LUCA School of Arts (LUCA) is an educational and research environment within which creative talent can develop itself artis stically, performatory and technically. We advance the practice of art, creative design and the development of novel insights, as well as develop a wide range of trainings with a diversity of options and specialisations. Our training programmes comprise professional, academic and advanced studies. LUCA gathers the academic programmes of Product design, Audiovisual and Fine Arts and Music & Drama, as well as the professional training programmes of Visual arts, TV Film, Photography, Interior design and Architecture. LUCA joins the renowned schools, Sint-Lucas Gent, Sint-Lukas Brussel, Narafi, Lemmensinstituut, and campus C-Mine of MAD Faculty.
LUCA School of Art opens up the following position within the Mediated Environments Research Group, campus Brussels:
JUNIOR DESIGN RESEARCHER FOR TWO ACTION-RESEARCH PROJECTS ON URBAN CITIZEN PARTICIPATION (100%)
FUNCTION AND CONTEXT
You will be part of a multidisciplinary team, investigating the potential of new approaches to urban citizen participation, such as by experimenting with new methodologies and design interventions, both non-technological and technological. You will be mainly responsible for the design and realisation of urban interventions, tools and methodologies, developed in close collaboration with other team members focussing more closely on the social and political impact of the interventions. Candidates will be asked to prepare a PhD proposal within the first year of their enrolment on topics relevant to the project.
TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
To develop new inquiry methodologies (in the spirit of urban probes or breaching experiments) in order to make actors, interactions and objects related to micro participatory actions visible;
To prototype and design interventions, artefacts (e.g. IoT, wearables), and toolkits for urban participation, both non-technological and technological;
To prototype interactive designs both on the material, electronics and/or software level, for instance by employing tools such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, OpenFrameworks, and other kits by SparkFun, AdaFruit and others;
To evaluate these interactive designs, both on their social and political impact and on a level of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), such as the clarity of the interfaces and other aspects of user adoption;
To participate to the elaboration of the project’s methodological, technical, and practical framework and to contribute to a critical feedback on the design thinking process, with attention to the specificities and possible rallying points between the various disciplines of the projects;
To facilitate co-creation workshops and to provide a proactive contribution to meetings with the various stakeholders (citizens, associations, institutional partners,…);
To contribute to the communication and redaction of the projects websites and to social media presence;
To contribute to the writing of conference and journal papers, as well as project reports.
You have a Master degree either in interaction design, graphic design, product design, urban design, social design or engineering (software or hardware). Other degrees may also be accepted if the candidate can prove significant experience in the research topics and can demonstrate previous experience through publications and/or portfolio.
Previous experiences and/or strong interests in design research, interdisciplinary collaborations, participatory methods, urban civic media, cartography and critical view of design interventions.
The skills to realize design, both through low and high-fidelity prototyping. We are looking for either designer-maker or developer-maker profiles, with a track-record to integrate technological components in his/her work practice.
Experience with prototyping tools such as laser cutter and/or 3D printer.
Affinities with FLOSS and experience with either Arduino, Particle.io, Raspberry Pi or other microcontroller and/or IoT-capable software and hardware platforms.
Minimum a basic experience with electronics, such as the skills to integrating several break-out boards into a capable system.
Affinities with the other disciplines involved in the projects (social sciences, urban design, architecture or artistic practices) are a plus.
Languages: excellent oral, reading and writing fluency in (academic) English, for integrating the research team; oral, reading and writing fluency in French, for carrying out the fieldwork and meetings with the different stakeholders; basic knowledge of Dutch is a plus, but not a requirement.
Excellent team player and communication skills.
The ability to work independently.
Candidates will be asked to prepare a PhD proposal within the first year of their enrolment on topics relevant to the project. A positive evaluation of the Doctoral Committee will be required.
Full time temporary appointment in the function of Design Researcher for a period of 1 year (March 2018 – 2019). The appointment will be prolonged with at least 1 year on the condition of a positive evaluation of the delivered work combined with a positive evaluation of the PhD proposal. The research projects will last 2 to 4 years.
Salary scale 502 (Assistant)
A first selection will occur based on the submitted dossier;
Selected candidates will be invited for an assessment and interview, between 29/01/2018 and 09/02/2018 (approximately) by a selection commission. Selected candidates will receive full project’s proposals in order to prepare the interview. The interview will focus on the skills and competences of the candidates, as well as on their motivation, including how they envision their contribution to the project;
Appointment by decision of the Board of Directors, taking into account the advice of the selection committee.
For more information about the function, please contact Thomas Laureyssens (project lead) at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW TO APPLY?
We expect your written candidature no later than 22/1/2018;
by e-mail (preferred) to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org (in CC) in PDF format (max. 3Mb or download link),
or by post: LUCA School of Arts, Personnel Department, Alexianenplein 1, 9000 Gent
Your candidature contains a motivation letter in English, a detailed CV (including your portfolio and/or publications list), the contact details of two external referees, a copy of the required diploma, and if relevant, a certificate of equality of the requested diploma. Only full candidatures are accepted.
DETAILED PROJECT INFO
You will be part of the Mediated Environments Research Group, coordinated by Dr. Steven Devleminck and working on both SUCIB and P-LAB projects, with project leader Thomas Laureyssens. The two projects are aimed at supporting the socio-cultural environment in the Brussels Capital Region (with a special focus on two different neighbourhoods: Schaerbeek and the pedestrian area in the City Centre), through knowledge production and setting in motion transformation processes employing action research. They are funded by Innoviris (the Brussels Institute for the encouragement of scientific research and innovation), and are carried out by 3 academic partners:
ULB - Faculté d’architecture La Cambre-Horta (Clara – LoUIsE), coordinated by prof. Judith le Maire, with project leader Rafaella Houlstan-Hasaert.
ULB - Faculté de sciences sociales (GRAP), coordinated by prof. Jean-Louis Genard, with project leader Giulietta Laki.
LUCA - School of Arts / Intermedia, Mediated Environments, coordinated by prof. Steven Devleminck
In collaboration with institutional partners: Schaerbeek town council, Bruxelles-Environnement/ Leefmilieu Brussel, MAD Brussels - MAD in Situ, Brussels Smart City, Atrium Brussels - Retail & Development - Business Unit Development, The Brussels Center observatory and the Brussels Studies Institute.
What does “urban participation” actually mean? The aim of the P-lab project is to open up the definition of participation by pointing out existing minor forms of participation, such as commercial, ludic, technical or artistic practices and actions performed by citizens in the urban realm. These forms do not typically fit the standards of institutional participation procedures, but nevertheless contribute significantly to society. The groundwork of P-lab is an extensive ethnographic survey of such micro participatory citizen actions, in order to dig out specific objects, actions or devices that enable a transition towards the politicization of ordinary practices. The other way around, the research project also tackles “transition enablers” through which public authorities are shifting political issues towards unpolitical procedures and actions (i.e. through the use of social media, entertainment, gamification…). Based on this groundwork, we will experiment different forms of amplifying, hacking, disseminating, these transition enablers by design interventions (as “urban amplifiers”). These interventions will be evaluated critically, both in the larger perspective of best practices, and through the principles and practice of FLOSS. The urban amplifiers are meant to be part of a design research process, with an increasing level of consistency, evolving from simple prototyping to full-blown design solutions for specific urban participatory projects and initiatives.
The urban environment can be described as a wicked problem, meaning that any action taken to tackle an urban issue evolves the situation in unpredictable ways, potentially requiring new types of answers. City-solutions, such as Smart City platforms and city-renewal processes, are often unable to adapt swiftly and efficiently to the ungraspable problems to solve. Top-down approaches are frequently rejected by citizens, while more citizen-driven participatory approaches may not only lead to increased acceptance, but also fosters “smarter” and civically empowered citizens. Our assumption is that there is a role for a toolkit for physical, interactive interventions that intercede in situations using playful tactics. Through keeping such toolkit modular and adaptable, we aim at maximizing its sustainability, as well as stimulate creativity, self-initiative and learning of the participants, and for the research team to critically evaluate a multitude of effects. Can a modular system of ludic urban Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures and services facilitate citizen engagement, constructive social exchanges and self-organisation? If so, how and to which extend? The goal of the Smart Urban Community Interaction Blocks (SUCIB) research project is to design and evaluate a toolkit for creating interactive urban interventions for both placemaking and civic purposes. This toolkit consists of physical IoT components we call Interaction Blocks (IB), as well as an online platform on which these IB’s can be connected and configured. Our aim is to make the IB-toolkit as easy-to-use as possible, allowing divers types of (non-expert) participants to be engaged and empowered to voice their opinions and act in their neighbourhood. The toolkit is developed through two use-cases that are socially and culturally motivated, and two use-cases that address major urban inconveniences such as noise and road works, which tend to generate frictions or conflicts both among citizens and with public authority. Throughout the cases, new insights and tactics on participation and citizenship in the context of social Smart Cities are developed and put into a critical perspective through the multidisciplinary approach of the research team.