Subject development at Umeå Institute of Design
encompasses traditions building on artistic development work,
professional design practices, and design research.
Our research addresses current and emerging practices in design,
from perspectives of programmatic and practice-based design
research. The primary objective of our research is to develop
design as a discipline by extending its existing
practices and forming its future foundations.
We aim to be at the forefront of addressing how design -
its ethics and aesthetics, poetics and politics - can evolve
to meet changes and challenges in our social, technical
and ecological contexts.
We believe that critical and inclusive perspectives are
necessary as we engage in research on what could become
through making and design experimentation that
can give material form to imaginative,
hopeful speculations on diverse design futures.
The research at Umeå Institute of Design is
thematically open with respect to the issues and
areas of industrial design we engage
with. Considering contemporary and
historical trajectories of design research,
however, some particularly interesting and urgent
challenges can be mentioned. These include explorations
- how to
transition social practices to more socially and
ecologically sustainable futures through
- how to design and care
for posthuman futures in a sociotechnical landscape now
marked by pronounced breakdowns in traditional relations
of production and consumption, where 'use' of things now
entails production of data about everyday life that goes on to
generate economic value for other actors
in massively interconnected and dynamic networks; and
- how to craft the increasing
and evolving presence of artificial intelligence and
agency in everyday life.
We are not so much interested in technological or interactive
possibilities for their own sake, but rather in how they come to
matter - literally and figuratively. This includes the
socioeconomic contexts that enable and shape professional design
practices and products, as well as the social and political
contexts of design action and its consequences.
In everything we do at UID - including our research - we seek to
put people first, to collaborate with diverse stakeholders and
forms of expertise, and to actively engage in ways that make a