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Situated Design Methods

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

This research project focuses on innovation in the design education of the New Design & Attitudes programme of St. Joost Academy of Art & Design. 

This involves looking at the knowledge and skills that a spatial or graphic designer needs to develop, from a situated attitude. The aim of the research is to develop the research skills of students of the New Design & Attitudes programme and to contribute to the national and international design discourse with students and tutors from an educational perspective. 

Presentatie ontwerpresultaten wijk Boschveld in ’s-Hertogenbosch. © Cindy van Ree

Situated Design Assignment

This research was conducted four times in the academic years 2016–17 to 2020–21, with third-year students of the New Design & Attitudes programme at St. Joost Academy of Art & Design. In collaboration with the urban development departments of the municipalities of Breda and Den Bosch, each year the students tackle a spatial problem, using the situated design method. The design assignment starts with a problem presentation by the municipality. The project ends with an exhibition of all the student’s design proposals that can be visited by municipality representatives.


The study process of the design students was analysed and, by means of interviews, the methods used by the students and the effects these choices had on the resulting designs were examined. This analysis led to a paper that was presented at the ELIA Academy in London, 2017. In September 2018 insights from the second pilot were presented in a paper at the Balance-Unbalance conference in Rotterdam. The conclusions from these papers led to the further development of the Design in Context educational module, which was offered for the third time in 2019 and expanded to include new urban areas in Breda and Den Bosch. This research project has also led to various public presentations, including an exhibition of design results in Electron Breda and a student workshop within Studium Generale. 

Completed research, 2016 – 2020. 

Principle investigator
Barbara Asselbergs

Other researchers involved
Inge Vlugter (tutor)
Manon van Hoekel (
Eva Fotiadi (
tutor Situated Design)
Judith Boessen (tutor
Cindy van Rees (external researcher and supervisor)

Michel van Dartel

Gemeente Breda (municipality of Breda)
Gemeente ‘s-Hertogenbosch (municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch)

Avans University of Applied Sciences 

‘I look at the ways in which citizens can play an active role in shaping their cities, and how new media and technology can contribute to this.’

Barbara Asselbergs was a researcher within the Situated Art and Design research group from 2016 until 2020. She also was coordinator of the New Design & Attitudes at St. Joost School of Art & Design.


Barbara passed away on 22.10.2021 – after two years of intensive treatment and care – from the effects of leukemia.

Private: Barbara Asselbergs arrow


Asselbergs, B. & van Dartel, M. (2018) Situated Design Methods in Urban Planning: A case study. In: N. Nigten (Ed.) Proceedings of Balance Unbalance 2018: New Value Systems – Sustainability and Social Impact as Drivers for Value Creation

Asselbergs, B. & van Dartel, M. (submitted) Situated Design Methods in Urban Planning: An educational research case study.

Asselbergs, B. & van Dartel, M. (2020) Situated Design Methods in Urban Planning: An educational research case study. AMPS conference on Experiential Design – Rethinking relations between people, objects and environments).

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

Living in cities developed around data and acting within the inscrutable structure of our techno-society demands art and design that can help understand how we relate to these rapidly changing surroundings and to reflect on that relationship. The research group Situated Art and Design responds to this exigency by fostering a situated turn in art and design through a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary research projects in partnership with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry.

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