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 – 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).

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

Anja Neidhardt-Mokoena, PhD student at UID and Umeå Centre for Gender Studies, presents her PhD thesis manuscript.

Discussant: Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, AHO, Oslo.

November 14 – Seminar with Ayşegül Özçelik

Ayşegül Özçelik, visiting PhD student at UID and Ph.D. fellow at Aalborg University, presents work-in progress related to her Ph.D. thesis, on the topic of possibilities for designing longer-lasting connected products.

November 28 – Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada: Unlearning design  

Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada, UID PhD student, presents a draft text towards her 50% seminar.

December 12 – Seminar with Sergio Bravo Josephson

Sergio Bravo Josephson, UID PhD student, presents a draft text.


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.

Research seminar archive

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Latest update: 2023-09-18