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Situated Art and Design

Research Group

Humans are situated beings: they are the product of their relationships with their surroundings. Therefore, to understand ourselves and our behaviour is to understand how these are intertwined with environmental, social, and cultural factors.

Operating under this premise, the research group Situated Art and Design sees an unprecedented need for artists and designers to consider aesthetics ‘in the wild’. 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. To effectively do so, the production and presentation of art and design must itself be situated within these environments and structures, rather than confined to secluded studios and the sterile environs of galleries and museums.

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, ranging from design research on innovative technologies that enable embodied experiences to artistic research on urban planning from embedded positions.

People

The research group Situated Art and Design is part of Avans University of Applied Sciences and was founded in 2015 – originally operating under the name ‘Human-Centred Creation’. Chair of the research group is Professor Dr. Michel van Dartel. Alongside his work at Caradt, Michel also is Director of V2_Lab for the Unstable Media. The research group includes tutor- and student-researchers from the three academies affiliated to Caradt, as well as several independent researchers and associated members.

Impact

Under the leadership of Professor van Dartel, the research group frequently publishes its findings in peer-reviewed academic periodicals and other professional literature. It also achieves significant academic, cultural and social impact through strategic partnerships with academic and cultural partners, as well as with government and industry, and aims to foster the situated turn through its impact on art and design education.

Over the past five years, our research has led to an extensive list of publications and (international) presentations. Besides this academic impact through the publication of knowledge outcomes, our research also has cultural impact through the presentation, exhibition and trying-out of artworks and designs in partnerships with acknowledged art and design venues, such as Eye Film Museum (Amsterdam), TENT (Rotterdam), STRP (Eindhoven), Tetem (Enschede), V2_ (Rotterdam), Baltan Lab (Eindhoven), and Shanghai Theatre Academy (China). Finally, to increase the social impact of our research, much of our research is embedded within strategic long-term partnerships with government and industry, as well as other universities, cultural platforms, and funding bodies, such as our long-standing collaborations with the municipalities of Den Bosch and Breda or the international event for the deaf, hard of hearing and hearing, Sencity (Utrecht), our multiyear collaborative (PhD) research projects with Tilburg University and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, our recurring collaborations with KITT Engineering, Dans Ateliers, The Patching Zone, and V2_, and our advisory roles to the Taskforce for Applied Research, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Dutch National Science Agenda.

Finally, to foster a situated turn in art and design, our group aims to make art and design education more aware of the challenges and benefits this turn implies. Besides regular presentations on our research progress within the educational field, we have impact on education by involving Avans teachers and students in our research as (co-)researchers and by actively informing curriculum development with our research outcomes: our research outcomes have for instance been fundamental to the development of new research minors, became mandatory reading for art and design students, and led to the development of a new master’s programme in Situated Design. Besides our impact on education at Avans, we aim for national impact on education through our group’s involvement in the platform Onderwijs op het snijvlak van Kunst, Wetenschap en Technologiearrow, which adopted a selection of insights from our research as its manifesto.

‘People are the product of their relationships with their environment. It’s important to understand how technological developments influence these relationships.’

Michel van Dartel arrow

‘Almost everything I design is based on giving form to the invisible.’

Tara Karpinski arrow

‘Through an interplay of design and research, the apt questions and necessary tools can be discovered and applied to each research project.’

Antal Ruhl arrow

‘The essence of the situated, cinematic experience of dance lies in the mental interaction where the public becomes co-author.’

Noud Heerkens arrow

‘I’m interested in how we can implement situated learning within design education.’

Sarah Lugthart arrow

‘How can the notion of the ‘script’ be used in a situated design practice? ’

Ollie Palmer arrow

‘Attention during interaction is personal, not a given fact.’

Misha Croes arrow

‘I’m looking for methods that take people as a starting point.’

Michel Witter arrow

‘Getting comfortable with ambiguity enables designers to absorb feedback and use it to make better design choices.’

Gabri Heinrichs arrow

‘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 arrow

‘For me, the iterative design-research process is an exciting journey towards designs that can transform human consciousness.’

Danielle Roberts arrow

‘Power, control and chance play an important role in every creative process. I explore this complicated correlation.’

Michiel van Opstal arrow

All people arrow
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Publications

Croes M. & van Dartel, M. (2020) The Interaction Attention Continuum: An Education Application Studyarrow. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’20.

Van Dartel, M., & de Rooij, A. (2019). The Innovation Potential of Sensory Augmentation for Public Space. In: Park, J., Nam, J. & Park, J.W. Proceedings of the 25th International Symposium on Electronic Art.arrow Gwangju, Korea, Republic of. Pp.79-84.

Gloerich, I., de Waal, M., Ferri, G. Cila, N., Karpinski, T. (2020) The City as a Licence. Implications of Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers for Urban Governance (Frontiers2020).

Nazli, C., Gloerich, I., Ferri, G., de Waal, M. and Karpinski, T. (forthcoming) The 721 Blockchain and the Commons: Dilemmas in the Design of Local Platforms. Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’20

Lugthart, S. & van Dartel, M. (2019). Teaching Situated Actions: A case study. In: M. Carmo (ed.) International Conference on Education and New Developments (END 2019)arrow Volume I. InScience Press: Portugal, pp. 202-206.

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