Sarah Dorkenwald practices in her practical as well as her theoretical work a critical design approach. In exchange with other disciplines she challenges common design methodologies and social conventions. By way of contemporary design positions, she proposes system-changing alternatives with regard to the handling of resources, production and distribution.
As professor for design theory and visual communication at Hochschule für Kommunikation und Gestaltung in Ulm, she is currently responsible for the research project »Together – design and communication for intercultural change« which is funded by the ministry of economics Baden-Württemberg. With an international and interdisciplinary teaching approach the programme examines new innovative teaching concepts.
Sarah completed her design education at the Offenbach University of Art and Design with a diploma in visual communication. Subsequently she worked as art director for the design magazine »form« (1999 to 2002) and for »Bruce Mau Design« (2002 to 2004) in Toronto. In 2002 she founded together with product designer Ruth Spitzer the Canadian-based design partnership »dorkenwald und spitzer«, which gained international reputation for their conceptual design projects such as »Wallfurniture« (2002 bis 2012) und »The Tallest Man« (2005), exploring mobile life styles and challenging living conventions.
As programme director at bayern design she was, among other things, responsible for the evaluation of design projects applying for state-funding. Furthermore, in the context of the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW) Sarah devised new formats (MCBW Start Up; MCBW Lectures) and curated exhibitions which examined the expanded role of design at the interface of industry, science, society and art (Off The Grid, 2016; Hit the Future_Metropolitan Design and Hit the Future_Design beyond the Border, with Alexandra Weigand, 2015 and 2014 respectively). More recently she proposed new discursive formats, which introduce critical design positions (Undesign #1 Speculative Dinner Performance, with Karianne Fogelberg, 2017) or engage with questions related to the design industry (Grantler’s Corner, with Hannes Gumpp, 2014–17).
She writes for design magazines (e.g. »form«, »Nomad«) as well as trade publications (e.g. »Kitchens by chmara.rosinke«, Hg. Maciej Chmara, Ania Rosinke, Spector Books, 2019; »Neue Allianzen für die Gestaltung der Zukunft«, Hg. Elisabeth Hartung, av edition, 2018; »Out of Office«, Hg. Simone Schimpf und Theres Rohde, Surface, 2017; »Visionen gestalten: Neue interdisziplinäre Denkweisen und Praktiken in Design, Kunst und Architektur«, Hg. Elisabeth Hartung, av edition, 2017).