Professor of design theory and design history (1991 – 2012)
Founding dean of the school of design (today: KISD) at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (CUAS)
Dean of the CUAS department of cultural studies (2002 – 2006)
Michael Erlhoff studied at the University of Hanover where he completed his PhD in German literature, art history and sociology. During his studies he also worked as assistant producer at the Staatstheater Hannover and as a teacher at a technical college.
Michael Erlhoff worked for several years as research assistant and later as assistant professor at the University of Hanover. Together with Uta Brandes he published the magazine zweitschrift, he was editor-in-chief of the art magazine K; for more than ten years, he published an annual Kurt Schwitters Almanach and he was a member of the advisory committee for documenta 8 (1985-1987).
From 1986 to 1990, he was director of the German Design Council in Frankfurt am Main.
In 1991 he was appointed founding dean of the KISD Koeln International School of Design in Cologne (KISD) where, until 2012, he was professor of design history and design theory. He also served as dean of the department of Cultural Studies at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (2002-2006). In 1997 he was guest professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Michael Erlhoff was involved in the inception of the Raymond Loewy Foundation and was also the Foundation’s president from 1992 to 2006. Together with Uta Brandes he organised the St. Moritz Design Summit (2000 – 2006).
He is a member of the German Association for Design Theory and Research (DGTF) , which he founded in 2003, and a member of AICA (association internationale des critiques d’art). He regularly gives guest lectures and runs workshops at international universities, e.g. in Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, New York and Sydney.
Michael Erlhoff is a frequent member of national or international design juries.
He also was coordinator of the Cologne Design Prize and the Cologne Design Prize international, which are among the awards with the highest prize money for talented young design graduates.