• PrintMag

Jan Van Eyck Academy

WITHOUT DIPLOMAS, teachers, or even students, the Jan van Eyck Academy is one of a kind in its approach to design, located at the intersection of research, debate, and theory. In lieu of students or professors, researchers and advising researchers individually and collectively explore and partake in critical discourse on projects that have been accepted by the academy’s Editorial Board. Daniel van der Velden, a design department advising researcher, describes Jan van Eyck as “a post-academic research institution.”

Artists, designers, and other academics (who already have a master’s degree and, often, a successful practice) propose research topics; if their topics are accepted, they become researchers at the institution. Researchers at Jan van Eyck try to “understand a whole range of activities under the ‘design’ umbrella,” says van der Velden, with research being the main objective. “Design Negation,” a recent project, was a reassessment of the way right-wing populist political parties try to orchestrate interactive decision-making over the internet. As the project’s advising researcher, van der Velden says, “It is really inspiring to be able to work with smart individuals who all know how to create, but want to get further in their thematic depth of understanding, and want to involve non-design knowledge into their work.” He adds, “Some of the most interesting designers have been here, and they’ve all developed very distinct practices because they were not just interested in design, but in it being a tool in the world.”