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Urbanizing the Digital

Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

Urbanising the Digital is a design proposition for our digital environment. It intends to empower a new generation of digital designers to build their professional practice through a comprehensive understanding of the ethical and societal ramifications of digital technology. Its key argument is that we must move away from a user-centred design paradigm with its adverse effects on the political, economic and psychological health of our societies. Its aim is to ‘civilise’ our digital environment by considering digital software as an infrastructure that accommodates millions of people’s lives. In other words, Urbanising the Digital proposes an experimental design wherein the digital environment is understood in terms of architecture and urban planning. The goal of this project is the creation of an interdisciplinary ecosystem: a platform upon which research, teaching, artistic and entrepreneurial activities take places that revolve around the notion of Urbanising the Digital. 

Research Question

Can we develop a professional design practice that negotiates the ethical dimension of digital technology by adopting methods and strategies from the fields of architecture and urban planning?

The project started with developing the general theoretical framework and set up the interdisciplinary network that such a research project requires. Embracing the COVID-19 crisis, the research project has taken this moment to reflect on what digital space means for the post-COVID art ecology with the applied research for thecurrent.isarrow platform where the MIVC graduates will transform their work onto the digital environment. This would be the first step of the (envisioned) long-term research, allowing us to apply for external funding, identify collaborators in the Netherlands as well as globally, and instigate a highly innovative design discourse at Avans through its BA and MA curriculums. 

Completed research, 2019 – 2020. 

Principle investigator
Aiwen Yin

Professor
Sebastian Olma

Collaborators
Master Institute of Visual Cultures: students of Situated Design, Visual Arts and Post Contemporary Practice, and Ecology Futures, CMD ACUE, VOID lab 

Institute
Avans University of Applied Sciences  

‘The most difficult and empowering thing as an artist is to stay honest about my work and me. And I'd like to help my students to get there too.’

Aiwen Yin was a researcher within the Cultural and Creative Industries research group from 2019 until 2020. She is currently graduation curatorial tutor at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures.

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Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries investigates the role of artists and designers as creative innovators and drivers of social and economic change. Affiliated researchers analyse the cultural and creative industries from a critical point of view and examine the conditions under which timely forms of aesthetic expression and social connectedness can actually take place within the precarious reality of this field. What economic models are required by artists and designers to create a meaningful practice within the aesthetic, social, and economic intentions of the cultural and creative industries? What skills sets are required for those artists and designers who don’t just want to follow movements, but actually shape novel social and economic models of the future?

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