Johan Redström

BW Johan RedströmProfessor, Rector
Phone: +46 90 786 76 89
Mobile: +46 72 513 61 90

Johan Redström, Rector, joined UID as professor of design in 2012, and has been responsible for the PhD programme and research direction at UID.


Coming into design was for me initially the result of a collision: on one side music, on the other philosophy. After studies in both areas (and some more), I ended up as a PhD student in philosophy but in parallel still experimenting with interactive and electronic music. But then I was recruited to a new research group working with applied research on art and technology (Göteborg University). This work, basically what we now call interaction design, for me turned out to be a perfect combination of projects together with industrial partners, design experimentation and practice-based research, and in 2001 I defended my PhD thesis called 'Designing Everyday Computational Things'. Since then I have primarily been doing and directing design research at the Interactive Institute, I've been adjunct professor at the School of Textiles at the University of Borås, Sweden, and associate research professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Denmark.

What I do at UID

As rector I hold the overall responsibility for the school and the subject we teach. In the context of the rector group that lead and manage the school, my primary areas of work are related to subject and strategic development. As professor in design, I also teach and do research (see below).


Since I joined UID, most of my teaching as been at PhD level. Developing a new curriculum for the PhD programme, I developed a set of basic courses in design research that I also have been teaching. Among the areas are research methodology in artistic and practice-based design research, philosophy and design, and most recently a course on design history. I also supervise PhD students (currently 8).


In general, my research has been centred on experimental and critical design practices, and on theory development in the context of practice-based research. I'm interested in prototyping new design practices as a response to post-industrial conditions and contemporary challenges such as sustainable development. Over time, I have also learned that prototyping new 'practices' in this sense (unlike doing design projects) require a lot of work on the artistic and conceptual foundations of design. For instance, what does 'form' actually refer to when we're talking about acts and processes rather than shape and object? Intuitively, we may know that basic notions such as form and material are as important as ever, but how do we understand and articulate what they has now become? Asking such basic, almost philosophical, questions in the context of practice I find most interesting.


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