Text: Jens Persson, October 2018
"When I heard it was not going to be a traditional oral
presentation with a written report, I honestly got a bit scared. I
asked myself, how do I actually translate this into an exhibit?",
says Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada, who joined
UID as a PhD student in January this year.
"In the end my experience has been really helpful
for my research process as a whole, it has made me think about my
research from a different perspective. It has helped me to boil
down what is essential for me in my PhD project"
Xaviera's research revolves around designing for
sustainability. Before she ended up in Umeå she was putting her
design ideas to the test through an NGO, where she was a
co-founder, focusing on participatory design in her native Mexico.
The goal was to bring in the people, often indigenous societies,
that she was designing for to be part of the solution. However,
after a while Xaviera realized that her design processes weren't
truly inclusive but that she was instead projecting a lot of her
pre-conceived ideas about design at the outset of each
"That realization made me really uncomfortable. And that's
what led me to my current area of research which concerns feeding
participatory processes with elements from world views that aren't
primarily concerned with economic growth, in order to create a more
Take part of the exhibit of the UID PhD students' projects
The Exhibition: Expressions of PhD Research at UID
Xaviera Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada / Worlds
within the world: Co-design for Resilience
I aim to explore the possibilities of co-design as a means
to find other ways of existing and relating to the world, ones that
are more fair and balanced for instance.
My argument is that designers could learn from already
existing worldviews in order to imagine post-capitalist futures
with a wider variety of references, coming from both the global
South and North.
My starting point is inspired by the approaches of degrowth
(D'Alisa, et al., 2015) and the epistemologies of the south (Sousa,
2011). Both visions have an emancipatory purpose to transcend
current hegemonic social interactions and may work as a basis in
the search for alternative and more sustainable ways of
understanding, making and living the world, other ways of
Maria Göransdotter / Looking for/at histories of
Scandinavian user-centered design
Design history has often focused individual designers,
significant objects and styles. But what happens if we take another
perspective, and look for histories of designing instead?
Depending on where we stand today and what we look at, we
can trace other histories than the usual of how Scandinavian
user-centered design emerged. Methods and tools used to support
participation and co-creation in today's design processes - such as
mock-ups and prototypes - were introduced already in 1940s Sweden.
The aim then was to investigate, understand and reform everyday
life, in order to design a completely new kind of society.
Understanding the historical contexts in which our design
methods came about, we gain insights into assumptions, values and
norms embedded in our ways of designing.
Monica Lindh Karlsson / Conceptualization of
contemporary design doing
My research addresses collaboration in multi-disciplinary
teams in industrial design and explore ways to come together in
doing design that embrace differences and diversity.
Presented here are two kinds of games (in relation to
images) that represent, at least, two different ways of
• Collaboration structured from out-side in, participants
come together as 'what' they are and play as a means-to-an-end.
Characteristics are that players have different roles; some players
participate only in some stages of the game while others are the
•Collaboration emerging from an inside-out perspective and
participants come together as 'who' they are. Characteristics are
that players are shared accountable for inventing the path for
their game through discussions allowing for some things to stick
while things are left.
The games intend to open up shared discussion about how
underlying structures affect the way we collaborate in design and
what implications that have on ways to acknowledge e.g. differences
and diversity in design.
Nicholas Baroncelli Torretta / Anti-oppressive and
decolonial design for sustainability - learning to become
This PhD research explores anti-oppressive and decolonial
approaches to Design for Sustainability. The overarching frame is
of learning (to) design from a Gaian perspective (Lovelock 1995,
Latour 2015), asking "how do we do things together since we are
If we do not pay attention to design and its situatedness,
we may sustain structures and practices of oppression and
colonization. Seeing pedagogy as a way of being with/in and as the
world, I use critical pedagogy (Freire, 1996) and de/post-colonial
discourses (Mignolo, 2000; Escobar, 2018) as a frame to explore how
design for sustainability can support diversity and
Catharina Henje / Designing for
Designing for Diversity is the topic for my PhD
studies, and my aim is to explore various aspects to consider when
designing for inclusion.
Inclusive Design involves people, addressing
different individuals with various needs within the design process.
Inclusive design is about us designers crafting sustainable, equal,
democratic, accessible civilizations, with a view to reach the UN
Parallel names used for Inclusive Design are
Design for All and Universal Design. Maybe, in the future, we will
only need one term; good design. Yet, we will still require ways of
understanding aspects to be considered for creating an equal
society in terms of inclusion.
The aim for this exhibition is to probe how
challenging norms can be a means for broadening the perspective
when designing for inclusion.
Morteza Abdipour / Design
Design arrangement describes the quality of change when we
use digital wallpaper within domestic environments. Digital
wallpaper could be an E-paper with interactive features that can
present multimedia content on wall surfaces. Design arrangement is
a descriptive result of empirical studies of users' behaviours of
exposure to big displays in a living lab.
In my studies, experiencing of big displays reveal two types
of arrangements, tangible and imperceptible. The implications of
tangible arrangements, mainly, are seen in everyday physical spaces
and objects. Meanwhile, imperceptible arrangements draw attention
to invisible changes.
Marije De Haas / Provoking the
debate on euthanasia in dementia with design
My research addresses ethical dilemmas present in the debate
on euthanasia in dementia by creating speculative designs as
thought experiments. These thought experiments are used as a
qualitative research method to explore what options should be
considered for receiving euthanasia in dementia in conversation
with selected experts.
Presented here is a "what if a reliable early diagnosis for
dementia was possible?" scenario, leading to questions such
• What factors, other than patient autonomy, should be
considered for end-of-life decisions in dementia?
• Who should be involved in making end-of-life
Maja Frögård / Societal Fabric(ation)s
The tensions I explore are shaped through my work with
public participation in community planning processes. Trying to
understand my role as a designer in these processes of negotiation
I experienced very diverse interpretations of democracy. In
the Rule by the People zine-stand I
present understandings of democracy from political theory
related to these interpretations. Seeing democracy as ongoing
navigation between tensions I invite you to browse and
assemble your position.
Two of the tensions I materially engage with are
presented in their current state; negotiating conditions of
freedom and equality (floor) and we are in this