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Charlotte Østergaard

Charlotte Østergaard. Photo.

PhD research project: “Crafting Material Bodies – radical co-creation in the field of costume design.”

PhD supervisors: Esa Kirkkopelto, professor of artistic research, Malmö Theatre Academy; Sofia Pantouvaki, associate professor, Aalto University (second supervisor)

Institution: Malmö Theatre Academy

Period: January 2020 – January 2025

As a designer, I consider costume to include wearable products that communicate something and iterative processes that simultaneously will be informed, influenced, and transformed by humans with their individual perspectives on making, wearing, performing, and watching non-human material, and by spatiality, and temporality.

My artistic research derives from years of design practice where pre-set institutional structures and hierarchal positions have often defined my individual design process and any collaborative processes. In my practice, I confront the perception that the role of the designer is to serve a predetermined purpose by designing a visual expression, which implicitly means defining what a tailor produces and deciding what a performer wear.

With the research, my ambition is to re-negotiate the role of the costume designer. With a more openminded and playful approach towards the role of the designer, I will explore how I can become the facilitator of heterogeneous co-creative costume processes between human participants and non-human materials. My intention is to open design processes, that I usually accomplish alone or semi-alone, by involving participants who, in more traditional settings, are excluded from the design process. Inversely, I will study how participants inform and transform my design process and artistic practice.

On a more fundamental level, I will investigate and challenge our (participants and my own) biased perceptions of disciplinary and hierarchical positions and perspectives to discuss and reflect upon potentials in and perspectives of what co-creative costume processes (and more generally co-creative theatre processes) can become. Hence, my ambition is to develop costume methods that contain interdisciplinary and inter-artistic perspectives.

Visit Charlotte’s artist website –

Read more about Charlotte’s PhD in the Lund University Research Portal –

Learn more about PhD education at the Malmö Theatre Academy, by visiting the following website –