Maria Göransdotter

BW Maria Göransdotter

Lecturer in design history, PhD student.
Phone: +46 90 786 70 36


We are not many at UID who are actually from Umeå, but I am one of them. I was born here, 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 have been a PhD student and teacher in the field of history of ideas, and started teaching at UID in 1995, 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 with perspectives from the history and theory of design, and am currently working on my PhD thesis as one of UID's PhD students. 


My main areas of teaching are design history and theory. My focus is on ideas and practices in 19th and 20th (and 21st) century design. I have taught design history and theory on the BFA programme and Industrial Design Intensive, and on single subject courses,  and academic writing on our BFA and MFA programmes. I have worked with UPL at Umeå University in setting up course sections with gender perspective in pedagogical courses for university teachers, 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.


The theme for my ongoing dissertation work is about exploring how design history might matter more to design. By proposing other kinds of design histories, that take a starting point in designing, 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:
- design studies
- design history
- history of technology
- history of ideas

How different perspectives allow us to see and understand things in different ways:
- gender perspectives
- design theory
- cultural and visual studies

Writing in relation to the design process
- reflective writing
- writing reports
- different ways of writing



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