The Network Archives Design and Digital Culture invites applications for a Research Residency taking place over the three-month period September – November 2022. The residency programme aims to explore the potential of networked infrastructures for archival practices in design and digital culture. What might we learn by archiving these domains through decentralised structures? What tensions might such approaches uncover? And what challenges might they pose? Proposals addressing these issues can be submitted until the 10th of April 2022 (23:59 CET). Two residency positions will be awarded, with a stipend of 5,000 euros each.
A virtual world visited by hundreds of strangers from their homes. A typeface read across thousands of screens. Design and digital culture practices are anything but static, singular and easily localised. Memory formed in and through these domains is inherently (inter)connected.
A handful of connections might be modelled as a network, but one where the focus lies on the links rather than the nodes. The ‘connective turn’, a term by Andrew Hoskins (2010), frames for example how new media have transformed memory; through more networked connections across space and time. Today’s design and digital culture practices are directly tied up in this process — formative, therefore, of more distributed and networked memory landscapes (as infrastructure), as well as caught up in them (as content). Heritage in these domains, is in turn just as interconnected, dynamic and distributed. Static, centralised approaches to its preservation seem hardly fitting then. Think, for example, of an Instagram story viewed and shared across different screens or a hashtag used and reused in countless posts.
In what ways can research, design and development processes be retraced and preserved? How might social context be captured in ways intelligible for the future? How can our focus shift from the excavation of objects towards the links that exist between them? Who decides what is preserved and for whom? What modes of access are available to existing archives? These are some of the broad questions underlying approaches to archiving design and digital culture heritage that sketch out a fuzzy base to this open call for researchers in residence.
Against this backdrop, the Research Residency programme looks to explore the different dimensions and connections of a decentralised approach to archiving. Through this open call applicants are invited to speculate about the potential of decentralised archives.
The Network Archives Design and Digital Culture aims towards a sustainable and accessible approach to archiving design and digital culture heritage in the Dutch context. In practice, these fields lack systematic archiving efforts. Knowledge and expertise in these domains, as well as the archival material itself, is scattered. Set up as a partnership, the Network Archives Design and Digital Culture adopts a decentralised approach to tackling this issue.
This Research Residency programme invites researchers, theorists, artists, designers, developers, archivists and others with an affinity for the field(s) to critically examine the potential of networked infrastructures for archival practices in design and digital culture. What might we learn by archiving these domains through decentralised structures? What tensions might such approaches uncover? And what challenges might they pose?
Departing from these questions, this residency asks applicants to view ‘the archive’ as a part of a decentralised system and reflect on ways in which it might be approached and used as a result.
The Network Archives Design and Digital Culture encourages applications from individuals or collectives interested in archival research. Through their proposed project, applicants are invited to explore connections between different design and digital culture archives and the material kept in them.
Applicants’ proposals should address the issue of decentralised archival practices; what might we learn through archiving design and digital culture through a decentralised approach? This might, for example, be in the form of a direct reflection, or through exploring a methodology in practice. The researchers in residence are not expected to set up a new archive.
To think beyond a central point, applicants are encouraged to pitch research proposals that involve and relate material from at least two different archives or archival institutions.
At least one of the archives should be hosted at a partnering organisation. The Network Archives Design and Digital Culture consists of over 40 partnering organisations and individuals, some of which hold archives and collections. An overview of all the current partners can be found here.
The following partnering organisations are able to provide residents access and support during the residency period:
- Allard Pierson
- Beeld en Geluid
- Eye Film Museum
- Het Nieuwe Instituut
- Imagine IC
- International Institute of Social History
- V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media
Research proposals may focus on a number of the archives from the organisations listed above exclusively, but need not be limited to them. Projects that make connections with other archives – both in terms of affiliation and structure – are welcome and encouraged.
About the Research Residency
The Network Archives Design and Digital Culture offers two Research Residency positions for a period of three months, starting in September 2022. The exact dates will be agreed upon selection. A stipend of 5,000 euros is available for each residency.
There is no age limit for applicants. Individuals and collectives from all places of residence are invited to apply. Neither a curriculum vitae nor letters of recommendation are requested. The residencies are open to all degree levels in all disciplines (design and digital culture). Equal priority will be given to those without a degree or institutional affiliation who can also demonstrate a high level of creativity, critical thought and other potential in their respective fields.
Researchers in residence are responsible for arranging their own accommodation. Residents will be required, corona regulations permitting, to conduct hands-on archival research as a part of their project. Availability to be onsite at the selected archival organisations for (a part of) the residency period is therefore preferred.
At the end of the three-month period, residents will be asked to deliver the outcomes of their research in a publishable and shareable format. This is intentionally left open to accommodate the different methodologies and mediums that applicants may choose to work with.
A pre-selection of applicants will be made by members of the Network Archives Design and Digital Culture team: Tanja Zuijderwijk, Brigitte Jansen, Alexandra Barancová.
A jury will then select the two residents. The jury will be made up of five experts from the fields of design and digital culture.
The members of the jury will have access to all applications and can add any proposal to the pre-selection list at their discretion. All applications will be reviewed on the basis of their engagement with the residency theme, depth of investigation, idiosyncrasy, connection to archival material and potential for exchange within and across heritage, design and digital culture practices.
Submission requirements and deadline
Applications may be submitted from the 17th of February to the 10th of April 2022, 23:59 CET.
Send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your application should include:
- A self-introduction: video (maximum 2 mins) or text (maximum 300 words). In the case of video, please include a link to the video file, along with necessary access codes where applicable.
- A research project proposal: text (maximum 500 words) and images (up to 10). Please mention specific archives that you aim to focus on in your research project. If any of these are not hosted at one of the partnering institutions listed above, please indicate how you plan to access them.
- A proposed working calendar and methodology (maximum 400 words).
- Contact information (full name, country of residence, email address, phone number)
Applications, including all supplementary material, should be submitted by attachment as a single PDF, consisting of a maximum of five A4 pages. The file name should include your name and the research proposal title in the format: APPLICANTNAME_PROJECTTITLE.pdf
All submitted material should be in English or Dutch. There is no entry fee for the call.
If you have questions, please feel welcome to contact email@example.com.
- How many archives does my research need to focus on?
We encourage applicants to involve material from at least two different archives, minimum one of which should be held by one of the partnering organisations of the Network Archives Design and Digital Culture. These are listed above, under ‘Applications’.
- Some of the partnering organisations listed above have archives, while others have collections. Is it okay if I focus my research on a collection?
This is fine as long as your research involves the respective or related archive too.
- Do I need to explain how I will present my research results in my application?
No, your application should focus on formulating a research topic, methodology and planning. The format and medium for the presentation of your outcomes can be developed during the residency, as part of the research process.
- Can we apply as a group or collective consisting of more than one individual?
Yes, this is possible. The value of the stipend will however remain the same. A single application should be submitted per group.