Call for Participation MAB Academy

Call for Participation MAB Academy

The Media Architecture Biennale is a biennial event, featuring workshops, a conference, and an exhibition that attracts designers, architects, urban planners, artists, academics in media, design and urban studies, and industry practitioners. The Biennale brings together professionals in the field of media architecture, an emerging interdisciplinary field that is concerned with the mutual shaping of media technologies and urban form and culture, through art, design, and critical reflection.

Media Architecture and Urban Interaction design is an emerging (inter)disciplinary field, with educational programs, research groups, and design offices around the world starting to explore its content and boundaries. Many run into similar issues and questions: what competencies do professionals in the field need, and what methodologies are best suited for combining design, education, and research?

Starting as a new initiative at the 6th edition of the Media Architecture Biennale, the aim of the MAB Academy is to help train the media architects of tomorrow. To do so, the MAB Academy invites into dialogue creative professionals, academic researchers, educators, and program coordinators to explore together in a communal effort how this can be achieved. Early career researchers and PhD students are expressly invited to also contribute to the working sessions, by bringing in good practices around their use of education, collaborations and frameworks in research, and by formulating needs and wants.


Important dates

  • Deadline for submission: EXTENDED to Fall 2020
  • Notification of acceptance: To be announced
  • MAB Academy: June 28-29, 2021


How to participate

Send a short letter of intention to the chairs and organizing team via, with:

  • Name, contact details, and affiliation
  • Your connection to the general theme of media architecture (e.g. research, teaching, artistic/design practice, industry, policy, etc.)
  • Which session(s) you wish to attend
  • Whether you’d like to share in max. 5 minutes one of your own cases or projects during one of the working sessions (if so, please describe)
  • Any additional suggestions, questions, angles, or propositions you’d like to see being discussed during the working sessions

As an invitation-only track, MAB Academy will not charge an entry fee.


Approach: Working table sessions

The MAB Academy kicks off with a series of three working table sessions. During these sessions, the MAB Academy will focus on the following topics:

  • Practices – How do we teach the interdisciplinary field of media architecture, and what theoretical inspirations, creative methods, and formats are we using? This working table serves to kick off the debate by exchanging knowledge and inspiration, and by articulating our needs and desires
  • Collaborations – How can we work more closely together as a field and simultaneously forge crossovers with adjacent fields (including computer science, planning, social sciences, policy science). Could we try to set up a networked MAB Academy with an exchange program, community events, joint projects, etc.? This working session aims at developing ad hoc communal tactics for carving out and strengthening the field
  • Frameworks – What institutional frameworks are needed in order to make the field of media architecture grow and blossom, through e.g. funding schemes, different review procedures, curriculum changes, organizational changes, industry involvement, etc.? This working session will formulate longer-term strategies for anchoring media architecture institutionally


Questions that will be addressed

How can art and design practitioners and academic scholars collaborate in setting a shared agenda for media architecture around societally relevant contemporary challenges? How can we develop creative methods that integrate aims and tools across different relevant domains? How can we experiment and share insights with pedagogical frameworks and teaching formats? How does interdisciplinarity take shape in inter-professional and inter-institutional realms of academia, curation, design, and commerce? How do we deal with ethics of working in public spaces, and with ever-changing technologies? How do we involve public participation in our work? What are meaningful interfaces for public space and civic engagement? How should we deal with the politics of platforms and infrastructures that we use? How do we relate to emergent research agendas (e.g. Horizon Europe) and movements (e.g. Smart Cities)? How do we manage interventions, and govern the knowledge and output created? What could be the next step(s) for the MAB Academy? In order to answer these questions, we will discuss strategic visions (what can media architecture contribute?), methodologies (what are productive research-by-design and design-by-research practices?), collaborations (how do we recognize media architecture as a field in negotiation with other disciplines?) pedagogies (how can we train students for a future career in this interdisciplinary field?), and infrastructures and conditions (e.g. what long-term strategies, networks, and incentives are needed?).


Why participate?

For this program, we seek the participation of artists, designers, and academic researchers, as well as collaboration with educational programs in showcasing best practices and joining discussions. For PhD and early career researchers, the sessions aid in defining and carving out future opportunities and careers in research and education. For art, design, and research practitioners it is a way to showcase their work, network, and receive conceptual insights. For educators and program leaders, directors, and deans, the Academy serves to develop strategic views on their programs.  


Envisioned outcome

Among the envisioned deliverables is an edited volume with short position papers written by participants and invited external professionals. The volume will contain chapters on media architecture and futurescaping, innovative methodologies, and institutional frameworks for education and research. Furthermore, the MAB Academy connects to other relevant MAB20 sessions: the educational program, and a symposium with innovative Dutch architecture offices. Moreover, the MAB Academy will feature in an Archis/Volume special issue that will be published in advance.


Provisional schedule

  • Working session 1 (10:00 – 12:00)
  • Working session 2 (13:00 – 15:00)
  • Working session 3 (15:15 – 17:15)
  • Public wrap-up with take-aways and next steps (17:30-18:00, open to general audience)


More information & Contact

Contact organizers via

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MAB Academy Chairs

Katharine Willis, University of Plymouth

Alex Aurigi, University of Plymouth

Andrew Vande Moere, KU Leuven


Organizing team: Michiel de Lange and Nanna Verhoeff, Utrecht University.


The Media Architecture Biennale 2020-21 is organized by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Utrecht University.

Executive Committee & General Chair: Martijn de Waal, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences; Frank Suurenbroek, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences; Nanna Verhoeff, Utrecht University; and Michiel de Lange, Utrecht University. Program Chairs: Dave Colangelo, George Brown College Toronto; and Ava Fatah, UCL Bartlett.

Download the PDF of this call.