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Worldmaking and aesthetic expertise in design work

The Business and Design Lab seminar series continues. On February 26, we will discuss aesthetic expertise and design work with Ulises Navarro and Anna Rylander Eklund.

Title: Worldmaking and aesthetic expertise in design work

Date: 26 February 2020
Time: 10.30-12.00 followed by lunch
Place: Room 332 (close to the elevator, at the left of the stairs at the main entrance)
Address: Kristinelundsgatan 6-8, Gothenburg
Presenters: Ulises Navarro Aguiar, postdoc in Business and Design, HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg, and Anna Rylander Eklund, researcher at Gothenburg Research Institute, University of Gothenburg.


On February 26, we have the pleasure to welcome Ulises Navarro Aguiar, our new postdoc in Business and Design and former DESMA doctoral student, and Anna Rylander, researcher at the Gothenburg Research Institute and affiliated with the Business and Design Lab, to share some of their longstanding work in Design Management. This paper, co-authored with Ariana Amacker, is part of their recent project entitled “Organizing design and designing organizations for change”, led by Anna Rylander and financed by Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Foundation. Their research aims at investigating how designers’ aesthetic expertise contributes to creativity, learning and change and which organizational conditions make it possible to integrate this expertise and realize organizational change.


Previous research on design work in the field of organization studies has identified the ‘aesthetic’ and especially ‘aesthetic knowledge’ as central to the expertise of designers. Yet, ’aesthetic’ remains poorly defined, if at all. While acknowledging the critical role of aesthetic knowledge, most studies in this vein are conducted from a ’management perspective’ with its ensuing vocabularies and conceptual commitments. We argue that without an aesthetically informed theory specific to design work and grounded in the tradition of the arts, the role of aesthetics is bound to be poorly theorized and the aesthetic contribution of professional designers misunderstood. In this paper we present a theoretical framework for analysing designers’ aesthetic expertise based on John Dewey’s theories on art as experience and literature on the epistemological traditions in arts-based design education. A case study of a design studio shows how such aestehtic expertise is cultivated in professional practice, and the challenges this poses for traditional organizational practices as well as theories on aesthetic knowledge in organization studies.

Read more about the project

Page Manager: Carina Krantz|Last update: 2/14/2020

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