The Critical Inquiry Lab ︎ is a two-year Master’s program that provides students with an environment to develop a design practice driven by artistic research. The department is rooted in cultural analysis and design theory and principally questions the role of design in relation to the structures and systems underpinning our society. Research not understood as something separate from design—but is design in and of itself. Bound to an artistic position rather than a specific discipline, we understand design and design critique as a cultural signifier and an agent of change.
The program encourages students to foster an inquisitive attitude and question the role of design in relation to the (historical) constructs underpinning contemporary society and how they resonate within local and global contexts. The Critical Inquiry Lab holds a broad understanding of how research can translate or resonate into different curatorial practices and cultural methods, strategic actions and editorial positions. Over the course of two years students acquire skills such as writing, editing, curating, podcasting, publishing, performing, coding, mediating and developing strategic actions. The development of (research) methodologies, finding one’s voice, skills and tools in the context for design as research and its materialization, dissemination and publication are key.
“Operating within the complexities of contemporary society requires a fundamental understanding of the designed environment and the codes embedded within them,” explains Saskia Van Stein, head of the Critical Inquiry Lab. “This understanding enables meaningful contribution, agential entry points, and the ability to alter the current status quo. A growing awareness of the complexities of these visible and invisible systems—society’s ethical codes and constructs in language, technology, and power relations—is critical in creating a more equitable and inclusive future.” *
The Critical Inquiry Lab welcomes participants from any professional background who want to question and unpack the world around them. Students will embark on both individual and collective learning trajectories. A core part of the course is the student-led organization of (semi-)public events, which contribute to conversations through the lens of design, addressing both the design community and the world beyond. In their second year, students will select a research domain to guide them towards a final project and a thesis, which can take a wide variety of forms. Students are actively encouraged to be experimental in their research, design and approach of making their works public.
The Critical Inquiry Lab is a transdisciplinary design course, which aims to foster in-depth critical studies of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation, and citizenship. The teaching team’s diversity and guidance reflect this aim.
*quote taken from interview with Nadine Botha
Anna Maria Michael
José Tomás Pérez Valle
Sofia Irene Marmolejo B
Esteban Gomez Rosselli
Ana Lisa Aperovich-O’Brien
Rab Messina Cruz
Megan Elisabeth Dinius
Anna Mea Hoffmann
HEAD OF DEPARTMENT
Saskia van Stein (Sep 2019–present)
Agata Jaworska (2018–2019)
Tamar Shafrir (2018–2019)
Alice Twemlow (2017–2018)
Justin McGuirk (2015–2017)
Gijs de Boer (Sep 2019–present)
Karolien Buurman (2018–2019)
TUTORS & GUESTS (2018–2020)
Maziar Afrassiabi (director cultural institute RibRib), Amal Alhaag (curator / radio host), Nick Axel (theorist), Anke Bangma (director TENT), Christiane Berndes (curator and head of collections Van Abbemuseum), René Boer (curator / researcher), Loes Bogers (researcher), Nadine Botha (design curator/writer), Irene Cieraad (cultural anthropologist), Alejandro Cerón (designer / design critic), Annet Dekker (researcher/curator), Theo Deutinger (architect/designer), Charles Esche (director Van Abbemuseum), Annie Fletcher (curator), Gabriel Fontana (social designer), Diana Franssen (curator), Emiliano Gandolfi (urban curator), Wesley Goatley (artist/theorist), Philippine Hoegen (performance artist / writer), Jeremy Jansen (designer), Agata Jaworska (curator), Koen Kleijn (critic), Jaap Knevel (designer), Arif Kornweitz (researcher/co-founder Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee), Silvio Lorusso (designer / writer), Geert Lovink (critic / writer), Gabriel A. Maher (designer), Justin McGuirk (curator), Gemma Medina (researcher / curator), Wineke van Muiswinkel (documentary maker), Simone Niquille (designer/researcher), Wendelien van Oldenborgh (visual artist), Margarita Osipian (curator/moderator), Paolo Patelli (artist / researcher), Paolo Patelli (artist / researcher), Shailoh Phillips (researcher), Antonis Pittas (artist), Marthe Prins (graphic designer), Patricia Reed (writer/designer), Vera van der Seyp (graphic designer), Chris Sigaloff (cultural enabler), Lisette Smits (curator), Timo de Rijk (director Design Museum), Tamar Shafrir (design researcher/writer), ,Irina Shapiro (designer/initiator Open Set), Saskia van Stein (curator/author), James Taylor-Foster (writer/curator), Steven Ten Thije (curator Van Abbemuseum), Vincent Thornhill (designer), Katía Truijen (media theorist), Erik Viskil (film researcher), Linda Vlassenrood (curator/writer), Lua Vollaard& (curator), Alex Walker (graphic designer), Sacha Wieneke (architect).