Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga Wellington School of Design

Dr. Mark Bradford is an interdisciplinary designer and researcher exploring how design(ing) action is increasingly enacted relationally between people. Through his design-led PhD research process – inspired by the Japanese martial art of Aikidō – he created a new mode of practice called the ‘BeWeDō® framework.’ BeWeDō is a unique way of enabling people to feel heard through designing inclusive spaces where physical movement amplifies thinking, enriches exchange and transforms conversations into action. Small gestures can set bold ideas in motion! Dr. Bradford teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate (MDes, MFA) programmes.

  • Expertise

    BeWeDō®; Co-creation; Creative Thinking; Creative Practice; Creative Leadership; Interdisciplinary; Ethnography; Autoethnography; Design; Design Research; Design Process; Design Thinking; Graphic Design; Brand Identity; Interface Design; Drawing-acts; Leadership Development; Relational leadership; Psychological Safety; Embodied Ideation; Designing for Care; Gestural Interface; Aikidō; Aiki.

  • Research Highlights

    The BeWeDō® Project (2016–ongoing)

    To date, almost 500 people have experienced The BeWeDō® Project in Slovenia, England, USA, Japan, Estonia, Finland, Australia and New Zealand. My design-led PhD research has attracted invitations to present at respected international Conferences, Universities, and lead BeWeDō Kenkyukai (research seminars). BeWeDō® is an interactive design experience which enables people to feel heard through designing inclusive spaces where movement amplifies thinking, enriches exchange and transforms conversations into action. Everyone’s voice matters! If you are curious to learn more check out BeWeDō® and subscribe to my bi-monthly newsletter ‘IRIMI’. #BeWeDō #TransformingConversations


    Who Are We To Engage Here?: Embodied Experiences to Support Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Research – Part 1: We Engage (2020)

    This ‘virtual’ workshop offered people an embodied experience emerging from design practices rooted in the Asia-Pacific region – BeWeDō – which challenged traditional western cognitive approaches. I collaborated with Andre Mūrnieks to present at DRS2020 (The Design Research Society 2020 International Conference).


    How Might We Best Design with Care? (2020)

    This Book chapter (pp. 162-181) was a research collaboration with Jaime Garcia and Veronika Antoniou emerging from the Does Design Care…? [2] Workshop. Published in the book Does Design Care...?!: Head-to-Head Debates by Lancaster University, UK. #DesigningForCare


    BeWeDō® Kenkyukai: Small Moves Can Set Big Ideas in Motion (2019)

    This Conference Paper (Proceedings, pp. 215-225) unpacks research findings emerging from applying the ‘BeWeDō® framework’ within the ideation process from 2016-2018. BeWeDō® is a psychologically safe approach, which offers relational leadership understandings in co-creation, as a process for structuring practices to transfer and replicate tacit knowledge accumulated in embodied ideation. Presented at EKSIG2019 (International Conference of the DRS Special Interest Group on Experiential Knowledge).


    Drawing-acts and the activity of designing (2017)

    This Article maintains that drawings are not just simply lines: over time drawing-acts illuminated how Aikidō movement practices are a way of leading – designing – co-creative relationships between people within collective creativity. Published in Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice journal.


    BeWeDō®: A dynamic approach to leadership development for co-creation (2017) 
    This Article synthesises diverse literatures focussed on leadership development, aikidoka, and co-creative modes of practice as processes ‘in action’. These are explored in relation to collective creativity and the context of co-creation to contribute to leadership studies. Published in Leadership journal.


    BeWeDō® : co-creating possibilities with movement (2015)

    One of the main challenges in contemporary creative practice is shifting beyond collaborative thinking to more relational ways of engaging co-operatively with each other. This interdisciplinary PhD research synthesised diverse literatures focussed on aikidoka, leadership development, and creative modes of practice as processes in action and in relation to collective creativity and the context of co-creation within the experience economy. The Aikido principle of aiki was used as a theoretical framework where experiential knowing – anchored in relational processes – focused on engaging my body and its experiences as a site of learning and a participatory way of knowing. This design-led ethnography combined autoethnography and visual ethnography through two Phases of fieldwork. This research is the first to investigate how Aikido movement practices can facilitate leadership development for co-creation. BeWeDō® is a unique co-creation experience innovation. Furthermore, BeWeDō® extends beyond notions of embodied leadership and embraces the role of emplacement for transforming co-creative possibilities.

    Commissioned to design a website capturing the artistic practice and research of renowned performance artist David Cross – work described bluntly by Cross as “Hawaiian shirt” loud! The design was awarded Silver (Best Interactive Design: Small Scale Website) in the Designers Institute of New Zealand ‘BEST Awards’ 2010.

  • Qualifications

    PhD in Business (Massey University, New Zealand)

    MFA – Intermedia (RMIT University, Australia)

    BFA – Graphic Design (Canterbury University, New Zealand)



  • Professional Affiliations

    Aiki Extensions (United States of America)

    Designers Institute of New Zealand (New Zealand)