Ulrik Ekman

Ulrik Ekman

Associate Professor

Current research

Ulrik Ekman is Associate Professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen.


Professor Ekman’s current research is concerned with the global and planetary problem of sustainability and resilience in the Anthropocene. Ekman is at work on transition theories addressing issues of current cultures of waste, specifically focusing on current attempts to design and plan resilient cities. Ekman is researching both the city - ecological environment problematic and that of wasted lives, i.e., the sociocultural resilience or not of urban life forms for its inhabitants, human and not least otherwise.

Ekman's other main research interests are in the fields of ubiquitous computing, AI, new media art, critical design and aesthetics, as well as recent cultural theory. He has been the PI for the Nordic research network “The Culture of Ubiquitous Information” with more than 150 participating researchers. Ekman is currently involved in publications conccerning smart cities, AI, and sustainability. Just prior to this Ekman and colleagues have published Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture (Routledge), a comprehensive anthology treating the question whether and how the development of network societies with a third wave of computing may have emerge another kind of technocultural complexity. He is also the editor of Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing (MIT Press, 2013). Ekman is the auhtor of numerous other book chapters and articles in related fields.

Fields of interest

Sustainability, resilience, transition theory, waste, garbage, trash, environmentalism, ecological thinking, immanent critique of contemporary consumer societies and urban life forms.

Complex and critical design in the expanded field, digital humanities, ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence (AI), network societies, smart cities, information culture, digitalization and convergence, Internet culture, new media, installation and media art, media aesthetics, cultural theory, philosophies of difference, problematizations of representation, pragmatism, performativity and interactivity, approaches to affect, emotion, and passion, sensation and sense, embodiment and posthumanity, life world and technology.


I teach in several fields, i.e., modern and contemporary design and architecture as well as fashion, urban culture and waste, sustainability and resilience, digital theory and practice, visual culture, cultural theory, information culture, digital aesthetics and communication.

Current themes: Resilience and contemporary art; Design and everyday culture; Design and architecture 1800-1960; Cultural theory and visual cultures; Art history today: historicity, materiality, medialization; The modern and the late modern city; Smart cities; Rubbish culture and sustainability; Media esthetics; The theory and practice of digital visual culture; Design history, design theory, and design analysis; Design and everyday culture.

Primary fields of research

Design theory, design history, design culture, design analysis, digital design, interaction design, experience design, webdesign, cultural theory, visual culture, information culture, digital theory and practice, media aesthetics, media art, software studies, ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, context-awareness, artificial intelligence (AI), smart cities, rubbish theory, sustainability.

Possible conflicts of interest

Research funding applications, reviewer, expert panels:

EU Horizon 2020

EU, Marie Curie IF SOC 2018

The Research Council of Norway, 2012, 2016, 2020, SAMKUL research program

Academy of Finland, Art Research program, 2017, 2019, 2021


Selected publications

  1. Published

    Throughout: Art and Culture Emerging with Ubiquitous Computing

    Ekman, Ulrik (ed.), 2012, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 664 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    The Uncertain Image

    Ekman, Ulrik (ed.), Agostinho, D. (ed.), Thylstrup, Nanna (ed.) & Veel, Kristin (ed.), 29 Nov 2018, London: Routledge. 112 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Smart City Planning: Complexity

    Ekman, Ulrik, 20 Apr 2018, In: International Journal of E-Planning Research. 7, 3, p. 1-21 21 p., 1.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture

    Ekman, Ulrik (ed.), Bolter, J. D. (ed.), Diaz, L. (ed.), Engberg, M. (ed.) & Søndergaard, M. (ed.), 15 Dec 2015, New York: Routledge. 440 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

Selected activities

  1. Censorkorpset, kunsthistorie (External organisation)

    Ekman, Ulrik (Member)


    Activity: Membership typesMembership in committee, council, board

  2. Digital Creativity (Journal)

    Ekman, Ulrik (Editor)

    1 Jun 20171 Oct 2017

    Activity: Peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscriptsResearch

  3. EU Horizon2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (External organisation)

    Ekman, Ulrik (Member)

    15 Oct 201815 Dec 2018

    Activity: Membership typesMembership in committee, council, board

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