Zentrum für Graduiertenstudien

Frau Gwendolyn Kulick

Industrial Design



Gwendolyn Kulick is a PhD candidate at the School of Design and Art, Wuppertal University, supervised by Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf since 2011. From 2004 to 2015 she headed the Department of Visual Communication Design at the School of Visual Arts and Design, Beaconhouse National University. She taught design history (with a focus on international and South Asian perspectives), theory and strategy.
After her return to Berlin she taught culture theory at the German University Cairo, Berlin Campus. In 2012, 2013 and 2015 she conducted workshops at the Sustainable Summer School, a network of European design institutions, including Wuppertal University, and sustainability think tanks, including the Wuppertal Institute. Between 1995 and 2000 she studied product and process design at the University of the Arts in Berlin and graduated as Diplom Designer and upon graduation worked at the design department of the software company ICM in Hamburg.

Titel und Abstract des Dissertationsprojektes

In my PhD research with the title ‘Craft for Income Collaborations in Pakistan: Transitions from Aid Projects Towards Sustainable Business Models’ I investigate craft projects that are initiated with the objective to establish income opportunities for marginalized craft producers. The focus lies on home-based women workers with embroidery skills in disadvantages circumstances like villages disconnected from markets and infrastructures or slum areas.

The research process is a combination of action research, grounded theory and systems thinking. Around ten projects in Pakistan and four in India were investigated through interviews, field visits and focus groups, including large internationally funded income schemes, private initiatives and social enterprises. One project I initiated myself. I termed this overall field Craft for Income Collaborations (CFIC), and am interested in strategies applied in the transition process from aid projects to sustainable craft businesses. Since it is rare that self-sustaining value chains are established my research is guided by the question what design can contribute to these transition processes.



  • 2014: Symposium ’Design promoviert’ at Wuppertal University, Wuppertal, Germany
  • 2015: Doctoral Consortium at the conference NORDES, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2016: Presentations at Information Technology University’s makerspace Make-i-stan and at Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design, Lahore, Pakistan


  • Between Tradition and Westernization: Indian and Pakistani Perspectives, in The History of Sustainable Design), VAS Publishers (in German language)
  • Conducting Design research in Pakistan’s Craft Sector: Opportunities and Limitations
  • Paper, NORDES 2015; www.nordes.org/opj/index.php/n13/article/view/440

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