Hello, I’m Magdalena Cattan Lavin, a Chilean designer and researcher, currently based in Scotland while completing my PhD at Edinburgh College of Art – The University of Edinburgh (2016-2019).


My doctoral research, “Unfolding dichotomies between craft and design in the Chilean context”, aims to elucidate the structures that shape the relationship between craft communities and design, seeking to identify and critically analyse the implications of their mutual collaboration. I emphasise on develop an informed understanding of the downside issues of cultural appropriation, authorship and neo-colonialism that are usually disregarded over the benefits of these partnerships. Through this study, I attempt to approach design practice from a critical perspective, raising a debate concerning the ethical framework of these collaborations, by addressing primarily, how the construction of “value” for artisans and designers, it echoes in the prevailing dichotomies on thinking/making and innovation/tradition.

In Chile, I’m a member of the academic staff of the Design Department at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU), Universidad de Chile and part of the research group “Identity and Heritage”. In this line of work, I have coordinated the project “Design and innovation for traditional knowledge” financed by the outreach vice-chancellor from Universidad de Chile (2013-2014) and FAU (2015), and collaborated with the employability program from Fundación Artesanías de Chile (2015). I hold an MA degree in Integrated Design from Köln International School of Design (2012) and an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Universidad de Chile (2007).


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