Creativity and Collaboration

Instilling imagination and innovation in structural design

Call for Abstracts and Ideas – pdf copy
Submission of ideas and abstracts:

Conference theme and topics

The event aims to address the whole area of creativity in design and the collaborative processes that generate innovation and design excellence in the built environment.  In addition to learning from some examples from completed projects, the event will focus on current and future work, with the emphasis being on conceptual design and the design process itself rather than just the end result.

How can we encourage greater creativity and imagination in design?  How can cutting edge research be used to influence design processes and outcomes?  How can designers work together and collaborate more effectively in today’s design context?  How can we develop an innovation mindset in structural designers? The event will address these and other related questions exploring creativity and collaboration in the structural design process.

Within the overall theme of the conference, sessions will be grouped according to the following Conference Topics:

  1. Creative conceptual design
  2. Digital workflows and computational design tools
  3. Collaboration and integration in the conceptual design process
  4. Educating, inspiring and developing creative and innovative designers
  5. The influence of social, historical and cultural values in conceptual design
  6. Balancing innovation and risk – making sound judgments in the design process
  7. Innovative design methods for renovation and strengthening of existing and heritage structures

Who is it for?

The event will appeal to engineers, architects, planners, educators, researchers and all those concerned about achieving innovation and improving creativity in design for the built environment.

Event format

The event will comprise plenary sessions, parallel sessions and design workshops.

The plenary sessions will include keynote lectures by invited speakers related to the theme of the conference.

Building on the precedent established at the Geneva Conference in 2015, the parallel sessions will be of two types:

  • Lecture format sessions: conventional lecture format with presentations and an opportunity for short discussions. Abstracts for papers to be presented in these sessions are now invited.
  • Seminar format sessions: a few short presentations to describe the theme/topic of the seminar followed by round table discussion facilitated by the session Chairman, with maximum interaction from the delegates. Ideas for these interactive sessions are now invited.

In addition, there will be a series of practical, creative design workshops or charrettes. These will offer delegates the opportunity to participate and interact in small groups facilitated by established designers and practitioners. The workshops will incorporate aspects of online collaborative working and data sharing with our international partners in South Africa and elsewhere. More details on these design workshops will be published nearer the time, but delegates will have the opportunity to choose whether to participate in one or more of the workshops and/or attend the parallel sessions. Numbers will be limited, and applications to participate in a workshop will need to be made in advance of the event.

Call for Short Abstracts and Ideas

The Organising Committee for IABSE Bath 2017 is now inviting submissions of abstracts for the lecture format sessions and ideas for the seminar format sessions.

  • Abstracts should be no more than 500 words and a single page of A4, and should identify which of the Conference Topics the paper is intended to address. The abstract should summarize the contents of the paper and clearly indicate the relevance to the theme of the conference.
  • Ideas for seminar format sessions should be submitted by the proposed session Chair or a potential seminar participant. It is intended that a small group of speakers/presenters with a common interest will conceive and propose a seminar on a subject which must be relevant to the overall theme and fit within one or more of the Conference Topics. The proposal should be no more than 1000 words and two pages of A4. It should include the title and intended purpose of the seminar, the subject(s) to be addressed, the names and affiliations of the presenters, and the session Chair if known. If appropriate, the Scientific Committee will suggest a suitable session Chair. If the proposal is accepted, the Chair will be expected to assemble the speakers and ensure that their participation maintains the high standard expected of an IABSE conference.

Please submit abstracts and session ideas online at The abstracts and session ideas will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee. Authors of accepted abstracts and Chairs and presenters involved in accepted seminar session ideas will be expected to attend and participate in the conference.

Final submission of two page Abstracts and Papers

Two page abstracts will be required in the standard IABSE format (format to follow) for all accepted abstracts and for all topics accepted for the seminar sessions. All two page abstracts will be produced in a bound book, including the two page descriptions of the seminar sessions.

Full written papers are not compulsory but may be submitted in addition to the abstract if the author wishes to have a full paper published.  Any submitted papers will be subject to review by the Scientific Committee prior to publication in the conference proceedings. These shall be prepared in the standard IABSE format (format to follow).  Papers will be issued to delegates only in digital form.

Conference Language

The conference language is English, and all speakers must be able to make their presentation and respond to questions in clear English.


  • 7th October Call for Abstracts and Session Ideas
  • 28th November Deadline for Submission of Abstracts and Session Ideas
  • 6th January Notification of accepted abstracts and ideas for seminars
  • 6th March Deadline for submission of final two page abstracts and papers
  • 19-20th April Conference

Conference Venue

The event will take place at Bath University. Bath University has a joint design, engineering and architecture school developed by Professor Ted Happold in 1976. Designed to bridge the gap between the teaching of architecture and engineering and foster interdisciplinary working, the university is an ideal place to discuss creativity and collaboration.

Bath is a beautiful city set in rolling countryside in the south west of England. Famed for its 18th century Georgian architecture, its history extends back to Roman England – and you can still bathe in the natural hot springs in the city’s Roman Baths. A UNESCO world heritage site, the city is home to architectural highlights including Bath Abbey, the sandstone Royal Crescent (by John Wood), and present day gems that respect the extensive heritage of the city.

A parallel event will be taking place in Stellenbosch University, South Africa, particularly in relation to collaboration in the design workshops. More details to follow.


Some rooms have been reserved at the University of Bath for this event. These will be allocated on a first come first served basis once reservations commence.  Alternatively, the city of Bath has many hotels at a range of prices, and a list of suggested hotels which are within easy reach of the conference venue will be prepared shortly.

Getting to Bath

Bath is 90 minutes from central London by train, and is readily accessible from several international airports including Heathrow and Bristol. Transport hubs are well connected by bus and train.

Organising Committee and Scientific Committee

An organising committee has been formed under the chairmanship of Ian Firth in the UK. A scientific committee for the review of abstracts and the technical programme will be formed in due course.

Contact Details

To register your interest in contributing to or attending this conference, please complete our online form here. For all queries, please contact