Kick-off NWO Program Smart Culture

By Ginette Verstraete.

Last week the National Organization for Scientific Research in the Hague (NWO) held its official kick-off for the seven research projects that were selected within the NWO Program “Smart Culture–Arts and Culture.” The Program is unique not only because it stimulates collaboration between universities and artistic schools (HBO), but also because of its attention to the makers’ creative practices. The VU is one of the happy grantees with a research project on RE-SOURCING in DESIGN. In a consortium with the Design Academy Eindhoven (David Hamers, presenting the project below) and private partner Studio Ester van de Wiel, Ginette Verstraete will supervise an embedded researcher and contribute towards a book and an exhibition.

Our research brings together two of the most pressing issues our society is facing: social participation and a circular economy. It aims to develop approaches to a number of key aspects of these combined issues, especially the question how we can rethink our urban environment in terms of metabolic flows and adapt these flows to deal with issues such as resource scarcity while simultaneously involving design professionals, students – and to a certain extent inhabitants – as participants in such processes of (radical) change.

To address these issues in conjunction while making these relevant for the design practice, the research proposes both a theoretical (meta) reflection on key concepts and approaches and a concrete, hands-on approach to test them in practice. The focus will be on how the experimental and innovative capacities of the design practice can help re-frame and re-make flows of residual material (“waste”) into resources, what roles the various participants can take in this process, and how their participation can inform the design practice and research.

For more info on the NWO Program, see


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