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Mahmoud Keshavarz


The Design
Visiting address
Kristinelundsgatan 6-8
Postal address
Box 131
40530 Göteborg

About Mahmoud Keshavarz

Mahmoud Keshavarz is a Senior Lecturer in Design Studies at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design. He holds a PhD in Interaction Design and a Readership (Docent) in Cultural Anthropology. His work focuses widely on the politics of design and the design of politics and how different material practices shape everyday perception and possibilities of (un)doing politics. His writings address a wide range of discourses such as design politics and ethics, design theory, participatory design and design anthropology. His current research particularly examines intersections between design, anthropology, border politics and the question of (de-)coloniality and addresses the violent yet imaginative capacities of materialities of (im)mobility.

Keshavarz is the author of The Design Politics of the Passport: Materiality, Immobility, and Dissent (Bloomsbury 2019), which examines the politics of (im)mobility and dissent through the artefact of passport and the act of passport forgery using ethnography. He has a co-edited volume forthcoming from Pluto Press titled “Seeing Like a Smuggler: Borders from Below”. His articles and essays have appeared in Design Issues, Borderlands, Design Philosophy Papers, Design and Culture, Journal of Modern Craft, Law Text Culture, and e-flux among others.

He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Design and Culture, and a Research Associate at Engaging Vulnerability, as well as founding member of Decolonizing Design and Critical Border Studies.

Before joining the University of Gothenburg, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Engaging Vulnerability Research Program, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Uppsala University (2017-2020). He has also organized and directed courses in design at Malmö University and Linnaeus University and in anthropology at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Parsons School of Design, The New School.

At HDK-Valand, he is responsible for integrating design studies into curriculum across three master programs in design. He co-supervises three PhD students, one at HDK-Valand and two at Uppsala University.

Current Research Projects:
Smuggling as a Technical Critique of Borders (2017-2020) – funded by Engaging Vulnerability Research Program

This is an ethnographic as well as designerly inquiry into smugglers’ tacit knowledge of borders as a particular mode of technical critique of borders.

PLACED: Accommodating refugees and asylum seekers and the spatial production of hospitality and otherness (2020-2023) – funded by Formas

The project will study how the Other is imagined through different material and visual spatial strategies that form political discourses at the nexus of accommodation and displacement. It will include studying: temporary accommodation for refugees in urban neighborhoods, emergency shelters in camps, and detention and deportation centers.