Maria Göransdotter

Maria Goeransdotter 2021

Associate professor in design history and design theory, PhD. 
Phone: +46 90 786 70 36


I am a first generation Umean, 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 also studied semiotics and aesthetics at the University of Bologna, Italy. I hold a PhD in industrial design, and have previously been a PhD student and teacher in the field of history of ideas. I began teaching at UID in the mid-1990s, first  as an external teacher and later as a part-time lecturer. I work here full time since 2008, when I stepped into the leadership group as Deputy Head of Department and Director of single subject courses. In 2013 I was appointed Head of Department, and served as Vice Rector between 2015 and 2018.

What I do at UID

I mainly contribute to design education and design research with perspectives relating to histories and theories of design. Currently, I am working together with a group of colleagues on developing a new bachelor programme in industrial design that fully integrates approaches of sustainability in content as well as in structure. 


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 UID, I mainly teach on the BFA programme, the IxD programmeIndustrial Design Intensive, and on single subject courses. 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. I also teach on a PhD course at the Faculty of Arts at Umeå University. In 2015, I was appointed 'recognized university teacher' at Umeå University. 


During 2021, I was Senior Resident Researcher at the Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, working on the project Designing Design Methods: Exploring past and present methods development to face emerging practices and unstable futures. 

I defended my PhD thesis, Transitional Design Histories, in September 2020. In my research, I explore how design history might matter more to design, and make a difference in how and why designing is done. By proposing different design histories, that take a starting point in designing rather than in designed things, I propose that these could contribute to opening up conceptual spaces for critically engaging with core concepts and methods in design.  Read more about my PhD project»

Talk to me about:

How history matters for how we see and do things today and in the future;
How different perspectives allow us to see and understand things in different ways;
Writing in relation to the design process


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