Seminar Series: Re-worlding

Re-worlding is a series of seminars and lectures to stimulate reflection and debate on research in art, architecture and design. Re-worlding is co-jointly organised by:

  • Faculty of Architecture and Arts UHasselt
  • LUCA School of Arts (Research Unit Inter-Actions)
ark_agora_overzicht ark_agora_overzicht

In monthly seminars and lectures, re-worlding will focus on 6 perspectives relevant to facilitate this engagement with the world:

  • Re-discovering the world of artistic and design research and beyond
  • Re-connecting, to translate between different points of view and worlds through creative writing/documenting of research
  • Re-imagining the past, present and future through artistic and design research
  • Re-infrastructuring, to re-create infrastructures (platforms, methods, tools, instruments) for design-based artistic research
  • Re-institutioning, to better connect (and root) artistic and design research into the everyday world and public and private institutions
  • Ethics of care, re-thinking who we include and exclude in our artistic and design processes, consciously or unconsciously
Re-worlding wants to support artists and designers to take on an active role in these challenging times with multiple crises (ecological, economical, social, health...) to re-discover, re-think and re-construct our world that is made of many diverse worlds. The seminars and lectures zoom in on the different methods of conceiving, planning and developing artistic and design practices in relation to the changing nature of contemporary art and design and the world in which (young) researchers/artists/designers operate.

Academic year 2022 - 2023

And Then It Got Legs (C) Mette Edvardsen
25 mei

phD Seminar: Dramaturgy as an approach to crafting method, collaboration and material thinking

25 mei 2023
PXL MAD, Building B, Elfde-Liniestraat, 3500 Hasselt
Rolando Vazquez Melken
03 mei

Lecture on decolonial aesthesis with ‪Rolando Vázquez and Virgilio Vasconcelos

03 mei 2023
LUCA School of Arts, C-Mine 5, 3600 Genk
Manual Macia Linkedin
16 mrt

Lecture on pharmacoloniality & Seminar on decolonial listening, hosted by Manuel Macía

16 maart 2023
Luca School of Arts, C-Mine 5, 3600 Genk
Tobias Van Royen
07 mrt
07 maart 2023
Oude Gevangenis, lokaal FR 1.01, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt
Sofie Verraest
24 nov

Re-Worlding Lecture: Sofie Verraest

24 november 2022
Inkomhal PXL-MAD, Gebouw C, Elfde Liniestraat 23, 3500 Hasselt

Academic year 2021 - 2022

Laura Forlano 1140X640
09 sep

Re-Worlding Lecture: Laura Forlano

09 september 2022
Rolando Vazquez Melken
05 mei

Re-Worlding Lecture and seminar: Rolando Vazquez Melken en Stephanie Koziej

05 mei 2022
Luca School of Arts, C-Mine 5, 3600 Genk
Manuela Infante
28 apr

Re-Worlding lecture & seminar: Manuela Infante Güell

28 april 2022 - 29 april 2022
CCHA (lecture) and PXL MAD, Building G, Elfde-Liniestraat, 3500 Hasselt (seminar)
Tobias Van Royen
17 mrt

Re-Worlding Lecture & seminar: Re-institutioning: IP, dissemination and valorisation in the cultural sector

17 maart 2022
Campus Oude Gevangenis, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt
18 feb

Meet the jury seminar: Designing with Competent Communities across scales

18 februari 2022
Campus Oude Gevangenis, Aula Louis Roppe, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt
Bart Verschaffel
16 dec

Re-Worlding Lecture: Bart Verschaffel

16 december 2021
Luca School of Arts, C-Mine 5, 3600 Genk
Christophe Vangerrewey 1 (C)Koen Broos
25 nov

Re-Worlding Lecture: Christophe van Gerrewey

25 november 2021
UHasselt, Martelarenlaan 42, 3500 Hasselt
Mariabarnas 02B
20 okt

Re-Worlding Lecture: Maria Barnas

20 oktober 2021
PXL MAD, Elfde Liniestraat, 3500 Hasselt

Archive academic year 2020 - 2021

ARK Seminar #7: Re-connecting: Value creation in artistic and design research, August 2021

This seminar sets up a dialogue and exchange with MAU, Malmö University, K3. The session is moderated by Anna Seravalli and Ann Light.

This seminar dives into how findings in a particular and situated context can be connected to other actors in society: musea, art collectives, policy etc. It introduces us to how art and design researchers share their research with the world and enter into productive collaborations with the world and evaluate these collaborations.

Our initiatives for change require some feedback - to us - to know that what we are doing is achieving what we set out to - and to the world around us - be that funders or those we seek to engage in supporting or sponsoring our activities. When we reworld, we ask more of this process than many evaluation procedures can map to. There is some hint of ontological change and a journey to places beyond what we can know now. How is it possible to give confidence in the direction of travel when the issues are complex and intrinsically uncertain or indeterminable? The goal of this session is to look at reconnection as a process of valuing and making links between worlds, not only as ideas but as pathways that we seek to travel and to know we have travelled.

  • 12.00-12.10: Welcome, short intro to the theme and program

  • 12.10-12.25: Theoretical perspective about value creation and how to "measure" it by Joost Vervoort of Utrecht University, researcher in the CreaTures project (
    • Joost Vervoort is Associate Professor of Foresight and Anticipatory Governance in the Environmental Governance Group at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. He is also a Honorary Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and a Visiting Fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto Japan.  Joost is a Fellow of the Urban Futures Studio, a Fellow of the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges, and a member of the Utrecht Young Academy, where he leads a project on the use of the future across UU. An ecologist by training, Joost holds a PhD from Wageningen University in stakeholder engagement through scenarios and other approaches to sense-making in and navigating through complex systems. (

  • 12.25-12.40Case Malmö Tillsammans: a cross-sector project to support local development in Malmö. The presentation raises concrete challenges/questions about ongoing work with valuing and making links between worlds (, in Swedish)
    • Priyanka Mellergård John presents Malmö Together (Malmö Tillsammans), a cross-sector project driven by  Sensus (an organization that focus on non-formal and voluntary education), Malmö Ideella (an umbrella organization for civil society associations in Malmö), Nyföretagarcentrum Öresund  (an organization that supports entrepreneurship in the Malmö region) and the city of Malmö. The goal of the project is to support citizens driven initiatives to address societal issues like segregation, inequality and unemployment in three areas of Malmö. In each area an incubator will be established. The incubators together work as an innovation platform for the whole city. Malmö Together aims at being a resource for associations, companies and citizens in Malmö to address issues that are important for them, find solutions and create a sustainable city for everybody.  

  • 12.40-13:30: Discussion in small groups with one representative from Malmö Tillsammans in each group
    • How do we bring together different views, structures and practices across organizations?
    • How should we value the different contributions when we bring these things together?
    • Which principles do we choose to "measure" the actions we take together?

    • Questions to be discussed:

  • 13:00-13:30 reporting from the groups and general discussion

ARK Seminar #6: Ethics of Care - a dialogue on cooperation, inclusion and social change within and across communities, June 2021

  • Keynote talks:
    • Monica di Sisto, Fairwatch: "Towards a caring society"
    • Matteo Moretti, "Designing digital commons"
  • Discussants:
    • Francesca Forno, University of Trento
    • Alvise Mattozzi, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
  • Chair:
    • Chiara Bassetti, University of Trento
Monica di Sisto is a journalist and activist expert in local and global cooperation. She serves as vice-president of Fairwatch, an NGO working on international trade, fair trade and climate change; she is one of the founders of, and among the writers of the Manifesto for a caring society. She teaches Models of economic development at the Pontificia Università Gregoriana (Rome, Italy).

Matteo Moretti is a designer and visual journalist for inclusion and cultural change. Co-founder of, he does research and design to reduce the distance between information and experience, with the aim to provide information-rich experiences able to return the complexity of our world. His projects won the European design award and the Data journalism award.

Francesca Forno is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento. Her interests include civic participation and social movements, political consumerism, collaborative consumption, grassroots initiatives on social eco-innovation and alternative food networks. A special focus is on the consequences of the spread of market-based forms of action for citizens’ participation and mobilisation.

Alvise Mattozzi is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Design and Art of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy, where he teaches Social studies of design and Theories of cultural consumption. He is an expert in semiotics, sociology, design studies and science and technology studies.

Chiara Bassetti is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento. An ethnographer and ethnomethodologist, often working in interdisciplinary teams, she is interested in social interaction, cultural phenomena and collaborative practices. She explored collaboration in several contexts including grassroots initiatives for socio-economic innovation, performing arts, and the workplace.

ARK Seminar #5: Re-imagining: A dialogue on spaces for imagination, May 2021

Organised as a dialogue between four academics-practitioners we reflect on the practice of creating the right environment (open public structure) to re-imagining today’s society, making use of design and art as medium.

  • At ONA the design in dialogue lab theatrical elements creates the condition to experiment and practice different settings for dialogue, challenging participants to rethink existing practices and positions.
  • At L200 the self-organisation of a common space becomes the shared ground for learning. Imagination through doing is the core pedagogical tool.
  • Communitism as a third space uses imagination as the core of all its activities and explores how heritage conservation, personal development and collective action are constantly nurtured by an environment of creative enthusiasm.
  • During this session the protagonists of each of these spaces will start a dialogue around their practice, complemented by a comparative perspective between 50 spaces in different cities developed in the research project Grounded Urban Practices, and slowly invite all participants to join this collective exchange.

Our Keynote Speakers:

ARK Seminar #4: Re-institutioning: IP and Dissemination, March 2021

The purpose of the seminar is threefold. Firstly, the seminar addresses how to link (or not to link) autonomous artistic and design research to private and public institutional frameworks in order to generate research results with a strong impact on society. Secondly, it creates awareness about intellectual property rights (“IP”), and in particular IP at UHasselt. Lastly, it tackles different types of dissemination and exploitation in art and design research, duly taking into account the interests of all parties involved: the PhD student, the promoter, and on a larger scale the university and also the society as a whole.

The seminar will be structured as follows:

  • Session 1: Lunch session (12h00 - 13h30) - break

  • Session 2: The protection of works of (applied) arts under copyright law (14h00 - 14h45)

  • Session 3: IP at UHasselt and ARK (14h45 - 15h15) - break

  • Session 4: Dissemination and exploitation of research results (15h30 - 17h00)

Session 1: Lunch session (12h00 - 13h30)

This session is focused on how to link (or not link) autonomous artistic and design research to private and public institutional frameworks that can enable the research to contribute to benefits for society, possibly with the realisation of an organisation, a product, a company, a lab etc. It raises questions on how design and artistic researchers can enhance their capabilities to develop a diversity of modes to interact with existing networks, translate abstract ambitions in concrete steps and projects (short and long-term actions), hand over the experience and insights of their action research back to their partner organisations etc.

Moderators: Anne Marie Kanstrup  and Maurizio Teli (Professors at the Department of Planning in the research group Techno-Anthropology & Participation at Aalborg University).

  • Louis Volont is a sociologist whose work clusters around the “three C’s” of Culture, Commons and Cities. Overall, he investigates whether commoning constitutes a valuable antidote against the marketization of art and culture in urban contexts. He holds a PhD from the University of Antwerp, entitled Shapeshifting: The Cultural Production of Common Space. Louis is a member of the Culture Commons Quest Office (BE) and teaches at the University of Groningen (NL). Before entering the academic sphere, he worked as an independent researcher within a Belgian artists’ cooperative (Société Mutuelle pour les Artistes - SMart) on the theme of sustainable creativity. One future path of research can be found in the ‘constituent museum’: what happens when top-down institutions put horizontality at the centre of their operation?
  • Yanki Lee: Design researcher, educator and cofounder of Enable Foundation, Dr Lee received her MA in Architecture from the Royal College of Art (RCA) and a PhD in design participation from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She was awarded a Fellow of the Royal College of Art and UK-China Fellowship of Excellence for her works in cross disciplinarity and transculturality. Since 2017, Enable Foundation, a social design collective and education charity, has received major funding from HKSAR Government’s Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (SIE) Fund to pioneer innovative cross-generational and transdisciplinary programmes through design research and actions.

Session 2: The protection of works of (applied) arts under copyright law (14h00 - 14h45)

As a researcher, you (rightly) focus first and foremost on the academic and societal value of your research results. But did you know that many research results are protected by intellectual property rights? And are you aware of the advantages that such intellectual property rights entail, such as the legal monopoly that they create? During this session, a basic introduction in intellectual property rights is given, with a particular focus on copyright.

SpeakerTobias Van Royen Universiteit Antwerpen and Cultuurloket.

Session 3: IP at UHasselt and ARK (14h45 - 15h15)

This session specifically focuses on the IP policy of the UHasselt and ARK. It clarifies who owns the IP on your research results, and what to do prior to publication or exploitation of your results.

SpeakerLien Geunis from the UHasselt Tech Transfer Office.

Session 4: Dissemination and exploitation of research results (15h30 - 17h00)

This final session addresses several forms of dissemination and exploitation of academic output. In which circumstances is it advisable to disseminate your research results on an open access platform? What exactly is the value of “creative commons”? And why does the university sometimes decide to create a spin-off company? Cases which show great societal impact are clarified in detail.
Very important in this respect is to duly take into account the interests of all the parties at stake: starting with you - as the creator/author - but also your promotor, and on a larger scale the university and the society as a whole. An interactive brainstorm is set up to facilitate a common framework between all parties involved with regard to your PhD research.

Speaker: Lieve Weytjens, business developer for ARK.
Learning goals:
  • Basic insights in private and public institutional frameworks
  • Basic insights in IP and the IP policy at UHasselt
  • Basic insights in different types of dissemination and exploitation in art and design research
  • Practicalities in communication and follow-up in (PhD) research
Practical note: Prior to this session, you will all be asked to fill in a brief Google Form with some questions about your research topic, current knowledge of IP and view on dissemination/exploitation of your research results.  More information on this will follow soon.

ARK Seminar #3: Re-discovering: Ethnographic Research, February 2021

The plenary part of this seminar revolves around ethnographic research and how it can be used in artistic and design research to situate and problematise some of the general assumptions we often hold as researchers. It introduces us to the creation of ethnographic techniques that are particular for artistic and design researchers.  It sets up a dialogue and exchange with Limerick University.  

Plenary session:

The plenary part of the session on “re-discovering” is moderated by Cristiano Storni, Lecturer and senior researcher in Interaction Design and Director of the MSc.\MA in Interaction and Experience Design at Computer Science and Information Systems department (Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick). He holds a PhD in Information Systems and Organization from the Faculty of Sociology in the University of Trento (Italy). During his PhD Cristiano has studied the impact of ICT on people, organization and society, focussing on Science and Technology Studies (STS), Actor Network Theory (ANT), Social studies of Information Systems (SSIS), Ethnography, Participatory and Interaction Design. His research lies at the intersection of social science and design disciplines and in different application areas: Health Care, Web2.0, open hardware and software, and social innovation. In the design area, he is working on the ‘coming together’ of design (participatory and interactive) and Actor Network Theory.

Two speakers will discuss the use of ethnographic approaches in art and design research. One from academia (Design School Kolding), and one from culture practice (Waag Society):

  • Thomas Binder is Professor in design and sustainability at Lab for Planet, Design School Kolding. He has previously been part of the co-design research center, CODE at KADK, engaging open design collaborations and participatory design in the context of design anthropology, interaction design and social innovation. His research includes contributions to methods and tools for experimental design research and open innovation processes with a particular emphasis on re-thinking the design object. He has been editing and authoring several books such as (Re-) searching the Digital Bauhaus’ (Springer 2008), Rehearsing the Future (Danish Design School Press, 2010), Design Research through Practice (Morgan Kaufman, 2011), Design Things (MIT press, 2011) and Design Anthropological Futures (Bloomsbury, 2016). He has been chairing the Participatory Design Conference in 2002, the Nordic Design Research Conference in 2005 and the Design Anthropological Futures Conference in 2015.

  • Dick van Dijk is creative director and head of programme at Waag ( Waag is an institute for art, technology and society composed of research groups that work with both grassroots initiatives and institutional partners across Europe. The collective has a shared attitude of public concern and civic activism, which is manifested in Waag's public research agenda. Waag pleads for a radically different approach towards technology as technology is not neutral. Waag collaborates with citizens, organisations, governments, artists, activists, designers and researchers in projects that effectuate change. Part of Dick’s role at Waag is creating interactive concepts, strategizing design research and user involvement, and monitoring the development of the actual ‘thing’ – whatever it may be: an interactive installation, a learning tool, a co-creative design process. He is mostly interested in the crossover between virtual and physical interactions. As concept developer he has worked on many cultural heritage projects, such as Mingei (on capturing and preserving crafts), Centrinno (on transforming industrial cultural heritage in makes districts) and meSch (on physical and sensory interaction with heritage collections). He has spoken and lectured on co-creation, emotion networking, mixed reality for heritage and playful learning. Dick is co-author of several publications on social connectedness. He isco-author of the book 'Connect, Design for an Emphatic Society'; on age-driven design. Dick has a background in Business Economics and Art. Previously he has worked in interactive marketing and design.

PhD presentations

Four of our PhD students present their work in one collective session (ArcK and MAD together) and invite you for an open and interesting discussion about their work.
  • Naomi Neelen: Encouraging (future) house-owners to use regenerative construction materials
    The construction industry has a large impact on several environmental issues, from resource depletion and carbon emissions to waste generation. Current energy performance regulations aim to reduce the operational energy use of buildings, but cause a (partial) shift of the environmental burden towards other lifecycle stages. Meanwhile the construction industry continues to use mostly inorganic, high impact materials, such as concrete and fired brick, with a high amount of embodied energy and consuming large amounts of natural resources. An alternative could be to use mainly low-impact, regenerative building materials, i.e. materials that can be regrown faster than they are depleted.
    As in Belgium (in 2018), nearly three-quarters of dwellings are owner occupied and dwellings account for over 80% of building permits, the power to facilitate this shift is for a large part in hands of private house owners.
    Therefor the aim of this PhD is to investigate how house owners can be encouraged to build or renovate with lower impact, regenerative building materials. Through interviews with both house owners who did use regenerative materials as well as with house owners who did not yet use any regenerative materials, the arguments for their choices and the processes that led to these choices will be investigated. Later a methodology to encourage the use of regenerative materials will be developed and tested.
  • Ode De Kort: An artistic methodology towards multisensorial learning
    In the artistic research by Ode de Kort ‘Practice - An artistic methodology towards multisensorial learning’, O and U are consistent collaborators and co-workers. Stretching the boundaries between identity and language, these two characters are both dramatis personae and typographic bodies. De Kort sees them as companions to think with, exercise and perform with. They interact and engage with one another in dialogue, in a play of transliteration from script to body and back. More so than being letters, the research focuses on the linguistic, (typo)graphic and performative questions these characters generate. This process is translated into photography, installation, video, text, workshops and performances. As unknown steering forces, these fellow workers guide us through multiple coalescences of knowledge, finding resonance within the artistic practice’s engagement with set parameters.
  • Teresa PalmieriDwelling patterns: A design anthropological approach for ongoing dialogues on sustainable dwelling futures for the Flemish suburbs
    In Flanders, low-density, car-centred residential suburbs are being increasingly recognised as an unsustainable housing model. Despite this, living in a single-family house with a garden in a green and quiet suburban environment remains the ideal housing situation for a large number of inhabitants. Hence, when sustainable development strategies such as densification and depaving enter the concreteness of people’s everyday life, they often trigger conflict between dwellers, policy-makers, designers and organisations. In this presentation, I will discuss how I explored the co-production, curation, reworking and enacting of dwelling patterns as a design anthropological approach for supporting ongoing dialogues on sustainable dwelling futures between a diversity of actors able to engage with the politics of how these futures are being shaped in people’s everyday lives.  
  • Jeroen Peeters: Conceptual Landscapes: Readership in the Expanded Field
    Artistic creation and research processes require the shaping of conditions in which the work can come about. Such invention of an artistic working method is a matter of staging or dramaturgy, which includes a heterogeneous collection of guiding images, materials, practices, embodied knowledge and cultural literacy in light of a research intuition. If we approach this matter specifically as a ‘conceptual landscape’, which particular ways of making, perceiving and reflecting does it afford? The term ‘readership in the expanded field’ refers to this ecosystem of practices. Yet in a narrow sense it also addresses and challenges the language-ridden nature of the media in which this research is done: experimental writing in essay, artist’s books and lecture-performances.

ARK Seminar #2: Re-managing, January 2021

This seminar will reflect on how projects are managed in a context where the studied world (in this case often from the perspective of culture, technology and society) is fragile, under flux. How can project work enable to build international and strong networks in-between international local fields. How do we manage projects in this field? Which models can we learn from?
  • Keynote Speaker: Prof. Dr. Stijn Oosterlynck is an expert in urban sociology, in relation to urban studies, poverty and social inequality and manages many projects on local, regional and EU level. He will explain the recent successful process of writing, collaborating and starting up a Marie Curie Project (aiming to set up an international PhD training network)

  • Case study: Architecture Workroom Brussels will form a practice based perspective on project acquisition and management.
Everyone interested in the acquisition or management of projects on different scale levels is welcome to attend this session. As a (starting) PhD researcher it might give you an interesting insight in the dynamics behind writing project/grant proposals or running a project, or perhaps you already have concrete ideas for projects or collaborations after your PhD? More senior researchers may gain relevant insights to apply in their own proposal writing.

ARK Seminar #1: Re-infrastructuring art and design research, December 2020

This first seminar will dive into the necessity to rethink how we position our Faculty’s artistic and design research in today’s changing world.  We rethink our own position, but also the platforms via which we do art and design research today, our research groups, our faculty research days, our doctoral program. Is our positioning and the positioning of our platforms able to navigate in a landscape in which culture is in a very fragile position and polarisation is driving public debates: on climate, care, migration etc.  What input do we need as researchers to navigate this landscape more consciously? In this first seminar we co-design the program for the rest of the year based on this structure: the keynotes, the formats etc...


Part 1: Brainstorm on re-infrastructuring art and design research (ArcK + MAD).

The goal of this brainstorm is to use this input to write a vision on the future development of our (doctoral) research platforms and to reorganise our doctoral and research platforms to facilitate your research as good as we can.

  1. What do you care about or - better - what do we need and want to care about in our (PhD) research?

  2. How can we as institutes reorganise our platforms - our doctoral programs, our research groups, our labs  etc - , to reconnect and collectively address some of the issues we individually and commonly care about? Some examples: Do these platforms need to actively contribute to the cultural field we are active in (e.g. role of studio space, curation)? How do they promote conferences in a time in which travelling has become impossible and the climate needs care? How do they need to take into account the position of young parents in a time many are working at home? Can we reorganise our platforms to allow for more equality between groups or to be more welcoming to refugees or people who locally need our attention?

  3. What people would you really like to hear on the following topics.

    Ethnographic approaches in art and design research
    Creative Writing in art and research
    Imagination in art and design research
    IP and dissemination in art and design research
    Managing Projects in art and design research
    Ethics of Care in art and Design research.

Part 2: Parallel sessions MAD and ArcK PhD students

Although the PhD students will prepare a presentation, they count on your input for a good discussion about their research questions, methodology, and discursive techniques. To prepare yourself for this discussion, you may already bring some questions for our PhD students, based on their abstract (see below), based on your own struggles, experiences or ideas.

ArcK PhD presentations:

  • Lieve Custers: How can we open up participatory planning processes in neighbourhoods that are densifying and talk about values? In order to preserve the open space in a suburbanized region as Flanders (Belgium), densification is one of the ways to go. But densification means that the existing living environment transforms and has an influence on liveability. This creates tensions between different collectives of policy makers and citizens as they imagine other futures for the neighbourhood. In my presentation I will discuss the participatory planning processes in two neighbourhoods that are densifying: the neighbourhood mobility plan in the Heilig-Hart neighbourhood in Hasselt (case 1) and the neighbourhood spatial plan of Zwijnaarde, Pleispark and Schilderwijk in Ghent (case 2). These are new planning instruments that are being developed throughout the process which gives us the opportunity to experiment with ways to make the value trade-offs between the different collectives explicit and co-create a future for the neighbourhood. I will talk about the research methods that I use, which tools I developed to start a dialogue in the two neighbourhoods and how I write and communicate about my research via different platforms.
  • Elisa Servais: The (added) value of Experiential Retail Environments (EREs) - Gaining a better understanding of the phenomenon in order to better design for it In the ever evolving retail context and more specifically with the growth of online shopping, customer expectations towards physical stores have shifted from a product to a full in-store experience focus. This, in turn, has impacted retail designers who are now pressured to design stores which deliver "valuable experiences" to consumers; or what is often referred to as “experiential stores”. BUT, is there really value in integrating an experiential dimension to physical store concepts? And if so, where does this value lie and for whom: the consumers, retailers? And what about society and the world at large? Finally, and most important to this research project which has a special focus on retail designers’ practical concerns: HOW should in-store experience be designed to generate (added) value? Although the overall aim of this research project is to address all of the above questions, its specific focus is to develop an evidence-based design support tool for retail designers (and retailers) in order to address their daily concerns as regards designing for valuable in-store experiences.  
  • Mela ZuljevicWayfinding in-between the historical landscape and the design space: Uses of the past in participatory design. In my PhD research, I am interested in how the past is used in the design space of spatial development. The intention is to explore how visions of 'development' can be conceptualised, staged and challenged, by mobilising the past as a resource. The methodological approach starts from participatory design and design anthropology while learning from historical research and critical approaches to heritage and development. The project looks at specific case studies related to the heritagisation and redevelopment of post-industrial landscapes, primarily in the context of Genk and Leuven (BE). By making a ‘Transition Landscape Atlas’, I work with different design and collaborative methods, in particular participatory mapping and video-making. 

MAD PhD presentations:

  • Lodewijk HeylenAgainst Heroics (on the Avant Garde). To break free. To wake up, to cast off the shackles of conformism. To innovate. These are the demands of computational heroism. You have the possibility to make a choice, to choose for a heroic life, a creative life, against all odds. Now, we all can achieve heroism. Every moment can become significant, more significant than the last. Everyone can now consider themselves an influencer of their own making, presenting every meal as a groundbreaking discovery, every reiteration of a viral dance video as trendsetting, every travel or trip as though it were an exploration by Magellan himself — if we can consider him the all time hero of exploration. What it actually induced is a mediocre world with a collective aversion towards mediocrity; an adoration, a glorification of heroes, mirror-images of Ayn Rand’s champions, who are in fact very average people; a disgust for anyone who does not succeed in transcending her or himself, who is therefore considered a parasite or a scrounger, a coward. She who is not able to fit the hero role — the entrepreneur, the creative individual — who is not able to perform the heroic gesture, is discarded, discredited, neglected, forgotten, and blamed for not trying hard enough, for not wanting it enough.
  • Elise van MourikWith or without you - Artistic strategies to rethink participation and publicness. The works that will be produced during this research period will address neoliberalism as a practice and particularly the concept of 'open relationships that sits at its core. Since the liberalization of the economy from its traditional political, ethical and cultural entanglements, neoliberal thinking has introduced flexibility beyond merely an economical concept. Whereas it allowed for more open terms for laissez-faire capitalism and free market policies in the course of globalizing trade, today its philosophy characterizes many other types of relationships: between governments, enterprises, institutions and individuals, all of which are under pressure of becoming more flexible and independent as well. This ranges from for example entrepreneurship in favor of class mobility, ideologically, to shaping more flexible working conditions, practically; via free-lance contracts or open office landscapes that accommodate both work and leisure.

This research aims to critically rethink those new flexible bonds. It focusses on how neoliberalism normalizes attitudes towards work and the self, discourages collectivism in favor of individual freedom, and fundamentally challenges “what a relationship is” by promoting the concept of independence over that of mutual responsibility. Neoliberal thinking does not merely stretch the terms but puts the notion of participation itself into question. The open relationship it proposes goes beyond a form of moral lenience empowered by its transgressive flexibility between cultural, political and economical interests, but is the capacity of a system of (social) production to function independently from any unexpected or original or outside events; to function as an autonomous scenario in and of itself that no longer requires decision-making, attention, in other words; participation. Or: what would be a play without the need for a public?

Method: This research envisions to approach the subject as a political-architectural concept, considering the open, the autonomous, or the flexible as spatio-political terms that can be reflected upon by artistic strategies between the author, the work and the public. The research will take place on the intersection of architecture, the arts, and performance studies, and will draw notions from political philosophy. It aims to rediscover the bond that publicness has with the artistic work. The research will be conducted within the artistic practice by experimenting with open, closed, remote or connected ways of situating a public via script-related works such as scenario’s, performances, scenographies, and designs of space each questioning its relation with the public via different degrees of distance.

  • Carl Haase: How can the abstraction of communication strategies lead to a better understanding into the flexibilities and interpretation of language use?  The research’s original position or core function has been in the mass collection and abstractions of the various modern communication strategies we in our Western Culture use in our day to day lives. The mass collection acts as a way of mapping or analysing the realities and range of meanings, which in turn will generate different searchable patterns. The abstraction can be understood as the breaking down of essential information into its most rudimentary and meaningful structure. This in turn allows for continuous storylines that emerge from vast data points. Currently, the result is four defined case studies developed through organizing international collaborations with other research based artists, designers that have been working within the subject of the playing off of how to visualize the origins of modern communication to how we could visualize the flexibility of these structures. As everything around us is in a continuous discourse, the research has introduced one way in which to examine our relationship with our surroundings, with others and our shared society.