Research seminars

The UID research seminar is an opportunity for researchers, PhD students, and guests to engage in critical discussions related to design research.

The research seminars are generally based on a research publication or work in progress that the participants are encouraged to read ahead of time. Seminars take place on Tuesday afternoons, 13.15-15.00 CET, in a hybrid format online and in the Research studio at Umeå Institute of Design

If you would like to participate in a seminar, contact

Research seminars – Spring 2024

January 16 – Pamela Gil-Salas: Embracing the Pluriverse in Design | Positionality, Identity, Representation and Magical Realism 

Pamela Gil-Salas, PhD student at UID and part of the DCODE network, presents a paper submitted to the Pluriverse track of the DRS 2024 conference in Boston. Please do not share the paper, as it is still in progress.

Abstract: This paper highlights the centrality of positionality in pluriversal design, contending that a designer's worldview profoundly shapes the design process. Drawing from personal experiences as a Latin American woman, it illustrates the intricate intersections of identity, privilege, and power. Tracing parallels with magical realism and the symbolic, it underlines the tension between the universal and the particular in design. Cultural contexts and historical legacies are vital in informing design choices and meanings within the pluriverse, emphasizing the importance of recognizing 'otherness' and engaging with politics of representation.

The paper examines coloniality's enduring influence on design. Personal experiences navigating an 'otherness' unveil invisible barriers that shape biases in this interconnected pluriverse and confront power imbalances. It advocates for a more inclusive and representative approach to design through a decolonial lens, aligning with an ontological design perspective —we are shaped by the things we design and use.

January 30 – Stoffel Kuenen: Trawling for meaning in an MFA course collaboration

Stoffel Kuenen, associate professor at UID, presents how an IxD course collaboration with researchers and practitioners in the medical field has led to writing a paper with them.

"For this seminar I share a draft paper that I am stuck with. I am uncertain of its contribution and am unmotivated to continue as it feels outside my core research interests.

I welcome any comments on the structure and content, if and ho wto stage the students design work, help in getting (potential) contributions in focus, ideas for places to publish.

And more in general we could discuss how teaching we do relates to our research practices."

February 16 – Rob Collins 50% seminar: Seize the Means of Interaction! Interfacing With Sustainable Socio-Technical Futures

Rob Collins, PhD student at UID and part of the DCODE network, will be presenting his work, so far, as part of his PhD project in Designing for Contestable Systems. He will be in conversation with Christian Ulrik Andersen, Associate Professor at the School of Communication and Culture at Aarhus University. Towards the end, the conversation will be opened up for the audience to join with questions and comments.

Join Zoom Meeting:

This project is about the challenges involved in making it possible for people to contextualise and negotiate a data-driven system’s response to users’ actions (“response-ability”) in and through use. What features, mechanisms and techniques need to be designed and implemented in the front-end for users to understand, contest and possibly repair inappropriate actions by a system?

Robert will be speaking about his journey through contemporary cases of algorithmic contestation, his exploration of ‘repair’ as a lens to redefine contestation, the search for a more response-able and participatory way of interacting through agonism, and his next steps into public engagement, workshopping and Thick(er) Interfaces.

For access to the 50% manuscript, please email:

February 27 – Young Suk Lee: There’s not an app for that | (Re)imaging poetic engagements with technology through experimental making

Young Suk Lee, Postdoctoral fellow at UID, presents her current research themes.

Abstract: Computing has come to pervade every domain of human experience and activity. Recognizing that all design is ontological, I argue that there is a need to expand technological design practices beyond orientations grounded in notions of (straightforward) use and to instead explore how design can relate also to the more complex and sensitive aspects of being human. I here develop a conceptualization of design for poetic engagement as a way of framing what this might be like. Further, if some form of goal-directed use cannot be used to guide a critical design process aimed at opening new aesthetics, another approach to conceiving creative perspectives and evaluating design outcomes is needed. I propose a methodological approach of experimental making to serve this role, drawing on familiar design and artistic practices but composing and orienting them in service of design for poetic engagement. Finally, poetic engagement and the methodological approach of experimental making are further unpacked through examples drawn from a research through design practice. The aim of the paper is to offer this theoretical and methodological framing as a resource for design practices that are not or even cannot be anchored by ideas about finding an optimal solution, effective use or straightforward problem solving, and instead seek to attend to the messy realities of our entangled worlds and human experiences.

March 12 – Aditya Pawar: Orientation to openness

Aditya Pawar, PhD student at UID shares a draft chapter on 'openness' that provides the framing for the experiments in his thesis. Since he is updating this text after a gap of about two years, he is interested in discussing current discourses and design experiments on similar topics that he may have missed. His goal is to streamline the text by adding current and relevant citations, as well as editing parts that are outdated or not needed. 

March 26 – Sergio Bravo Josephson: Contrasting methodologies for making communal artefacts that make lifeworld methodologies visible

Sergio Bravo Josephson, UID PhD student, holds a seminar on Participatory Design (PD) and Research through Design (RtD) methodologies based on the Research project "The Design Ecologies of Grassroot Communities". For the seminar, Sergio presents his current work of defining a design research methodology based on projects with communities involved in territorial struggles searching for solutions to socioenvironmental problems. For the seminar he invites us to reflect on this process through a recent abstract admission for a co-written paper and a presentation of current research activities and collaborations with communities.

April 23 – Lisa Nyberg: To Know and Be Known by (a) Place – Pedagogies of the Unknown on Site

Lisa Nyberg, UmArts postdoctoral researcher at Umeå Academy of Fine Arts, presents her post-doctoral project “To Know and Be Known by (a) Place – Pedagogies of the Unknown on Site”, which is concerned with reciprocal process of getting to know a place, and in turn being known by that place (Lopez 2015). The consequences of settler colonial policies by the Swedish state on the Sami population and the settlers are intertwined in her family's history and made tangible at the site that is their heritage – the homestead Mårtensliden. With an emphasis on place-specificity as an artistic research method, she explore what an artistic practice based on principles of reciprocity could look like. The aim of the project is to document how artistic practices that consider our relationship to site-place-land can support practices of reconnection, in and beyond times of settler colonization.

In this presentation, Lisa will reflect on the artistic process of drawing a “landscape of relation” that shows the migration patterns of the people who have belonged to Mårtensliden, and discuss different aspects of transparency and opacity in the work.

May 7 – Goeun Park: Participatory Approach Matters – Dynamic diffusion of students’ energy innovations across boundaries and its implication for energy education

Goeun Park, visiting PhD student, Aalto University, presents a paper draft investigating how students' energy innovations are in practice used and diffused across school boundaries after being constructed in class. The data are drawn from the Participatory Design project Making Energy Together that she has conducted in five secondary schools in Finland and South Korea for the last two years. In the project, students learnt how to codesign energy innovations with peers and built those by hands on the school property. The paper draft she will present in the seminar illustrates dynamic use and diffusion processes of the innovations that sometimes go beyond the social and material boundaries. This paper aims to provide a valuable insight to the environmental education research community on how a participatory design approach works as a key intermediatory in diffusing the student's energy innovations, extending individual learning on energy technology to society, and in doing so enable us to reflect on the potential of participatory approaches to making a practical contribution to mitigating climate change. 

May 21 – Leena Naqvi: Food as a Medium/Tool for Design Research

Leena Naqvi is a PhD student at UID.

Abstract: Food, as both a material and cultural artifact, embodies layers of social, cultural, and sensory dimensions. This paper explores the use of food as a medium for knowledge production, drawing from interdisciplinary perspectives to unpack its potential for generating insights and understanding within diverse contexts. In my  PhD project , Airmailing Culture, I investigate the intricate interplay between embodied food practices and their environmental entanglements, contributing to broader discussions on ontological design and human-environment interactions.

May 30, 10.00–12.00 – Seda Özçetin 50% Seminar: Reading it in our terms, "That Terms of Service could have been an eco-social contract”

Abstract: The artificial has changed. So, its ethics and aesthetics. We live and work with these things, without much comprehension of what they are, and how they are. We are forced into artificial relationships with not much clue and control. In this work, I unpack these relationships taking pauses and non-pauses with Terms of Service, the key mechanism legitimizing all what goes in the background and foreground. Embracing in-betweenness as an attitude I explore the space in-between ethics and aesthetics of artificial relationships through designerly ways of becoming. I refuse concepts. I make concepts. I move in-between sites, spaces, and places, disciplinary boundaries, mediums, scales, and time periods. I construct and present my design research program aesthetics of in-betweenness through 4 practices: designerly ways of reading: relaying design for Terms of Ideas, designerly ways of attending: releasing design for Terms of Trauma, designerly ways of seeing: revealing design for Terms of Entanglement, and designerly ways of hoping: reimagining design for Terms of Radiance. I reflect on my explorations and make paths for future trajectories for an artificial as in more-than-human-made relationships.

Discussant: Associate Professor Anna Vallgårda, IT University of Copenhagen

Where: UID Research Studio


Research seminars – Fall 2023

August 29 – Start-up seminar: Sharing and Preparing

This seminar kicks off the study year with an “out and about” session in which we share conference experiences, defense and committee work and other research activities that we have engaged in during the summer. Together, we will plan the content of the upcoming seminars: please propose when you would like to book a seminar slot.

September 19 – Tarsh Bates: On Being a Microbioartist: Art-making in a microbiology laboratory

Tarsh Bates, postdoctoral researcher at UID, Dept. of Molecular Biology, and UmArts, presents previous and ongoing research.

This seminar presents an overview of my artistic research with microorganisms, including my explorations of the physical, emotional and political relationships between humans and Candida albicans (an opportunistic fungal pathogen of humans). These relationships span immunology and ecology, sexuality (both human and microbial) and evolutionary biology, public health and body discipline, institutional frameworks and kinship. I take seriously the agency and response-ability of the microbe. To do so, my creative practice attempts to understand and navigate microbial Umwelten and traverse microbe-human scales. I also introduce a new project which is part of my Postdoctoral research in Design & Molecular Biology, hosted by UID, Molecular Biology and Um…Arts. In this project, I will use multispecies participatory research methods to explore microbial-human olfactory and food relationships and reimagine decolonial and regenerative Arctic food futures oriented towards multi-species flourishing.


Tarsh Bates is an artist/researcher/educator interested in how knowledge and experience form and transfer through the relationships between bodies, environment and culture. She completed her PhD in Biological Arts at SymbioticA, UWA in 2018 and has worked variously as a pizza delivery driver, a fruit and vegetable stacker, a toilet paper packer, a researcher in compost science and waste management, a honeybee ejaculator, an art gallery invigilator, a raspberry picker, a lecturer/tutor in art/science, art history, gender & technology, posthumanism, counter realism and popular culture, an editor, a bookkeeper, a car detailer, and a life drawing model. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Design & Molecular Biology at UID, Department of Molecular Biology & Um…Arts, Umeå University. She is particularly enamoured with Candida albicans.

Discussion text: Bates, T. (2015). Cutting together-apart the mould: Notes on the intra-activity of slime mould/mold. Antennae, 32.

October 3 – Seda Özçetin: Programmatic time travel / Terms of Service meets machine art

Seda Özçetin, PhD student at UID within the DCODE network, presents a work in progress paper for DRS Conference (together with Johan Redström).


We are facing a plurality of complex challenges, yet, designing has been stuck within a human-centered design paradigm that approaches most problems with a streamlining mindset through a limited time perspective. On the other hand, most speculative design methods gaze a farther future yet through the lens of what we can imagine from where we stand oscillating between utopias and dystopias. In this paper, we look backwards instead, in exploration of how we can use design historical resources in new and sometimes also unexpected ways to find new orientations. We present a speculative method that we call Programmatic Time Travel by working through a contemporary challenge, the Terms of Service (ToS) that has so far been approached from a usability lens with the hope to improve engagement and comprehension. The journey that starts with an association between ToS and ornament in early industrialization period, takes ToS and us to the 1934 MoMA Machine Art Exhibition and back to the present yet to a new starting point for possible futures to unfold. With an ambition to resist the urge to streamline, recover from false learnings of past through conscious reflections, our method makes possible to reimagine designing. By activating design history through speculative juxtapositions, Programmatic Time Travel makes possible a polyphonic research landscape that fluidly moves between past, present, and future. By presenting this method through an example, we invite design researchers to go on programmatic time travels taking with other contemporary challenges.

October 4 – PhD Festival: Transparency

Introduction: Overview of the day & the ISP process (Maria Göransdotter)

Monica Lindh Karlsson: Conceptualization of contemporary design doing

Anja Neidhardt-Mokoena: Feminist Tactics as Means to Re-Design Design



Leena Naqvi: The hand that feeds us is that hand that will save us: A critical enquiry into the relationship between embodied food practices and sustainable futures.

Rob Collins: Designing for contestable systems

Seda Özçetin: Designing alternatives for the Terms of Service (ToS)

Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada: Co-design for resilience

Pamela Gil-Salas: Designing Mechanisms for Public Deliberation on Data Use

Sergio Bravo Josephson: The Design Ecologies of Grassroot Communities

Catharina Henje: Designing for diversity

Ayşegül Özçelik: Life extension of smart connected products

Daphné Hamilton-Jones: Workshops for Food Transitions

Aditya Pawar: Design for social innovation

Optional: Dinner and drinks at Gröna Älgen (sign up by e-mailing Camilla)

October 24 – Anja Neidhardt-Mokoena: 90% seminar / Feminist Tactics as a Means to Re-Design Design

We look forward to welcoming you to the 90% seminar of Anja Neidhardt-Mokoena, who is a PhD candidate at Umeå Institute of Design and at Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (supervisors: Heather Wiltse, Anna Croon, Cindy Kohtala). She will be in conversation with Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard about her PhD research project. You can either join on location at Umeå Institute of Design or online via Zoom. If you are interested in reading the thesis draft, please reach out to


Design has played a role in creating the modern world, including injustices and the climate crisis. And it still contributes to the reproduction of what bell hooks calls white-supremacist imperialist capitalist (hetero)patriarchy that distributes privilege and oppression. At best, design supports us, at worst it hinders or even harms us. Our experience depends on our gender and sexuality, whether we are able-bodied or not, our skin color, our class, and many more aspects. There is an urgency to transform design, so that it can become able to not only stay with past and present trouble, but also to contribute to develop more just futures. How can such a transformational process come about? This thesis proposes to look at design museums. Their aim is to represent design not only to design students and designers themselves, but also the wider public. They hold much power and potential. However, design museums not only overrepresent the group of white, male, heterosexual star designers. They also often give a platform to problematic designs without thematizing their involvement in oppressive structures. Many design museums see the need for change: They try to bring more diversity into their collections or create more accessible spaces. But unfortunately their efforts often seem to stay on the surface. This research project believes that, instead of improving or reforming design museums, transformational processes towards more just futures need to be explored. Since feminism is a powerful movement that revolves around transformational processes towards more just futures, this thesis proposes to learn how feminist tactics work and how they might be applied in design. Tactics are more flexible than strategies, they can be described as decisions that are made depending on context and situation, and they are often applied by members of marginalized groups. Building on this foundation, the thesis asks: Which feminist tactics could support transformational processes of design museums aiming towards more just futures? To explore this question, different theories and methods from both design research and feminist research are combined. Feminist standpoint theory and queer phenomenology, the concepts matters of care, para-museum and metabolic museum are combined with methodologies from participatory design, terraforming from onto-cartography, and methods such as inventories, museum visits, illustrations, consulting secondary literature, hosting workshops and visual analysis. By looking for cracks in the sleek surface of design museums, the thesis identifies points for leverage through which transformation could come about. It proposes to learn feminist tactics from social movements like ACT UP and from spaces like the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Among those tactics are talking back, collective leadership, infiltration and appropriation, iterations, networking, collecting from below, cutting differently and connecting otherwise. This thesis demonstrates that there is hope. Next to identifying feminist tactics that could support transformational processes of design museums, This thesis also formulates characteristics and qualities of potential alternative design museums, such as openness with limits, protecting and preserving differently, crowding, design works that work in two ways, and metabolizing gatherings. Finally, informed by insights from the research process and building on the findings, the thesis sketches how a transformational process with the support of feminist tactics and a para-museum towards metabolic design museums might look like. Thus, this research project contributes to the field of design museums alternative ways of moving towards justice; as well as ideas of how transformed design museums could look and work. On a broader scale, it shows how feminist approaches can be applied in design research, and it also introduces some ideas of how feminist research might benefit from design theories and methodologies. Finally, this thesis contributes to activism in the field of design, by strengthening communities driven by questions and values revolving around transforming design so that it becomes more able to unfold its potential to contribute towards the development of more just futures. 

November 14 – Cancelled


November 28 – Cancelled


December 12 – Cancelled


Research seminars – Spring 2023

January 17 – Nordes bonanza

This seminar will be dedicated to discussing several contributions-in-progress by UID PhD students for the Nordes design conference Doctoral Consortium. Seda Özçetin, Pamela Gil-Salas, Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada and Aysegül Özçelik will present their draft paper submissions. We will dedicate 20 minutes to each paper. 

January 31 – Stoffel Kuenen: Aesthetics. Struggling with expression.

Stoffel Kuenen, associate professor at UID, presents work in progress.


Interacting with others often involves digital technologies. The design of these technologies reflect what is considered as important in being together, affording social experiences of particular kinds.

We invite the reader to physically explore how structural properties of this pictorial, shape possible behaviors with someone else, bringing different aspects of the relationship to expression.

Such an exploration is intended to offer the reader rich insight in the structural elements presented and the related basic conceptions of social interaction media (technologies?) that designers work with.

February 14 – Ylva Fernaeus: Reflecting on posthumanism in interaction design

Ylva Fernaeus, associate professor at KTH and visiting researcher at UID, presents her paper: Reflecting on posthumanism in interaction design.


An important aspect of posthuman theory concerns the embracing of a broad perspective beyond individuals, towards a view that emphasizes actions and relations. From a design perspective, this concerns an attentiveness to differing viewpoints and stakeholders, as shaped around diverse contexts, practices, and materialities. It highlights how the stuff we design becomes part of worlds and of people, as they serve them/us, not only as tools, but also as prostheses, essential for participation and belonging (and their opposites). These topics are – and have always been – core to interaction design. Therefore, this research field might seem especially fit for engaging with posthuman theory, and as such possesses a unique viewpoint from which to further these theories. I will start off with a short “rant”, outlining a few themes, from which I see research in interaction design to propose theoretical contributions or contradictions. Thereafter I hope to have you all engaged in some provocative discussions around how this may influence how we articulate design ideals, research methods, and analytical approach – in design more broadly. 

In preparation for the seminar, please read Laura Forlano (2017), ”Posthumanism and Design”, SheJi: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 3:1, p. 16-29.

February 28 – Monica Lindh Karlsson: Design togetherness

Monica Lindh Karlsson, PhD student and associate professor at UID, presents the introductory and the concluding chapters of her in-progress PhD thesis on Design togetherness – How designers relate to each other when they collaborate.

March 14 – Seda Özçetin: Terms of Entanglement – A Posthumanist Reading of Terms of Service

Seda Özçetin, PhD student at UID, presents a journal paper in progress that she is co-writing with her supervisor Dr. Heather Wiltse. Taking an experimental methodological approach, the paper proposes five posthuman experiments on Terms of Service revealing the entanglements of multiple actors and agencies to open new trajectories for designing alternatives for the Terms of Service.

March 28 – Diana Albarrán González: South-South Dialogues around Buen Vivir-Centric Design

Diana Albarrán González, Lecturer at the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries, Fine Arts, New Zealand, presents “South-South Dialogues around Buen Vivir-Centric Design”

Buen Vivir (Good life, collective well-being) is a decolonial stance from Abya Yala establishing the creation of alternative worlds in harmonious co-existence for human and diverse beings with nature. Buen vivir-centric design sets the foundations for a context-based, non-Western/Indigenous design from the Global South. Based on the precolonial backstrap loom weaving practice from Mesoamerica, it interweaves various distinctive threads like uno con el todo, colectividad, resource(ful), pluriversal, and equilibrium in a cyclical journey, towards community well-being through sentipensar, corazonar and embodiment.

In preparation for the seminar, please read: Albarrán González, D., & Campbell, A. D. (2022). South-South Dialogues around Buen Vivir-Centric Design.Diseña, (21), Article.4

April 11 – Ayşegül Özçelik: Designing for Long-Lasting Connected Smart Products

Ayşegül Özçelik, visiting PhD student at UIS and Ph.D. Fellow at Aalborg University will present the process of her Ph.D. thesis, which discusses the possibilities of designing longer-lasting connected products.

Designers, as decision-makers, need to tackle two opposing concepts simultaneously: non-stop innovation and the permanency of the product while designing long-lasting smart products. With the purpose of supporting longevity, the current literature proposes various life extension strategies. Implementing longevity strategies is co-dependent on external requirements such as production methods, availability of components, and business models. Therefore, the implication of life extension strategies fits only some design contexts.

Designing for longevity might be possible based on the context, situated decision-making, and the designers and related actors' in-action knowledge (Schön, D. A., 1983) simultaneously. Thus, in this thesis, I aim to empower the actors to create their solutions by creating a tangible discussion medium. This medium promises to create a "longevity mindset" that might help them engage with the challenges and explore opportunities.

Ayşegül would appreciate suggestions and critiques, particularly regarding the research design.

The seminar is held in the UID Research Studio and via Zoom. (Meeting ID: 681 7939 8717, Passcode: Research)

April 25 – Amparo Coiduras: Designing Smart Products with Privacy in Mind – Insights from My PhD Work in Progress

Amparo Coiduras, visiting PhD student at UID, PhD Student at the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR) and Junior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of San Jorge (USJ) presents work-in-progress.


Research seminars – Fall 2022

September 6 – Ben Matthews: Turning design towards remaking the conditions of design

Ben Matthews is the Program Director for The University of Queensland's Master of Interaction Design in Brisbane, Australia. 

Methods and practices of design are becoming widely applied in domains not traditionally associated with design. This is visible in how versions of "design thinking" have been taken up in various commercial fields, and how an idea of "co-design" is more recently becoming formalised in various kinds of clinical and health policy research. Yet as versions of design are sought by others as a remedy for intractable problems in their own fields, we are inclined to ask how and why the design community at large might turn its attention to itself, to rethink and remake the conditions of its own practice. Design itself is beset by challenges. At the very least, these include its complicity in the industrialisation of production and ecocide, its limited ability to anticipate and counter the social and ethical consequences of technological platforms, its historical contributions to perpetuating inequitable status quos, and its servitude to consumerism. Design's ability to address these issues is compromised by the difficulty it has in mobilising its own (often fractured) publics to address the institutional and political structures within which it operates. This seminar will raise more questions than answers, and is intended as an open discussion of some early thoughts on design's imperative to attend to itself, and rework its own conditions of practice. 

Suggested reading

Matthews, B., Doherty, S., Johnston, J., & Foth, M. (2022). The publics of design: Challenges for design research and practice. Design Studies, 80, 101106. 

Matthews, B., Doherty, S., Worthy, P., & Reid, J. (2022). Design thinking, wicked problems and institutioning change: A case study. CoDesign, (2022), 1-17. 

September 13 – Claudia Garduño Garcia: Designing future experiences of the everyday: Pointers for methodical expansion of sustainability transitions research

Claudia Garduño Garcia, Associate Professor, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

It is critical now that we direct all our efforts at transitions to post-carbon and sustainable futures. Currently, transitions are mostly handled by select expert groups who generate transition visions, scenarios and pathways, feed their findings into policy-making processes, thereby locking-in "futures" _on behalf of the wider public. Scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are searching for more effective means to engage and empower citizens to effectively comprehend and actively take part in futuring processes. Experiential futures is an emerging field that connects experience design and futures studies. Experiential scenarios aim to create real memories of virtual events so that alternative futures can be understood and deliberated better by publics. This article maps contributions belonging to different disciplinary fields (including speculative design, literature studies, and psychology) to explore the means by which the everyday in futures could be virtually or vicariously experienced, aiming to contribute into the theoretical and methodological base of experiential futures. Our findings suggest that people's ability for being immersed into a story is positively correlated with their empathic capacity. Immersion seems to be most successfully achieved when the experience shares some level of familiarity with people's everyday reality and when the narrative is logically convincing. In addition, our findings indicate that avid fiction readers are more easily immersed in alternative scenarios than those who are not. Our findings have significant implications for designing future experiences of the everyday, therefore, on theory and methods of sustainability transitions.

In preparation, please read:

Garduño García, C., & Gaziulusoy, İ. (2021). Designing future experiences of the everyday: Pointers for methodical expansion of sustainability transitions research. Futures, 127.

Claudia Garduño García is an Associate Professor at the Postgraduate in Industrial Design at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), where she teaches courses related to design for sustainability, collaborative design methods, and design activism. Garduño holds a BSc in Industrial Design by Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Ciudad de México, and an MA in Applied Art and Design, as well as a DA in Design by Aalto University School of Arts, Design, and Architecture.

September 27 – Mette Kjaersgaard: Design anthropological perspectives and theory instruments 

Mette Kjaersgaard, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

While ethnographic fieldwork is increasingly celebrated as valuable to design, still little attention is given to the potentials of the more theoretical contributions of anthropology. In Design games as fieldwork (Kjaersgaard, Knutz & Markussen 2021) we argue that what anthropology may contribute to design is not simply found in methods for generating empirical material on human practice, but more so in the way anthropological theories and perspectives can (re-) frame design problems and possibilities. For design anthropologists, theory plays an important role in forming perspectives on fieldwork and directing our attention in the field, in sensitizing us to particular data and formulating insights, and in understanding the role and opportunities of design. To further explore the potentials of anthropological theory in interdisciplinary design practices we recently developed a set of Theory Instruments' that turn theoretical concepts into tangible and playful resources for collaborative analysis while sensitizing and challenging designers and researchers to gain new perspectives on field material and design potentials.

Based on examples from our experiments with theory instruments and design games ,we will discuss how 'tangibles' may serve as 'tools' for  a design anthropological practice.

Mette Kjaersgaard is an associate professor at University of Southern Denmark.


Sorensen, Kjaersgaard & Buur (to be published Oct 2022) Theory Instruments as Tangible Ways of Knowing Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, Conference Proceedings
For a copy of the paper draft, contact

October 25 – Cindy Kohtala: A Taxonomy of User Engagement in the 21st Century

Cindy Kohtala (Umeå University)

People not only purchase and use products and services, but creatively appropriate, hack, redesign and even innovate in them. Typologies of active use have emerged in various disciplines, remaining piecemeal even if complementary. Together they produce a blurry depiction of active design engagement, despite active use being pivotal to many emerging design approaches. To remedy this, we synthesize a taxonomy of different aspects of active use and design engagement. Use as-is, active use, locally new designs and globally new innovations mark different intensities of engagement. These can concern the material form of design, new uses, new meanings, adjustment to local settings, or the collective endeavours to shape communities and organizations, ideologies and imaginaries, and global platforms that facilitate active use.

Cindy Kohtala is a professor of design for sustainability and the program director of the Interaction Design MFA program at UID.  

In preparation for the seminar, please read:

Kohtala, C., Hyysalo, S., & Whalen, J. (2020). A taxonomy of users' active design engagement in the 21st century. Design Studies, 67, 27-54.

November 15 – Danielle Wilde: Workshops as a methodology for enacting participatory research through design

Danielle Wilde is professor of Design for Sustainability at Umeå Institue of Design, and leads food system sustainability transition research at the University of Southern Denmark

This seminar invites consideration of what it means to take an embodied stance in research and use workshops as a core methodology for enacting participatory Research through Design. In particular, it examines the impact of positioning food and sustainability as subject, object, context, design material, and multi-species concern.

Wilde provides three articles in preparation, to open up thinking around how workshops might be conducted. Moving from the general to the particular, the first discusses four workshops that explore ways of interrogating human-food-technology-interactions. The other two provide different perspectives on a single series of workshops. Together, the three articles invite diffractive reading of workshops as an embodied methodology. They open up for consideration ways of writing about, and collaboratively negotiating, research conducted through design.

In preparation, please read:

  • Dolejšová, M.* and Wilde, D.,* Altarriba Bertran, F., Davis, H. Disrupting (More-than-) Human-Food Interaction: Experimental Design, Tangibles and Food-Tech Futures. Designing Interactive Systems. (DIS2020) ACM (2020): 993-1004. *joint first authors
  • Wilde, D. Shitty food-based world-making: Recasting human|microbiome relationships beyond shame and taboo. Futures Volume 136, 2022, 102853, ISSN 0016-3287,
  • Lenskjold, T.*, Wilde, D.* (2022) Shitty stories: Experimenting with probiotic participation through design, in Lockton, D., Lenzi, S., Hekkert, P., Oak, A., Sádaba, J., Lloyd, P. (eds.), DRS2022: Bilbao, 25 June – 3 July, Bilbao, Spain. *Joint first authors/equal contribution.

For more see:

November 29 – Tom Djajadiningrat: Tangible interaction: how we will one day interact or how we can currently reflect?

Tom Djajadiningrat - freelance innovation and UX designer

Tangible interaction is a rather curious interaction style. It has been an important research topic in the academic design community for at least 25 years but outside of academia few people know the term. Likewise, numerous demonstrators and concepts have been developed by universities and innovation groups around the world but a commercial breakthrough has not happened yet. Regardless of whether tangible interaction will ever see widespread commercial success, I feel it has value conceptually because it questions many aspects of human-product interaction that we take for granted and thus raises awareness about the weaknesses of current interaction styles. In this talk, we will look at tangible interaction through a perceptual-motor lens: the physical world's multi-sensorial expressivity and the rich repertoire of actions it allows can make interaction more effective and enjoyable. We will take a very pragmatic approoch and look at situations in which touchscreen interaction breaks down and tangible interaction makes sense. Finally, we will have a look at the cross-over between tangible interaction and augmented reality: from a user perspective, does it matter whether physical objects have sensors inside of them or are monitored through computer vision?

Bio: Tom Djajadiningrat is a freelance innovation and UX designer ( Prior to starting his own company he worked in corporate design, focusing on physical-digital concepts for both healthcare and consumer applications. Before working in industry, he worked as assistant and associate professor in industrial, interaction and user-centred design. He holds a PhD on perception and action in desktop VR and a bachelors and masters in industrial design. He has written over 50 publications and is (co-)inventor on more than 20 patents.


Djajadiningrat, J.P., Wensveen, S.A.G., Frens, J.W., & Overbeeke, C.J. (2004).  Tangible products: Redressing the balance between appearance and action. Special Issue on Tangible Interaction of the Journal for Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 8:294-309.

Djajadiningrat, J.P., Matthews, B., Stienstra, M. (2007).  Easy doesn't do it: skill and expression in tangible aesthetics. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (11), 657-676.

Djajadiningrat, T., Lui, P., Chao, P.Y., & Richard, C. (2016).  Virtual Trainer: a low cost AR simulation of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. Conference proceedings of DIS 2016, 607-618. Brisbane, June 4-8, 2016.

December 13 – Anja Neidhardt: Disentangling Design From Oppressive Structures

Anja Neidhardt (Umeå Institute of Design & Umeå Centre for Gender Studies): Presentation and discussion of a paper in progress

In this seminar, Anja Neidhardt will present a paper that she is writing together with her supervisor Heather Wiltse. The paper emerges from Anja’s PhD research project “Disentangling Design From Oppressive Structures - Envisioning, Building, and Sustaining Alternative Design Museums”. In her overall research, she explores the role of museums in the design discipline, how they could be disentangled from discriminatory structures such as patriarchy, in order to become able to support us in leaving the trajectories that have led us to an unsustainable present and to open up more just futures. – If you like to participate, please contact, then you will also get access to the abstract and the paper in progress.

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Latest update: 2024-05-27