Art and design researchers can contribute in interesting ways to engaging citizens, policy makers, private partners and other participants to participate in public space (issues). The methods of doing so are, however, underexplored. Therefore, the FP7, Marie Curie Multi-ITN project ‘TRADERS’ (short for ‘Training Art and Design Researchers in Participation for Public Space’) researches the ways in which art and design researchers can ‘trade’ or exchange with multiple participants and disciplines in public space projects and – at the same time – trains them in doing so.

Five early stage art and design researchers and one sociological researcher will test and develop a specific method on which art and design researchers can rely when working on public space projects in participatory way, being intervention, play, multiple performative mapping, data-mining and modelling in dialogue. These researchers will also investigate how these methods fit in a larger methodological framework that can guide future artists and designers (or researchers and practitioners in other disciplines) to work in participatory and public space contexts.

TRADERS brings together a wide range of disciplines such as visual arts, design, architecture and music. TRADERS allows to bundle the strength of the different disciplines to commonly approach other (non-A&D) disciplines and sectors.

The project commenced on 1 September 2013 and runs for four years (until 31 August 2017).

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Pablo Calderón Salazar // Intervention
LUCA School of Arts – Campus C-Mine, Genk

Annelies Vaneycken // Play
University of Gothenburg

Naomi Bueno de Mesquita // Multiple Performative Mapping
Design Academy Eindhoven

Saba Golchehr // Data-Mining
Royal College of Art

Jon Geib // Modelling In Dialogue
Chalmers University

Michael Kaethler // Meta-Framework
KU Leuven




TRADERS is coordinated by Dr. Veerle Van der Sluys (veerle.vandersluys@luca-arts.be) and Jessica Schoffelen (jessica.schoffelen@luca-arts.be), with administrative support of Ilse Stouten (ilse.stouten@luca-arts.be) (LUCA School of Arts (campus C-mine), Belgium).


Intervention (an act or fact of intervening) in public spaces can be understood as a participatory act performed to stimulate (public) involvement in order to create social awareness regarding a.o. public issues. This approach is investigated in the context of some of the research groups of the Faculty of Arts, involved with participatory and public space contexts (“]pyblik[“, Art, Space and Context, Music Education and Music Therapy links), the art centre Z33, and is led by the research group Social Spaces.
Contact: Dr. Veerle van der Sluys (veerle.vandersluys@luca-arts.be)

Focusing on design as a means of creating meaning rather than solving problems, this research approach addresses how public space can be re-conceptualized and materialized in perspective of the particular challenges and opportunities provided by children and young adults. This research approach is developed by the Goeteborgs Universitet in Sweden, in collaboration with the company KOMPAN.
Contact: Dr. Henric Benesch (henric.benesch@hdk.gu.se)

Multiple mapping refers to developing a multi-layered map: a (digital) map that not only depicts the conventional spatial patterns in the area, but also the different stakeholders’ understanding of the area, how they actually use it, experience it, value it and what they expect from it. The Public Space Department of Design Academy Eindhoven leads this research topic in collaboration with STBY.
Contact: Dr. David Hamers (David.Hamers@pbl.nl)

As our ability to sense, gather and compute data increases at an exponential rate due to digital technologies, RCA will expose the researchers to the conceptual and methodological issues concerning the gathering and management of large datasets that cannot be computed manually. This research method is explored by RCA in collaboration with Commonplace Dig. Ltd.
Contact: Prof. Susannah Hagan (susannah.hagan@rca.ac.uk)

Modelling in Dialogue serves as both a systemic tool for handling data and a mode to analyse, re-work and re-frame on-site interventions in explorative laboratory contexts. Modelling renders means to visualise and communicate new possibilities and uses both digital and hands-on techniques. This approach is researched by the Architectural department of Chalmers Tekniska Hoegskola in collaboration with the city of Gothenburg.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Catherina Dyrssen (dyrssen@chalmers.se)

The meta-framework is developed for artists and design researchers (or researchers and practitioners in other disciplines) who want a guideline to approaching participation in public space contexts. To develop this framework a sociological researcher at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven investigates how the 5 research approaches (intervention, play, mapping, data-mining and modelling) communicate and collaborate with each other. Since art and design processes are never linear, different sequences between the five research approaches (and within the meta-framework) are possible.
Contact: Prof. Dr. Frank Moulaert (frank.moulaert@asro.kuleuven.be) and Prof. Dr. Hilde Heynen (Hilde.Heynen@asro.kuleuven.be).