In-depth sessions

In-depth sessions


From 2011 on, Shapeshifters is – next to the public lectures,  organising in-depth sessions for the Typo/Graphics master’s students from the Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design. These sessions stimulate the debate about the future of a highly evolving graphic landscape and visual culture in general.

In 2011, 4 sessions are scheduled:

1 and 2 March: The Design Game, by Petr van Blokland
3 March: Session by Karsten Schmidt
(Soon more information available)
5 and 6 April: Critical visualisation, by Peter Crnokrak & Karin von Ompteda
28 and 29 April: Visual essay of a building, by Lizá Ramalho & Artur Rebelo (R2)

The Design Game

by Petr van Blokland

When: Tuesday and Wednesday 1 and 2 March 2011, 10 am
Where: Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design
This in-depth session is open for all students of the department Graphic design after registration (

Too often students reason from their own experience, without checking if these assumptions are based on true and valid practice. Design education walks in the edge. It is the teacher’s task to stimulate students to develop their intuition. Cultivated opportunism is for the designer-to-be an important instrument to survive. But in the mean time a student needs to develop a package of rational criteria to the right design paths.
During the design courses, the discussion about the created work is simply not enough. Most students don’t have enough experience to self-reflect on their design process.
The Design Game is created from this need.

Why a design simulation game?
Teaching design is hard. Design as profession exists on the edge of creativity and intuition on one side, and fulfilling external requirements on the other. Teaching design is making students to learn to keep the right balance between these two sides, which at first seem to be contradicting. When experience builds up, students will become aware that the one side exists only because the other does. Choosing the right balance is not a compromise but a logical consequence of creating something new that solves existing problems.
Students are expected to start thinking about the process itself and not just about the final results of their work. Their ability to ‘Design their design process’ is one of the requirements that students are judged on during their education.
This thesis will discuss the development of the game, its history, rules, conditions and requirements. Some theoretical background on design will be discussed to emphasis on the connection between the game and design practice.
Since design, by definition, does not have a thoroughly defined scientific basis, results of the game cannot be measured in hard numbers. But the number of times that the game took place shows nevertheless some interesting conclusions, that can be translated into situations to make students aware of useful templates for their own design process and their relation with customers.

Critical visualisation

by Peter Crnokrak & Karin von Ompteda

When: Tuesday and Wednesday 5 and 6 April 2011, 9 am
Where: Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design


This project is an immersion into data visualisation as a critical design and art practice. Students will work in pairs to undertake explorations into the World Values Survey. Over a day and a half, students will integrate divergent expertise and perspectives in their task to visually tell stories held within the data. The central challenge will be to produce a project that challenges current thinking.
While the art and design contribution to data visualisation is receiving increasing attention, it remains controversial, particularly with regard to the topics of subjectivity and aesthetics. This workshop addresses the important subjective role of the artist and designer by revolving around one set of data, to be interpreted by visual arts students. Ultimately, the final projects taken as a whole – employing the art and design arsenal of beauty, metaphor, emotion, humour, and narrative – will address the issue of what creatives bring to the field of data visualisation.

The data set

A global network of social scientists have compiled the World Values Survey; a repository of human perspectives on topics including faith, trust, happiness, morality and human rights. The challenge for students will be to critically visualise any aspect of the data, producing outcomes that challenge current thinking.

Things That Will Happen

1. Lecture on art and design contributions to data visualisation
2. Group exploration of the World Values Survey
3. Software tutorial on data visualisation/exploration
4. Discussion of production methods and media of projects
5. One-on-one tutorials with Peter and Karin
6. Critique and discussion of dissemination venues

Links of Interest

Visual essay of a building

by Lizá Defossez Ramalho & Artur Rebelo (R2)

When: Thursday and Friday 28 an 29 April, 9 am

Where: Sint-Lukas Brussels University College of Art and Design

Things That Will Happen

The objective of this in-depth session is to elaborate a visual essay that will serve as a conceptual framework for a building that performs a very particular function.
The proposal consists in developing an experimental project in which questions of identity are seen and graphically represented in a critical way. Throughout, we will discuss concepts, approaches and design processes.
At the beginning of the session, we will introduce the design brief, the building and its function, as well as other important details in relation to the project. The project will be taken on in pairs. At the end of the workshop, each group will present and defend their proposal.


Each participant should bring various materials in order to have a range of media on hand, a laptop in addition to a photographic camera.