Sarah Dorkenwald
designer and curator

Sarah Dorkenwald works as conceptual designer and interdisciplinary researcher, curator and author. Currently she is professor for design theory at HfK+G, Hochschule für Kommunikation und Gestaltung in Ulm. Sarah completed her design education at the Offenbach University of Art and Design with a diploma in visual communications. Subsequently she worked as creative director for the design magazine form and for Bruce Mau Design in Toronto. In 2002 she founded together with Ruth Spitzer the Canadian-based design partnership dorkenwald und spitzer, which gained international reputation for their conceptual design projects exploring the shifting boundaries between art and design.

From 2012 to 16 Sarah worked as programme director at bayern design where 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) organized by bayern design, 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 Speculative Dinner Performance, with Karianne Fogelberg, 2017) or engage with questions related to the design industry (Grantler’s Corner, with Hannes Gumpp, 2014–17). In both her practical as well as her theoretical work, Sarah critically examines conventional approaches and, by way of contemporary design positions, proposes system-changing alternatives with regard to the handling of resources, production and distribution. One of her focal points is questioning subversive or rather system-changing forces of design through speculative approaches. In order to pursue this interest further, she co-founded UnDesignUnit in 2018.

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