Design as Somatic Expertise: The User’s Body and Well-Being in Design Today

    Project: Private Foundations

    Project Details


    Today, designed products – from smart phones to medical devices – track and attempt to transform users’ bodily processes, affective states and habits. Design processes of products – from lighting to toys – concentrate their efforts in capitalizing on their users’ gestures, skills and well-being. This project investigates and establishes that an outstanding characteristic of design in the 21st century is that designers have increasingly posed themselves as “somatic experts;” i.e., as professionals concerned with the bodily well-being of their users. By using the concept of “somatic expertise,” the research documents and theorizes the novel approaches towards users in design within their societal context: the neoliberal drives for marketisation and consumer responsibilisation as well as the technological changes that have facilitated their extensive application. Accordingly, the project will take a critical position towards the ways design makes use of, moralises, commoditises and shapes users’ bodies.

    This project is funded by Carlsberg Foundation Young Researcher Fellowship
    Short titleDesign as Somatic Expertise
    Effective start/end date01/09/202231/08/2025


    • design
    • users
    • well-being
    • bodies


    Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.