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Michiel van Opstal

Research Group: Situated Art and Design

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

Michiel van Opstal was a researcher at the Situated Art and Design research group from 2019 until 2021. He is currently a tutor at St. Joost School of Art & Design in Breda and Den Bosch. 

Michiel van Opstal studied Culture and Science Studies at Maastricht University, from 1995 to 2001. During his education, he specialised in culture and media philosophy, and film theory. His master’s thesis was a critical reflection on German philosopher Heidegger’s concept of identity. 

From 2003 to 2007, Michiel taught at Leiden University within the Faculty of Arts. He developed minor programmes at the intersection of media philosophy, history, art and politics. Parallel to this, he worked as a creative producer for Het Portaal, a communication agency in Rotterdam that specialises in stakeholder participation. Michiel developed formats and film plans for social documentaries and television programmes. Since 2008, Michiel has worked as a theory and research tutor at St. Joost School of Art & Design in Breda and Den Bosch. 

As a tutor and researcher, Michiel specialises in media theory, narratology, photography and film theory. He is interested in the question of how new and old media influence and change our society and our existence. Within this research area his focus is on the following topics: 

  • authenticity in a post-digital age; 
  • new visual strategies of engagement in fine art, photography and film; 
  • new interactive and immersive forms of narrativity; 
  • the democratisation of the image in our visual culture. 


The power-paradox of situated and participative art & design

This research takes a critical look at the assumption that spectator participation in situated art and design emancipates this spectator, and examines situatedness and participation as a play of power.

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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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‘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

All people arrow

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