Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Maria Göransdotter

I am associate professor in design history and design theory at Umeå Institute of Design, and Director of PhD studies in industrial design. 

Educational qualifications: Recognised university teacher

Works at

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

I teach and do research in design, specializing in the areas of design history and design theory. I hold a PhD in industrial design, after doctoral studies in the history of science and ideas, semiotics, and industrial design. In my dissertation, Transitional Design Histories, I argued for the need of activating a historical awareness in designing, through exploring how design histories that take a starting point in designing might contribute to opening up the conceptual spaces of contemporary and emerging design practices. Read more about my PhD project here.

Between February and September 2021, I was Senior Resident Researcher at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, working on the project Mapping Design Methods: Exploring past and present methods development to face emerging practices and unstable futures. Currently, I am together with colleagues from three Swedish universities engaged in the artistic research environment Design after progress, which runs between 2023 and 2028. 

We are not many at Umeå Institute of Design who are actually from Umeå originally, but I am one of them. I was born here, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and have since then mostly lived in Umeå (with stints in Gothenburg and Italy). My educational background is in the History of Science and Ideas at Umeå University, and I have also studied semiotics and aesthetics at the University of Bologna, Italy. I have been a PhD student and teacher in the field of history of ideas, and started teaching as an external teacher at UID in 1996 where I have been employed since 2006. Between 2009 and 2018 I was a part of the school's leadership team: Deputy head of department 2009-12, Head of department 2013-15, and Vice rector between 2015 and 2018. 

Contact me if you'd like to discuss how the past matters for how we see and do things today and in the future:
- design studies
- design history
- design theory
- history of technology
- history of ideas
- participatory design
- user-centered design
- Scandinavian design

Past and future: Nordic design history reassessed: paper abstracts
Göransdotter, Maria
IASDR 2023: Life-changing design, Milano, Italy, October 9-13, 2023
Göransdotter, Maria; Auricchio, Valentina; Auger, James; et al.
Society 5.0 Festival: Creativity, Care, Connect. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October 31 - November 1, 2023
Göransdotter, Maria; Patil, Mugdha
Engaging spaces: how to increase social awarness and human wellbeing through experience design, Milano: FrancoAngeli 2022 : 131-158
Auricchio, Valentina; De Rosa, Annalinda; Göransdotter, Maria
Female traces: kvinnliga möbelformgivare genom 100 år, Falkenberg: Rian designmuseum 2022 : 12-15
Göransdotter, Maria
Nordic design cultures in transformation, 1960–1980: revolt and resilience, New York: Routledge 2022 : 157-177
Göransdotter, Maria
AIS/Design, Milano: 2021, Vol. 8, (15) : 132-146
Auricchio, Valentina; Göransdotter, Maria
Hundra år av design och demokrati : Alla vägar bär hit, online, 12 mars, 2021
Göransdotter, Maria
Matters of Scale: Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Design Research Conference, Kolding, Denmark, Kolding: 2021 : 187-196
Göransdotter, Maria
Nordic Design Cultures in Transition 1960-80, Workshop, online, May 27-28, 2021
Göransdotter, Maria
Umeå Institute of Design Research Publications, 8
Göransdotter, Maria
Nordic Design Cultures 1960-80, SDU Design, Denmark, October 2-4, 2019
Göransdotter, Maria
Design Issues, MIT Press 2018, Vol. 34, (2) : 20-30
Göransdotter, Maria; Redström, Johan
Design History Society Annual Conference; Design and Time, Middlesex University, London, UK, September 8-10, 2016
Göransdotter, Maria; Redström, Johan
Conference Proceedings: Volume 2. Design Research Society 2012: Bangkok: Research: Uncertainty Contradiction Value, Bangkok: Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University 2012 : 526-541
Göransdotter, Maria
NU2010: Dialog för lärande
Göransdotter, Maria; Erhardsson, Margareta
NU2010: Dialog för lärande
Göransdotter, Maria; Erhardsson, Margareta; Lindh-Karlsson, Monica
Utsikter, insikter, avsikter: universitetspedagogisk konferens i Umeå 27 – 28 februari 2007 : konferensrapport, Umeå: Universitetspedagogiskt Centrum, Umeå universitet 2008 : 11-23
Andersson, Åsa; Göransdotter, Maria
Historiska studier: skrifter från Umeå universitet, 1
Sundin, Bosse; Göransdotter, Maria
Tänk efter, tänk nytt, tänk om: den sjunde universitetspedagogiska konferensen 2–3 mars 2005, Umeå: Umeå universitet 2006 : 173-188
Gelfgren, Stefan; Göransdotter, Maria
Årsbok om folkbildning 2004, Stockholm: Föreningen för folkbildningsforsking 2005 : 49-65
Göransdotter, Maria
Vidgade vyer: Globalt perspektiv på idéhistoria, Lund: Studentlitteratur 2000 : 214-232
Göransdotter, Maria
Nordisk arkitekturforskning, Göteborg: 1999, Vol. 2 : 45-54
Göransdotter, Maria
Kultur och konsumtion i Norden 1750-1950, Helsingfors: Finska Historiska Samfundet 1997 : 253-274
Göransdotter, Maria
Kollektive identiteter, ting og betydninger, Oslo: Senter for teknologi og menneskelige verdier 1997 : 49-62
Göransdotter, Maria

My main areas of teaching are design history and theory, focusing on ideas and practices central to critically probing matters of concern in contemporary designing. At Umeå Institute of Design (UID), I teach and tutor on all three cycles of the studio-based education in industrial design, and I have taught design theory in other Nordic and international design schools. 

I teach in pedagogical courses for university teachers at the Centre of Teaching and Learning (UPL) at Umeå University, and have also with UPL developed pedagogical courses for design teachers. On PhD level, I have for many years taught a course at the Faculty of Arts at Umeå University. In 2015, I was awarded recognition as 'recognized university teacher' in our university's pedagogical qualification model. 

Currently, I am working with UID colleagues on developing the curriculum for a new BFA programme in industrial design that fully integrates sustainability perspectives.