About the Board

The Board of International Research in Design sees itself as a forum for adressing and publishing a broad range of approaches for design research. 

BIRD believes that highly qualified design research is important for design in all its complexity and for social, cultural, economic and scientific developments in our societies.

The BIRD series is published by Birkhäuser, an imprint that has made a name for itself not only in the areas of architecture and design, but also as an excellent distribution partner of the independent De Gruyter academic publishing house.

BIRD proposes design research-related projects and papers/books for publication and assists authors throughout the process.

BIRD is constantly looking for excellent presentations of important design research projects and studies.


You would like to publish your manuscript within the BIRD series? 
Please send a short exposé, a synopsis and, if possible, at least one sample chapter by e-mail to info@bird-international-research-in-design.org.

Prof. Dr. Uta Brandes

1995-2015 tenure professor for Gender Design and Design Research at the Koeln International School of Design, Technical University Cologne – the first ever chair dedicated to gender issues in design; author and editor of numerous publications; frequent lecturer and guest professor at universities in Germany, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Australia and the USA.

Uta Brandes is co-founder of the “German Association for Design Theory and Design History” and co-founder and chair of the „international Gender Design Network / iGDN“.

photo credit: Nele Martensen

Prof. Dr. Tom Bieling

Prof. Dr. Tom Bieling (Vertr.) teaches Designtheory and Designresearch at Zentrum für Designforschung (HAW Hamburg), and Designwissenschaft at HAWK Hildesheim. Visiting professorships at the University of Trento and GUC Cairo. Head of Social Design at Design Research Lab / Berlin University of the Arts (2010–19), previously at T-Labs / TU Berlin (2007–10). Chief Editor at Designforschung.org since 2008, co-editor of the book series Design Meanings (Mimesis), founding member of the Design Research Network. Elected Young Innovator of the Year by the Falling Walls consortium. Recent books: “Design (&) Activism” (2019), “Inklusion als Entwurf” (2019), “Gender (&) Design” (2020). www.tombieling.com

Prof. Dr. Michelle Christensen

Michelle Christensen is a sociologist and designer, exploring the spaces in between these realms. Currently, she heads a research group on Critical Making at the Berlin University of the Arts / Weizenbaum Institute together with Florian Conradi, as well as teaching as a visiting professor for Open Science / Critical Culture at the Technische Universität Berlin in the context of the Einstein Center Digital Future. She wrote her Ph.D. in the field of design research at the UdK Berlin, prior to which she studied political sociology at Roskilde University (B.A.), conflict studies at Utrecht University (M.A.), gender studies at the University of Amsterdam (M.Sc.), and integrated design at the KISD in Cologne (M.A.). Her research, teaching and experimental design practice focuses on decolonial, feminist/queer and post-anthropocentric approaches to critical making and free/open technologies.  

Dr. phil. Sandra Groll

Sandra Groll is a design researcher and system theorist. From 2016 to 2018, she was visiting professor for Theory and Practice of Design at the University of Arts Kassel / University Kassel. She wrote her Ph.D. on a system theoretical consideration about the role of contemporary design in society. Since 2010 she had taught design theory, design research and humanities at different universities such as the Universities of Applied Science in Potsdam and Bielefeld, University of Art Bremen, Free University Bolzano, Brand University, and Zhejiang Wanli University Ningbo. Sandra studied product design, philosophy and aesthetics at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. Since 2021 she is an ambassador and member of the jury for the German Design Graduates Award.


Dr. Ralf Michel

Dr. Ralf Michel, dipl. Designer (*1964) leitet interimistisch das Masterstudio Design der HGK Basel, lehrt dort Designforschung und mentoriert Abschlussarbeiten im MA Design. Er hat mehrere Jahre an der Hochschule St. Gallen im MA Business Innovation als Lehrbeauftragter unterrichtet und hält Vorträge an anderen Design Hochschulen in Europa. Ralf Michel ist Designer, Kurator und Publizist mit einem Atelier in Zürich. Als Lichtexperte präsidiert er mit dem Prix Lumiére den Schweizer Preis für Lichtgestaltung.  Er studierte an der Köln International School of Design und absolvierte davor Ausbildungen im pädagogischen und sozialpsychiatrischen Kontext. In der Schweiz war er über mehrere Jahre Redaktor der Design- und Architekturzeitschrift Hochparterre. Er hat als Experte das Bundesamt für Kultur in der Revision der schweizerischen Designförderung beraten und zehn Jahre an der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste gelehrt und geforscht, bevor er 2011 an die HGK Basel wechselte. Michel wurde 2002 der Aufbau des Nationalen Kompetenznetz Design der Fachhochschulen (Swiss Design Network) anvertraut, das er bis 2008 als dessen Geschäftsführer leitete. Er initiierte den Aufbau des Board of International Research in Design, BIRD, des Birkhäuser De Gruyter Verlags, dem er bis heute als Mitglied des Herausgeberrats angehört. Die Gründung der Swiss Design Association initiierte er mit und prägte den Aufbau des Designverbandes als Mitglied im Vorstand bis 2005 mit. Ralf Michel ist Gründungsmitglied der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Designtheorie und Forschung, DGTF. Er hat die Publikationsreihe ‘Schriften zur Gestaltung’ initiiert und legt sie als alleiniger Herausgeber auf. Ralf Michel ist mit seinen Forschungen zur Interaktion mit Licht und Farbe und zur Gestaltung mit Licht mehrfach zum Design Preis Schweiz nominiert worden und wurde 2011 in der Kategorie Design Research ausgezeichnet.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jonas

Jonas holds a PhD in Naval Architecture and the lecture qualification (Habilitation) for Design Theory. He was professor for Process Design in Halle, for Design Theory in Bremen, for System Design in Kassel and, until his retirement in 2019, for Designwissenschaft at Braunschweig University of Art, where he was head of the Institute for Design Research and initiated the MA in Transformation Design. His working areas are systems thinking and methodology, futures studies and scenario approaches and the development of the concept Research through Design.


Marc Pfaff

Marc Pfaff is a researcher and lecturer in the fields of design theory, media and cultural studies and currently a PhD candidate in Art and Media Theory at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM). His doctoral research deals with the theory and history of designing (Ger. »Entwerfen«) as a both ancient and modern cultural technique from a media theoretical perspective. His other research interests include socio-economic and cultural aspects of digitalization, modern experiences of space and the phenomenology and semiotics of the image. He studied Design at Köln International School of Design and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.