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First permanent professorship in Design Management in Scandinavia

News: Oct 19, 2009

Ulla Johansson, docent and director of the Business & Design Lab at the University of Gothenburg, has been appointed to the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Professorship in Design Management, the first of its kind in Scandinavia. She will begin her position at HDK – School of Design and Crafts on 1 December 2009.

- It feels great to be able to work towards the long-term goal of building a team of researchers who are closely linked to the international frontier and our School and who are able to contribute to the regional development towards a sustainable society. One reason the latter is so important is that we need ’positive experimentation’ where we can reflect over how design may influence the development towards increased growth and sustainability at the same time,’ says Johansson.

Ulla Johansson is a docent in business administration and director of the Business & Design Lab at the University of Gothenburg. Her thesis focused on responsibility, organisational change, symbolism and social construction. She has worked as a researcher at Lund University, taught courses in Malmoe, Halmstad and Warszaw, worked as a guest researcher in Michigan and has held several board assignments in the research community. Over the last 15 years, Johansson has received 24 research grants worth more than 13 million SEK (1.2 million EUR) in total from various foundations and funds.

Johansson is interested in feminist perspectives of interpretation, and has for example published an article in Gender, work & organization and authored a section of the Swedish Kvinnomaktutredningen 1998 (government commission report on women’s power in society). She has conducted research on irony and organisational theory and has, together with Jill Woodilla from USA, published a number of papers on this topic. Johansson has a background in both architecture and business administration, but has since the beginning of the millennium focused on design management.

- We are very proud and happy to present Ulla Johansson as the holder of the Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Professorship in Design Management. This further strengthens our cooperation,’ says Anna Lindal and Rolf Wolff, Deans of the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts and the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, respectively.

University of Gothenburg’s great academic diversity provides ample opportunities to cooperate across faculty and subject borders. HDK – School of Design and Crafts and the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg are currently cooperating in several ways: the Business & Design Lab is a shared meeting point for research and aims to stimulate innovative approach and business development, and the masters programme in Business & Design was launched in the autumn of 2009. These cooperative efforts are built upon active collaboration with the business sector and the design industry.

The Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Professorship in Design Management is another important step in the cooperation. The professorship is funded by a 40 million SEK (3.8 million EUR) donation from the Torsten Söderberg Foundation to HDK. The purpose of the donation is to enable HDK, in collaboration with the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, to develop research and knowledge in an area that borders both design and economics. The research shall focus on critical studies and development of the value-creating, innovative and artistic potential of the design processes when creating new products, systems, environments and services.
 

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