Megan Strickfaden, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Contact

Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept
Email
megan.strickfaden@ualberta.ca
Address
326 Human Ecology Building
8905 - 116 St NW
EdmontonAB
T6G 2N1

Overview

Area of Study / Keywords

Creativity Design Studies Design Methods & Processes Engineering Design Human-centred Designing


About

I am a design anthropologist who focuses on complicated problem solving through design environments and products for older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities. I have carried out extensive anthropological research and fieldwork in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Canada and China but have interests in other places as well. My areas of specific concern cover, but are not confined to, unpacking challenging problems such as designing specialized systems and networks with many stakeholders. I am interested in understand human-object and human-environment relations, especially within the context of challenging social issues. 

I have taught and done research at MacEwan University (Edmonton), Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland), Edinburgh College of Art: The University of Edinburgh (Scotland), KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (USA), Auburn University (USA), Hasselt University (Belgium), Queensland University of Technology (Australia), and Donghua University (Shanghai). I hold a PhD in Design Studies, Arts & Social Sciences from Edinburgh Napier University, an Engineering Diploma in Design Research from Danmarks Tekniske Universitet and an MDes in Industrial Design from the University of Alberta. Since 2009, I have been at the department of Human Ecology and I currently hold a position as an adjunct professor in the School of Fashion & Art Design, Donghua University (Shanghai China). I have received <50 grants and awards for research, fellowship, teaching, travel, and designing. Recently I was awarded with ALES Teacher of the Year (2013, 2015), the Award of Excellence in Education, Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Government of Alberta (2016), the University of Alberta Great Supervisor Award (2018) and the University of Alberta McCalla Professorship (2020/21). 




Research

For further information about my research, publications, teaching interests, and graduate supervision opportunities please see my Website, Linkedin, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram and Research on Aging, Policies and Practice.


Teaching

HECOL 250 Design Studies and Practice

HECOL 469/569 Material Culture in Practice

HECOL 661 Perspectives on Material Culture & Design Studies

disAbility Mundus doctoral school-ALTER European Society for Disability Research (annually in the summer in various European locations) 


Current Students

Lara Pinchbeck (PhD) Designing with/for Invisible disAbilities

Jessica Kennedy (MA) Slow Fashion

Malcolm Stielow (MA) Making of Craft

Jill Thomson (MA) Documenting Urban Gardening and Neighborhoods

Alexis De Villa (MA) Deconstructing Collaborative Design Practices

Orsolya Welch (MA) Care Design


Completed Students

William Semple (PhD 2020) Decolonizing Architecture: Stories from the Canadian North-Supervised with Gavin Renwick 

Carlos Fiorentino (PhD 2020) StrC-Rich Prospect Taxonomy on Structural Design: A Tool for Research to Connect Scientific Knowledge on Nature and Biomimetic Design Innovation-Supervised with Anne Bissonnette

Hui (Tori) Ren (PhD 2020) Architectural Lifeworld: Exploring Meanings of Spatial Environments for Residents in Dementia Care-Supervised with Janet Fast

Vanessa Zembal (MA 2018) Living in a Winter City: Exploring Materiality, Design, Planning, & Governance in the Resurgence of Winter City Planning-Supervised with Kristof van Assche

Adolfo Ruiz (PhD 2018) Tracing Memories: Collaborative Research in the Tilcho Region-Supervised with Gavin Renwick

Linda Marie Johnson (MA 2018) Cultivating Home: Our Home for all Ages and Stages of Life

Sandra Tullio-Pow (PhD 2016) Mapping the Clothing Taskscape: Apparel Needs in Rehabilitation Therapy

Janice Rieger (PhD 2016) Doing Dis/ordered Mapping/s: Embodying Disability in the Museum Environment

Nicole Gaudet (MSc 2015) Dementia Care by Design

Lara Pinchbeck (MA 2014) With Disabilities, Living

Sihong Yu (MSc 2013) Design & Evaluation of Workwear for Protection Against Steam & Hot Water

Indu Sunder (MA 2013) Evaluation & Testing of Seams on Clothing Designed for the Protection against Steam Burns

Afrin Biswas (MA 2013) Characterization of Disability within the Design Process

Lesley Stafiniak (MA 2013) How Inspirational Sources are Adapted Towards Surface Designs


External Committee Member

Cliff Shin (PhD in progress) Interdependence Between Complexity and Longevity through the Lens of a Designer: Complexity is the New Simplicity, Supervised by Stan Reucker, School of Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)

Pat Siferd (PhD in progress) A Biography of Lady Charlotte Schreiber: A Fan Collector and her "collection of small rubbish", Supervised by Julia Petrov, Human Ecology, University of Alberta (Canada)

Alison A. Grittner (PhD in progress) Co-Creating Spatial Justice with Canadian Sex Workers: A Feminist Design Ethnography of Sex Workplaces in Calgary, AB-Supervised by Christine Walsh Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary (Canada)

Gnanaharsha Beligatumulle (PhD 2020) A Phenomenographic Study of Design Thinking Pedagogy in the Higher Education Context-Supervised by Janice Rieger, Queensland University of Technology (Australia)

Naureen Mumtaz (PhD 2019) Towards a Pedagogy of Intercultural Understanding: Participatory Design Research with Urban Indigenous and Newcomer Immigrant Youth-Supervised by Diane Conrad, Department of Art & Design and Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta (Canada)

Elke Ielegems (PhD 2018) Designers’ Knowledge Building in (Universal) Design Processes-Supervised by Jasmien Herssens & Jan Vanrie, Hasselt University (Belgium)

Jori De Coster (PhD 2017) Disability as an Emerging Global Identity: Challenges and Opportunities to Enable the Future-Supervised by Patrick Devlieger, KU Leuven (Belgium)

Sheila Schneider (MFA 2014) Exploring Inclusion and Accessibility: The Design Process as a User/Expert-Supervised by Kevin Reader & Deana McDonagh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)


Courses

HECOL 250 - Design Studies and Practices

Explores the production of designed things as material culture from a human ecological perspective. Theories and practices of object production focus on design processes including visualization, communication, inspiration/influence, and interface in the context of two-and three-dimensional design. Students learn theories during lectures and apply these in hands-on design projects in the studio.

Fall Term 2022 Fall Term 2022 Fall Term 2022

HECOL 469 - Material Culture in Practice

Explores how human ecological and material culture approaches contribute to the analysis of a range of contemporary issues in design practice. Prerequisite: *60

Winter Term 2023

HECOL 569 - Material Culture in Practice

Explores how human ecological and material culture approaches contribute to the analysis of a range of contemporary issues in design practice. Not to be taken if credit received for HECOL 469.

Winter Term 2023

HECOL 661 - Perspectives on Material Culture and Design Studies

A critical analysis of specific issues, theories, and perspectives that influence material culture and design studies, as fields of research and practice. This course looks into designed things, from clothing to urban environments, and is focused on supporting students as they explore issues and develop theories connected to their research.

Winter Term 2023

Browse more courses taught by Megan Strickfaden

Scholarly Activities

Research - Brain Games - Illustrated Film (2018)

Co-created inter-generationally with residents living at Copper Sky, researched by Dr. Strickfaden and her team at the University of Alberta, and funded by AGE-WELL, this film shows four techniques using household objects to help people rehabilitate from a stroke.

Brain Games

Research - Dementia Care by Design - Ethnographic Film (2015)

This 33 minute film documents de Hogweyk village in Weesp, the Netherlands. It is directed and produced by Nicole Gaudet and Megan Strickfaden. Should you wish to view the complete film please contact me.

Dementia Care by Design

Research - Farm in the City - Illustrated Film (2018)

Co-created inter-generationally with residents living at the Ashbourne, researched by Dr. Strickfaden and her team at the University of Alberta, and funded by AGE-WELL, this film shows the power of individual history for people with moderate dementia.

Farm in the City

Research - Light in the Borderlands - Ethnographic Film (2012)

This short film is filmed by three people who are legally blind. It highlights urban interior spaces showing various perspectives on what it's like to be blind. Directed and produced by Adolfo Ruiz and Megan Strickfaden.

Light in the Borderlands

Research - Musical Notes - Illustrated Film (2018)

Co-created inter-generationally with residents living at Copper Sky, researched by Dr. Strickfaden and her team at the University of Alberta, and funded by AGE-WELL, this film shows the power of music for people with profound dementia.

Musical Notes

Research - Reader's Hoard - Illustrated Film (2018)

Co-created inter-generationally with residents living at the Ashbourne, researched by Dr. Strickfaden and her team at the University of Alberta, and funded by AGE-WELL, this film shows the challenges of life transitions and how having access to the right resources makes all the difference.

Reader's Hoard

Research - The Necklace - Illustrated Film (2018)

Co-created inter-generationally with residents living at the Ashbourne, researched by Dr. Strickfaden and her team at the University of Alberta, and funded by AGE-WELL, this film shows how objects act as mediative devices and can help people with socialization.

The Necklace

Publications

From Industrial Design Education to Practice: Creating Discipline Through Design Sprints.

Author(s): Thomas, J. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: In Chung, W. & Shin, C.S. (Eds) AHFE 2018, AISC 790, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019_
Page Numbers: 111-121
External Link: https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/from-industrial-design-education-to-practice-creating-discipline/15889852

Evaluating a Proposed Design for All (DfA) Manual for Architecture.

Author(s): Mosca, E., Herssens, J., Rebecchi, A., Strickfaden, M. & Capolongo, S.
Publication Date: 2019
Publication: In Di Bucchianico, G. (Ed): AHFE 2018, AISC 776, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019_
Page Numbers: 54-64
External Link: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-94622-1_6

Caring by Design: Innovating Living Spaces for Persons with Dementia.

Author(s): Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Design Community, Special Issue on Rehabilitation and Aging Environments in Western Canada.
Volume: 086
Issue: 04
Page Numbers: 46-71

Improving Design Understanding of Inclusivity in Autonomous Vehicles: A Driver and Passenger Taskscape Approach

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Langdon, P.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: In Langdon, P., Lazar, J., Heylighen, A. & Dong, H. (Eds) Breaking down barriers: Usability, Accessibility and Inclusive Design.
Volume: Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
Page Numbers: 181-194
External Link: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319750279

The Active Role of Material Things: An Environment-based Conceptual Framework to Understand the Well-being of People with Dementia

Author(s): Ren, H. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Open Journal of Social Sciences
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: 11-23
External Link: https://www.researchgate.net/journal/2327-5952_Open_Journal_of_Social_Sciences

In Focus: Blind Photographers Challenge Visual Expectations

Author(s): Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: In Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society. Garant Publishers. Antwerpen Belgium
Page Numbers: 149-163

What we Learned in Design School and Other Messages from Two Seasoned Professionals

Author(s): Thomas, J. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Innovation: Quarterly of the Industrial Designers Society of America. Special Edition on Women in Design-Friction, Pioneers, Swainson.
Volume: Spring
Page Numbers: 46-49

Light in the Borderlands: A Film Created by Three Legally Blind Urban Explorers

Author(s): Ruiz, A. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: In Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society. Garant Publishers. Antwerpen Belgium.
Page Numbers: 317-387

Taken for Granted: Material Relations between Disability and Codes/Guidelines.

Author(s): Rieger, J. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Societies
Volume: 6
Page Numbers: 1-13
External Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/6/1/6

Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society

Author(s): Devlieger, P., Miranda-Galarza, B., Brown, S. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Garant Publishers. Antwerpen, Belgium.
Page Numbers: 1-513

Transmodern, Transhuman and Posthuman Explorations

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Brown, S.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: In Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society. Garant Publishers. Antwerpen Belgium
Page Numbers: 383-387

Spatial Explorations and Digital Traces: Experiences of Legal Blindness through Filmmaking

Author(s): Ruiz, A. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Societies
Volume: 5
Page Numbers: 1-19
External Link: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/6/1/2

Inspired & Inspiring Textile Designers: Understanding Creativity through Influence & Inspiration

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., Stafiniak, L. & Terzin, T.
Publication Date: 2015
Publication: Clothing & Textiles Research Journal, Special Edition on Creativity and Design Process.
Volume: 33
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 213-228
External Link: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0887302X15578263

Interview Tomislav Terzin & Megan Strickfaden

Author(s): Terzin, T. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Zygote Quarterly issue 10 (ZQ10)
Volume: 3
Page Numbers: 104-119
External Link: http://zqjournal.org/?p=309

On the quest for better communication through tactile images.

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Vildieu, A.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Journal of Aesthetic Education (JAE).
Volume: 48
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 105-122
External Link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/jaesteduc.48.2.0105?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Human traces in urban spaces

Author(s): Titley, W., MacDonald, J., & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design
Volume: 6
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 19-31
External Link: https://www.napier.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/research-search/outputs/human-traces-in-urban-places

Reversing the (im)material sense of a non-place: The impact of blindness on the Brussels metro

Author(s): Devlieger, P., & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Space and Culture
Volume: 15
Page Numbers: 224 - 238
External Link: http://sac.sagepub.com/content/15/3/224.abstract

{Im}materiality: Designing for More Sense/s.

Author(s): Heylighen, A. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Space and Culture
Volume: 15
Page Numbers: 180-185
External Link: http://sac.sagepub.com/content/15/3/180.abstract

Empathy through accumulating techné: Designing an accessible metro

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., & Devlieger, P.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: The Design Journal. Special Edition on ‘Design Empathy'
Volume: 14
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 207-229

Empathic design research: Moving towards a new mode of industrial design education

Author(s): McDonagh, D., Thomas, J., & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Design Principles and Practices: An International Design Journal.
Volume: 5
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 301-314

Cultural capital: A thesaurus for teaching design

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., & Heylighen A.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: International Journal of Art & Design Education (iJade)
Volume: 29
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 121-133
External Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-8070.2010.01653.x/abstract

Scrutinising design educators’ perceptions of design process

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Heylighen A.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing (AIEDAM)
Volume: 24
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 357-366
External Link: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7833157

Building empathy through dialogue

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., Devlieger, P. & Heylighen, A.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Design Connexity
Page Numbers: 448-452

Design expertise as disability and vice versa

Author(s): Heylighen, A., Devlieger, P. & Strickfaden, M.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Communicating (by) Design
Page Numbers: 227-235

Architects and visually impaired people: Analysing two ways of talking

Author(s): Vermeersch, P.W., Strickfaden, M., Herssens, J. & Heylighen, A.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: DS 58-10: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design
Volume: 10
Issue: Design Education and Lifelong Learning

Untangling the culture medium in design students

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., Heylighen, A., Rodgers, P., & Neuckermans, H.
Publication Date: 2006
Publication: CoDesign
Volume: 2
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 97-107
External Link: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a746002861

Physical demands analysis of occupational tasks in neighborhood pubs

Author(s): Jones, T., Strickfaden, M., & Kumar, S.
Publication Date: 2005
Publication: Applied Ergonomics
Volume: 36
Issue: 5
Page Numbers: 535-545
External Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?

The ‘culture medium’ in design education

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., Heylighen, A., Rodgers, P., & Neuckermans, H.
Publication Date: 2005
Publication: Crossing Design Boundaries
Page Numbers: 69-53

Scripting—personal narratives in the designing of artefacts

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Rodgers, P.
Publication Date: 2004
Publication: The Design Journal,
Volume: 7
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 3-15

Questioning communication in tactile representation

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., & Vildieu, M.
Publication: Include
External Link: http://include11.kinetixevents.co.uk/4dcgi/prog?operation=detail&paper_id=417

Establishing thermal comfort: Characterization of selected performance and physical properties of fabrics used in hospital operating room uniforms

Author(s): Xu, Y., McQueen, R., Strickfaden, M., Aslund, A., & Batcheller, J.
Publication: The Journal of the Textile Institute
External Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00405000.2011.602229

The Brussels metro: Accessibility through co-creation

Author(s): Strickfaden, M., & Devlieger, P.
Publication: Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness

Who are they? Student voices about the ‘other’

Author(s): Strickfaden, M. & Heylighen, A.
Publication: Include
External Link: http://include09.kinetixevents.co.uk/4dcgi/prog?operation=author&id=117