Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford

Senior lecturer, Ngā Pae Māhutonga - The School of Design

Dr. Mark Bradford is a designer exploring leadership within in contemporary creative practice through theoretical and applied design research. My interdisciplinary research explores how design is increasingly enacted relationally between people participating through a designing process. Through his PhD research process, he designed the BeWeDō® framework — a unique motion-led experience which actively engages both the body and mind through physical movement to develop relational leadership skills for co-creation. In essence, it's about thinking while moving — literally, ‘thinking on our feet’! — inspired by the Japanese martial art of Aikidō. Small moves can set big ideas in motion! Dr Bradford teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

  • Expertise

    BeWeDō®; Co-creation, Creative process, and practice, Creativity theory, Design Thinking –> Design(ing) Action, Design research methodologies/methods, Interdisciplinary; Ethnography; Design; Graphic design; Brand identity; Psychological Safety; Relational Leadership; Design-with-care; Aikidō.

  • Research Highlights

    The BeWeDō® framework (on going)
    To date, I have delivered conference Papers on the BeWeDō® framework and led 45 BeWeDō® Kenkyukai (design research seminar) with almost 300 people in Slovenia, England, USA and New Zealand. If you have any questions or are curious to learn more about how the BeWeDō® approach can benefit your organisation please contact me: telephone +64 210514498, email, or Tweet me @markjbradford or @BeWeDo. For the latest please subscribe to my Newsletter: and/or follow the hashtags #BeWeDō #TransformingConversations #movetheconversation #thinkingwhilemoving

    Drawing-acts and the activity of designing (2017) 
    Journal: Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice
    This article describes how, as a design researcher, drawing-acts enabled me to conceptualize the co-creative possibilities of Aikidō movement practices. 

    BeWeDō®: A dynamic approach to leadership development for co-creation (2017) 
    Journal: Leadership
    This interdisciplinary research focused on investigating how the movement practices of the Japanese martial art Aikidō facilitate leadership development and a relational perspective for co-creation. It synthesizes 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. 

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

  • Qualifications

    PhD (Massey University)
    MFA (RMIT University)
    BFA (Canterbury University)

  • Professional Affiliations

    Aiki Extensions
    Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ)