meet the modern needs of users (merchants and customers), provide a site-specific experience to attract customers from diverse generations, and offer vernacular exposure.

Video 2 MinJoo Baek