Alice Twemlow ↓

Co-head of department

Alice Twemlow is a design curator, educator, event organiser and writer based in Amsterdam. She is programme manager for the Amsterdam Research Institute for the Arts and Sciences and her book, Sifting the Trash: A History of Design Criticism in the US and the UK Since 1950, will be published by MIT Press in Spring 2017. Previously she was the founding chair of the SVA MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism in New York, 2008-2016. Twemlow writes and lectures on all aspects of design culture, and has recently contributed essays and reviews to Dirty Furniture, History of Design Journal, Graphisme en France (CNAP, 2016), Design Observer, Eye, Iconic Designs: 50 Stories about 50 Things (Berg, 2014), Lolita—Story of a Cover Girl: Vladimir Nabokov’s Novel in Art and Design (Print, 2013), and The Aspen Complex (Sternberg Press, 2012), among other publications.

She is a member of the Environmental Humanities Centre at VU University Amsterdam, and conducts research into the material manifestations and the meanings of product design when it becomes trash, via the social behaviors, infrastructures, economies, governance, language, and systems of practice that shape and gather around its disposal. She is also developing an exhibition about self-destructing design, titled ‘Design Will Eat Itself’. Twemlow is a strong advocate for the enriching role of research in design education, and often speaks at education conferences on this topic. Twemlow has an MA and a Ph.D from the History of Design program run jointly by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art in London.

Justin McGuirk ↓

Co-head of department

Justin McGuirk is the chief curator at the Design Museum London. He has been the director of Strelka Press, the design critic of The Guardian, and the editor of Icon magazine. In 2012 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture for an exhibition he curated with Urban Think Tank. His book Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture is published by Verso.

Nick Aikens ↓

Tutor in Museology and Curation

Nick Aikens is a curator at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, where he works on exhibitions, publications and the museum’s research programme. He was part of the curatorial team for the ‘Museum of Arte Útil’ (2013) and recently curated ‘Positions’ (2014), a series of presentations by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Céline Condorelli, Bouchra Khalili, Charles van Otterdijk and Koki Tanaka. Aikens has edited and contributed to publications including Toward as Lexicon of Usership (ed. Stephen Wright, Van Abbemuseum, 2013), Too Much World: The Films of Hito Steyerl (Sternberg Press, 2014) and The Company She Keeps. Céline Condorelli (Book Works, 2014). His articles and reviews have been published by Afterall, Frieze and Flash Art. He is a member of the editorial board of the research platform L’Internationale Online, a faculty member at the Dutch Art Institute, and a Research Associate at CCC – HEAD, Geneva (2016-17). Aikens’ recent research and exhibition projects have sought to complicate the relationship between art and use, and understand the change in relationship between the state and emergent civil societies in the 1980s through different cultural practices. He has BA and MA degrees from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Nick Axel ↓

Tutor in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Nick Axel is an architect, designer, editor, theorist and critic. He is deputy editor of e-flux Architecture and a researcher at Forensic Architecture where he specializes in interactive database projects. Previously he was managing editor of Volume Magazine. He was a Winter Resident at Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) in 2014-2015, where he designed the National Spatial Plan and policy for stone extraction in the West Bank. Axel has recently led courses in architecture, urbanism and design at Strelka Institute, Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and The Bartlett UCL. Axel received an MA from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London, with a dissertation on the deregulation of hydraulic fracturing in the United States and its political implications in a legal context of private property.

Christiane Berndes ↓

Tutor in Museology and Curation

Christiane Berndes is Curator and Head of Collections of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Among her recent projects are: ‘The Collection Now’, a changing collection presentation including commissions and experimental mediation projects (2013-2017); ‘Play Van Abbe’, a two-year programme centred on the museum’s collection, and including exhibitions, commissions, projects, lectures, publications and a symposium (2009-2011); and ‘Plug In; Re-imagining the Collection’, a series of 54 small presentations involving several guest curators (2006-2009). As a member of the steering committee of the SBMK (Foundation for the Conservation of Contemporary Art) from 2000 until 2014, Berndes was involved in several research projects concerning the conservation and re-installation of video art, performance and installation art. She studied Art at Jan van Eyck Academy, Maastricht and Art History at Utrecht University.

Evelien Bracke ↓

Tutor in Collaborative Projects

Evelien Bracke is an independent curator and project coordinator. Since 2010 she has worked for Z33, a contemporary art museum in Hasselt, where she has curated and coordinated several exhibitions, including: ‘Atelier à Habiter’, (2013-2014); ‘The Wilde Things’, (2013-2014) which presented the contemporary jewellery collection of Mrs. Wilde; ‘All the Knives’, (2012) where visitors could receive any printed story on request; ‘Mind the System, Find the Gap’ (2012); and ‘MANUFACTUUR 3.0’, within the context of the city triennial Hasselt-Genk. Bracke has been involved in various research projects at Sint Lucas University College of Art and Design Antwerp, and she holds an MA in Art History from Ghent University.

Diana Franssen ↓

Tutor in Museology and Curation

Diana Franssen is Curator and Head of Research at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Between 1991 and 2005 she was head of the Library and Archive department at the Van Abbemuseum, which she built into a respected knowledge centre on contemporary art and contextual issues. She curated the group show ‘Positions III: Natasja Kensmil, Rossella Biscotti, Maryam Jafri and Duncan Campbell’, and has curated solo exhibitions on Cosey Fanny Tutti, Lynda Benglis, Piero Gilardi, Mark Lewis, herman de vries and Jan van Toorn. Additionally, Franssen developed the exhibition project ‘Living Archive’, was part of the curatorial team for ‘Play Van Abbe’ and the collection presentation ‘Once upon a time’, with special focus on the DIY-archive project, and co-curated the exhibition ‘Chapter 2: Museum modules’ and ‘A Republic of Art’, ‘The 80s. The beginning of now?’ Franssen is co-editor of L’Internationale Online, the publishing platform for the museum confederation. Franssen studied Art at the Art Academy in Tilburg and Art History at the University of Utrecht.

Agata Jaworska ↓

Tutor in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Agata Jaworska is a curator based in Amsterdam who has worked with partners such as Bureau Europa, The New Institute, the Design Department at Sandberg Institute, Creative Industries Fund NL and Marres, amongst others. Recent exhibitions include: ‘In No Particular Order’ for the Stimuleringsfonds; ‘Sense Nonsense’ at the Van Abbemuseum; ‘Phenomenal’ at the Museo Madre, Napoli; ‘Coming Soon: Real Imaginary Futures’ for Bureau Europa; and ’Dialetheia’ and ‘Underbelly’ with the Sandberg Design Department. With Giovanni Innella, Jaworska is exploring a curatorial model that brings together design and popular culture. As a duo they have curated the travelling exhibition ‘Domestic Affairs’ (Cologne, Shenzhen, Doha) and ‘The Life Fair’ (The New Institute) amongst others.

She is active in design education at Sandberg Instituut, Royal College of Art (London), ArtEZ Institute of the Arts (Arnhem), Willem de Kooning Academy (Rotterdam) and Cornell University (New York). Jaworska has an MA from Design Academy Eindhoven. Her graduating project, Made in Transit, was awarded Best Invention by TIME Magazine and was exhibited at MoMA (New York).

Koen Kleijn ↓

Tutor in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Koen Kleijn is an art historian, journalist, documentary film maker and writer. He has written several publications about the history of Amsterdam: De Grachten van Amsterdam (2013), Buiten Amsterdam: Kleine Geschiedenis van de Metropool Regio (2010), Amsterdamse Grachtentuinen (2005), De Amsterdamse Haven 1275-2005 (2005), and Grachtenboek (1991/2). Kleijn is chief editor of RCO Editions, the iPad-app of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and editor of 609, magazine of the Media Foundation. Kleijn contributes to magazines such as De Groene Amsterdammer, Art in America, Museumtijdschrift, Avro Kunst en Cultuur, and Winqen Columbus. Apart from his writing he teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

Stephen Knott ↓

Guest lecturer in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Stephen Knott is a writer, researcher and lecturer in craft theory and history. He is author of Amateur Craft: History and Theory (Bloomsbury, 2015), a book that derived from his AHRC-funded PhD at the Royal College of Art/Victoria and Albert Museum. He is one of the editors of The Journal of Modern Craft and has written articles and reviews for Design and Culture and West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture, Crafts, Textile History and Art Jewelry Forum. He contributed essays to the edited volumes Surface Tensions (Manchester University Press, 2013), Collaboration Through Craft (Bloomsbury, 2013) and Specialism (Open Editions, 2016). Knott was the founder post-doctoral fellow in modern craft at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, and currently is a lecturer in Critical and Historical Studies at Kingston University.

Ernst van der Hoeven & Kirsten Algera ↓

Guest lecturers in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Ernst van der Hoeven is an art historian, landscape artist and publisher. In 2002 he established EVDH, studio for the urban landscape. Kirsten Algera is a writer, design historian and publisher based in Amsterdam. She has worked as a freelance critic, writer, curator and documentary maker for different platforms, most notably the Dutch Broadcast Company VPRO and the Dutch Council for Culture. In 2015 van der Hoeven and Algera launched the biannual design and crafts magazine MacGuffin, in which they explore the life of ordinary things. Praised in international reviews as an ‘imaginative, impeccably researched and irresistible’ biannual, the European Design Award winning magazine takes an object with each issue and explores the manifold stories it generates. Like the Macguffins in Hitchcock films, these things are not the main characters, but the objects that set the story in motion.

Willem Jan Renders ↓

Tutor in Museology and Curation

Willem Jan Renders is curator of Russian Art at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Prior to joining the Van Abbemuseum, he worked at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and as head of Communications in the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Renders is secretary of the Board of the Lissitzky Foundation and a Board Member of GRAD in London. He is currently preparing the exhibition ‘Chagall, Lissitzky, Malevich – The Vitebsk Art School and Unovis 1918 - 1923’ which will be opened in March 2018 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Catharine Rossi ↓

Guest lecturer in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Catharine Rossi is a Senior Lecturer in Design History at Kingston University, London. She is the author of Crafting Design in Italy: From Post-War to Postmodernism (MUP, 2015) and co-editor of The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968–75 (Sternberg Press, 2013) with Alex Coles. She was the co-curator of Radical Disco: Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965–1975 with Sumitra Upham at the ICA (December 2015 – January 2016) and curated the installation ‘Space Electronic: Then and Now’ at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. She has written for a number of publications, academic journals and magazines including The Journal of Design History, The Journal of Modern Craft, Crafts, Disegno and Domus. Current and recent research projects include investigating the maker movement in China, considering what Robinson Crusoe can do for design and craft, and exploring the relationship between discos and design.

Steven ten Thije ↓

Tutor in Museology and Curation

Steven ten Thije is research curator at the Van Abbemuseum and a project coordinator of the five-year European program ‘The Uses of Art’, on the legacy of 1848 and 1989, (2013-2018) organised by the Museum l’International confederation. He is coordinator of The Autonomy Project and co-organiser of the Autonomy Project Symposium (2010) with Jacques Rancière and Thomas Hirschhorn. He is also one of the initiators of stone in the pond, an interdisciplinary think tank that studies the relationship between art and democracy. ten Thije has published articles, reviews, and essays in such publications as Moments (ZKM, 2013), L’Internationale—Post-war avant-gardes between 1957 and 1986 (JPR Ringer, 2012), and Exhibiting the New Art (afterall, 2010). He studied Art History and Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and is currently working on a PhD at the University of Hildesheim on the genealogy of the exhibition curator.

Noam Toran ↓

Guest lecturer in Writing and Exhibition Curating

Noam Toran’s work involves the creation of intricate narratives developed as a means to reflect upon the interrelations of history, memory, cinema and literature. The work is exhibited, screened and published internationally, notably at the CNAC Pompidou (Paris), Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Venice Architecture Biennale, London Architecture Biennale, Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Witte de With (Rotterdam), MuHKA (Antwerp), Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Baltic Contemporary (Newcastle), London Design Festival, Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), Center for Contemporary Art (Tel Aviv), Musée D’Art Moderne (Luxembourg), Miyake Studio Gallery (Tokyo), Kulturhuset (Stockholm) and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin). Toran is currently represented by Rawart Gallery in Tel Aviv, and is a research fellow at Het Nieuwe Institute in Rotterdam.

Noortje van Eekelen
& Belle Phromchanya ↓

Founders of The Common Affairs

The Common Affairs is an interdisciplinary research platform bassed in Amsterdam that investigates the points of intersection between design practice and journalism and experiments with new approaches to engaging with contemporary issues. Noortje van Eekelen is a designer, visual researcher, and writer with experience working for the Dutch newspapers Financieele Dagblad and NRC Handelsblad and at design firms Thonik, Studio Dumbar and Fabrique. Belle Phromchanya is a designer, filmmaker, and visual researcher, who uses visual communication tools to observe and comment on cultural identity, migration, political memes, and East-West power shifts, among other topics. Both Van Eekelen and Phromchanya hold a MA Design from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.