Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Brendon Clark

I am Associate Professor in design anthropology Umeå Institute of Design and the Director of PhD Studies. 



Works at

Associate professor at Umeå Institute of Design (UID)
Östra Strandgatan 30 Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå

My teaching and research focuses on how designers engage different people and materials to bring about new ways of organizing daily life. Whether it is the daily life and materials of a specialized work profession such as medical equipment for conducting surgery in the hospital setting or the organizatioinal set-up supporting new comers navigate the local language while buying groceries, designers engage a variety of people in order to create new possibilities through design.

I focus on the improvisational and emerging practices in the design encounter. My work draws on traditions of participatory design, the participant observation approach from anthropology, as well performance theory and practices.

Before joining UID full time in 2017, I worked for eight years at Interactive Institute (now RISE) as a senior researcher conducting applied research projects with special focus on exploring new pedagogies for language learning in-the-wild. During the last four years at the institute, I led team of designers and researchers in the Stockholm studio.


By background lies in the social sciences (BA 1995, San Jose State University, USA), international community development and disaster relief practice in Bolivia (1996-1999), and anthropology (MA 2002 Northern Arizona University, USA). I conducted my PhD in User Centered Design with an emphasis in design anthropology at the University of Southern Denmark (2007) followed by a post-doc (2008-2010). 

IxD&A: Interaction Design and Architecture(s), Association for Smart Learning Ecosystems and Regional Development 2023, (58) : 110-131
Clark, Brendon; Fernaeus, Ylva
Design Culture(s). Cumulus Conference Proceedings Roma 2021, Rome: The Cumulus Association 2021 : 2253-2264
Clark, Brendon
CHI2021 Online interactive workshop: Decolonizing Design Practices: Towards Pluriversality
Clark, Brendon; Torretta, Nicholas B.
Matters of Scale: NORDES 2021. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Design Research Conference, Kolding: Design School Kolding; University of Southern Denmark 2021 : 495-498
Torretta, Nicholas B.; Reitsma, Lizette; Clark, Brendon; et al.
Conversation analytic research on learning-in-action: the complex ecology of second language interaction ‘in the wild’, Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2019 : 219-248
Lilja, Niina; Piirainen-Marsh, Arja; Clark, Brendon; et al.
Design Management Review, Wiley-Blackwell 2018, Vol. 29, (2) : 20-25
Lawrence, Jill; Clark, Brendon
IxD&A: Interaction Design and Architecture(s), (32) : 38-47
Aliasgari, Mahdis; Clark, Brendon
Design Anthropological Futures: exploring emergence, intervention and formation, London: Bloomsbury Academic 2016 : 169-182
Clark, Brendon; Caldwell, Melissa L.
Design anthropology: theory and practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic 2013 : 199-215
Clark, Brendon
Proceedings of the Participatory Innovation Conference PIN-C 2013, Lahti, Finland: Lappeenranta University of Technology Press 2013 : 224-232
Mack, Alexandra; Clark, Brendon; Buur, Jacob; et al.
INCLUDE 2011 Proceedings, London: Royal College of Art 2011 : 985-994
Clark, Brendon; Wagner, Johannes; Lindemalm, Karl; et al.
Digital Creativity, Routledge 2010, Vol. 21, (3) : 155-172
Bergström, Jenny; Clark, Brendon; Frigo, Alberto; et al.
Copenhagen: The Danish Design School Press 2010
Halse, Joachim; Brandt, Eva; Clark, Brendon; et al.
EPIC 2008 Conference Proceedings : 128-145
Joachim, Halse; Clark, Brendon
PDC 2004 - Proceedings of the Eighth Conference on Participatory Design, Toronto, Canada: ACM Press 2004 : 148-151
Sangiorgi, Daniela; Clark, Brendon