Margarita Köhl

Systemic Design Researcher and Creator

Systemic Design Researcher and Creator

Systemic Design Researcher and Creator

Design in Thought and Pratice

Design in Thought and Pratice

Design in Thought and Pratice

 The most difficult thing is to write something about yourself although I love to explore language(s), which open a window into different ways of thinking and perceiving the environment. “Hōkō onchi” is my favourite Japanese expression which can be translated as directionally tone-deaf but has no exact equivalent in other languages. It is often used as a term to describe a person who does not have a good sense of direction. For me, this (basically) mobility-related category also emphasizes the importance of orientation in a complex and increasingly data-driven world. As a strategic thinker, design researcher, curator and science journalist, I am passionate about finding pathways to exploring future challenge areas transgressing boundaries between disciplines and methods, digging deeper, exploring the cultural patterns of communities, developing planet-centric solutions for wicked problems, creating impactful experiences and finding strategical pathways to sustainable change. 

Focus Areas


Have you ever wondered what really is the problem? 

Defining the problem is the starting point of every design process. Compiling bits and pieces of information builds the basis for in depth-analysis. Applying a broad spectrum of methods to analyse diverse data material (text, image, sound and video), I help you to uncover missing links, generate insights and develop sustainable design strategies. 


Have you ever wondered how to create an atmosphere that encourages participation? 

 Developing truly participatory design concepts necessitates linking up the views of many different stakeholders, communities and experts. Therefore I collaborate with artist collectives, cultural institutions as well as other  academics. Speculative design, future thinking and design fiction enables us to create shared visions for a sustainable implementation of change. 


Have you ever wondered what digitalization  means for your intitative? 

As a digital advisor I am specialized in future technology design and assessment. My core competence is to exploit the potentials of digital technologies to enrich cultural education and communication as well as to evaluate and optimize existing strategies create compelling knowledge transfer  experiences. 




My journey has taken me to intruiging places and fields of studies. I have started it at the University of Vienna, where I gained my Master’s degree in Communication Studies, Japanese Studies and Art History. During my undergraduate studies, I spent one year in Japan as a joint study scholar. Fascinated by Japanese everyday culture, arts and the fascination with technology and play I developed an interest in the interrelationship between science, technology and society. This was also the starting point for my activity in the fields of transdisciplinary research, arts and cultural management and curatorship. It was the time when I realized that scientific investigation was a means to uncover inequalities and imbalances in society and that design can be a tool for inciting transformation. Asia had me under its spell for the next couple of years, where I worked as a researcher and lecturer at Silpakorn University, Thailand, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan and Dokkyo Daigaku, Japan. Parallely, I was also working as a radio journalist for Ö1/ ORF in the field of science and technology. I gained a PhD in Communication Studies (University of Vienna) and and Master of Advanced Studies in Arts & Cultural Management. My research is situated at the intersection of design, science and technology studies with a focus on affective and emotional aspects of technology appropriation and critical design. Currently, I am head of the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, Austria.