PhD in industrial design with focus on emerging practices and gender studies

We are searching for a PhD student in industrial design with focus on emerging practices and gender studies, to join us at the Umeå Institute of Design. This is a joint PhD position with Umeå Centre for Gender Studies that is time-limited; 4 years full time, in practice 5 years since it includes 20% teaching. Last day to apply is 2019-03-04.

Umeå Institute of Design is a department within the Faculty of Science and Technology at Umeå University, and part of the Umeå Arts Campus. We conduct education and research in the subject of Industrial Design. The primary objective of our research is to develop the design discipline by extending its existing practices and forming its future foundations. We aim to be at the forefront of addressing how design can, and needs to, evolve in response to changes in its social, technical and ecological contexts. The Graduate School of gender studies has since 2001 co-financed PhD students at all of Umeå University's faculties. A PhD student at the Graduate School of gender studies will take part in a unique and dynamic research environment, in which about 30 PhD students are participating in.

About the employment

We are now looking for a PhD student to join us in this inquiry, integrating perspectives of (post)industrial design and gender studies. A number of concerns for industrial design connect to those of gender studies, particularly around issues of politics and power that are implicated in the flows of resources and influences of which industrial design is a part. These range from established designer / client / stakeholder relations to matters of participation in collaborative design processes. There are also many connections between the concerns of gender studies and design research around methodological issues of alternative and feminist forms of knowledge production from particular located standpoints and concern for everyday life, in all its diversity. This includes attention to (gender-inflected) social practices which must now be transitioned to more socially and ecologically sustainable futures. Other emerging matters of concern regard questions of 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.

With this position we aim to strengthen a critical dimension in teaching in the Bachelor's and Master's programmes, and thus part of this position is also dedicated to participating in teaching in our programmes and courses at UID. We believe that critical and gender perspectives are necessary components in the development of the conceptual foundations and future practices of industrial design. This PhD position is a key part of our ongoing efforts to contribute to furthering the development of such critical and inclusive perspectives.


General requirements: To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level the applicant is required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at an advanced level (Master's level), or have an equivalent education from another country, or equivalent qualifications. In addition to these general requirements, the successful candidate must have completed 90 ECTS within the subject of design, and of those 30 ECTS are at an advanced level (Master's level). Excellent communication skills, and fluency in written and spoken English is a requirement.

Type of position and salary

The position as a PhD student is a four-year full time employment, which may require teaching or other departmental work up to 20%. That will lengthen the overall duration of the position up to five years. Salary level will occur according to a stipulated scale for PhD students at Umeå University. The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD program and employed at Umeå Institute of Design, and will also be enrolled in the Graduate School of Gender studies at Umeå Centre for Gender studies together with PhD students from other disciplines. 


Application shall be made through the e-recruitment system at Umeå University latest March 4 2019, and must include: 

  1. A cover letter that states your personal motivation for the PhD position
  2. Your Curriculum Vitae
  3. Transcripts of records or degree certificates
  4. A research sketch outlining a proposed theme for your research, including its connection to design research with an integrated gender perspective
  5. Names and contact details (telephone and email) of at least two suitably qualified persons willing to act as referee on your behalf
  6. Your master thesis
  7. Other publications
  8. Any other documents supporting your competence and suitability for the position


The position is scheduled to start September 1, 2019. For further information about the PhD position and Umeå Institute of Design, contact Director of PhD Studies at Umeå Institute of Design, Brendon Clark, +46 90-786 63 54,  

For information about the Graduate School of Gender studies, click here. For further information, contact Director of Studies Annelie Bränström-Öhman,, +46-90-786 56 46.

The recruitment procedure will follow the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen).