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Megan Strickfaden, PhD


Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences

Human Ecology

About Me

I am a design anthropologist who focuses on complicated problem solving through design environments and products for older adults, caregivers, and persons with disabilities. I have carried out extensive anthropological research and fieldwork in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Canada and China but have interests in other places as well. My areas of specific concern cover, but are not confined to, unpacking challenging problems such as designing specialized systems and networks with many stakeholders. I am interested in understand human-object and human-environment relations, especially within the context of challenging social issues. 

I have taught and done research at MacEwan University (Edmonton), Edinburgh Napier University (Scotland), Edinburgh College of Art: The University of Edinburgh (Scotland), KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign (USA), Hasselt University (Belgium). I hold a PhD in Design Studies, Arts & Social Sciences from Edinburgh Napier University, an Engineering Diploma in Design Research from Danmarks Tekniske Universitet and an MDes in Industrial Design from the University of Alberta. Since 2009, I have been at the department of Human Ecology and I currently hold a position as an adjunct guest professor in the Faculty of Arts and Architecture at Hasselt University I have received <50 grants and awards for research, fellowship, teaching, travel, and designing. Recently I was awarded with ALES Teacher of the Year (2013, 2015), the Award of Excellence in Education, Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Government of Alberta (2016), and the University of Alberta Great Supervisor Award (2018). 


For further information about my research, publications, teaching interests, and graduate supervision opportunities please see my Website, Linkedin, Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram and Research on Aging, Policies and Practice.


HECOL 250 Design Studies and Practice
HECOL 469/569 Material Culture in Practice
HECOL 661 Perspectives on Material Culture
disAbility Mundus doctoral school-ALTER European Society for Disability Research (annually in the summer in various European locations) 

Current Students
William Semple (PhD) Culturally Appropriate Architecture in the North-Supervised with Gavin Renwick 
Carlos Fiorentino (PhD) Dynamic Taxonomy on Structural Colour for Innovation-Supervised with Anne Bissonnette
Hui (Tori) Ren (PhD) Material Metaphors in Dementia Care-Supervised with Janet Fast
Lara Pinchbeck (PhD) Designing with/for Invisible disAbilities
Carolina Amaral (MA) Historical Clothing in Museums
Jessica Kennedy (MA) Slow Fashion
Malcolm Stielow (MA) Making of Craft
Vanessa Zembal (MA) Inclusion/Exclusion in Winter Public Spaces-Supervised with Kristof van Assche

Completed Students

Adolfo Ruiz (PhD 2018) Tracing Memories: Collaborative Research in the Tilcho Region-Supervised with Gavin Renwick

Sandra Tullio-Pow (PhD 2016) Mapping the Clothing Taskscape: Apparel Needs in Rehabilitation Therapy

Janice Rieger (PhD 2016) Doing Dis/ordered Mapping/s: Embodying Disability in the Museum Environment

Linda Marie Johnson (MA 2018) Cultivating Home: Our Home for all Ages and Stages of Life
Nicole Gaudet (MSc 2015) Dementia Care by Design
Lara Pinchbeck (MA 2014) With Disabilities, Living
Sihong Yu (MSc 2013) Design & Evaluation of Workwear for Protection Against Steam & Hot Water
Indu Sunder (MA 2013) Evaluation & Testing of Seams on Clothing Designed for the Protection against Steam Burns
Afrin Biswas (MA 2013) Characterization of Disability within the Design Process
Lesley Stafiniak (MA 2013) How Inspirational Sources are Adapted Towards Surface Designs

External Committee Member
Gnanaharsha Beligatumulle (PhD in progress) A Phenomenographic Study of Design Thinking Pedagogy in the Higher Education Context-Supervised by Janice Rieger, Queensland University of Technology (Australia)
Elke Ielegems (PhD 2018) Designers’ Knowledge Building in (Universal) Design Processes-Supervised by Jasmien Herssens & Jan Vanrie, Hasselt University (Belgium)
Jori De Coster (PhD 2017) Disability as an Emerging Global Identity: Challenges and Opportunities to Enable the Future-Supervised by Patrick Devlieger, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Sheila Schneider (MFA 2014) Exploring Inclusion and Accessibility: The Design Process as a User/Expert-Supervised by Kevin Reader & Deana McDonagh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)