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AMS on Site: Curating the City


Admission requirements

The following courses need to be passed:

  • Freshman's Class

  • Academic Skills II

  • One BA2 Seminar


This working group begins with the premise that the contemporary globalized city is a site of curation. We will approach the built environment as a collection of buildings, images, performances, interfaces, media infrastructures and objects of design. Such entities interact with one another and these interactions, in turn, shape the experience of the city’s users: its inhabitants and its visitors. Since the first emergence of urban life, cities have been recognized as sites uniquely suited to creative expression and technological innovation, two forms of production that respond to societal circumstances, while also generating new conditions. Building on these traditions, art and design are increasingly deployed by artists, institutes and policy makers today to address specific urban issues. All the while, the urban environment is undergoing radical transformation. Its designs, spaces, networks and buildings should be recognized as political agents which participate in and contribute to, these changes. Think of smart city furniture, networked infrastructure, interactive facades and self-sustaining buildings. Given recent shifts in pedagogy and practice, driven in part by the interests of the tech industry, one would expect the interdependence of art, design, digital technology and architecture to further intensify. As such, the built environment will have an even larger effect on its users, a phenomenon which motivates one of the central questions of this course: what do the objects, buildings, and infrastructures in our surroundings do to us?

Within AMS on Site, the urban environment will serve as both the site of our work and the object of our critical reflection. This course aims to anticipate the most pressing issues that are shaping (and will continue to shape) contemporary, globalized, curated cities. We will interrogate these issues both theoretically and from a practical perspective by means of small-scale, socially aware design interventions.

You will bring theories and approaches to the arts, media and society into productive contact with practice. You will do so through enquiry-based learning – a mode of learning in which you, as students, actively engage the central theme of the course by identifying problems and posing questions. Instead of the teacher presenting facts, theories, and knowledge, you will now assume the responsibility for devising and investigating a research topic.

The teacher will help you and advise you during the process and they will also administer certain assignments (such as peer-to-peer review, mind maps and writing exercises), but in the end, you are steering the process. In groups you will develop a subtheme that relates to the central theme of “Curating the City.” You will develop a conceptual framework and a research question that you will then investigate and probe further in a (partly) out-of-the classroom setting (e.g. the city: its squares, buildings, streets, objects, and institutes, including libraries and archives) from the multiple angles of arts, media and society.

We expect you to keep a record of your activities during the course in the form of a notebook and you will also be required to collect a variety of audio-visual data and other materials. This audio-visual material is vital to supplement and exemplify the ongoing record of research described in your diary. It can be used to present the results of your enquiry as part of the exhibition at the end of the course and may also offer useful material for your final essay.

Course objectives

  • Students learn to engage with enquiries into real-world issues and practices through the lenses of Arts, Media and Society.

  • Students learn to reflect on relationships between agency and materiality within an urban context.

  • Students learn to study the built environment from the context of the interrelatedness between art, design and architecture and learn to draw parallels between the present-day city and those of the past, thereby bridging historical and contemporary notions of the city.

  • Students learn to become sensitive to the social and cultural diversity within the urban environment.

  • Students learn to develop the skills necessary for remembering and recording ‘evidence’ of their observations and experiences.

  • Students learn to use material gathered as a basis for critical reflection and further research.

  • Students learn to document and demonstrate their personal development across the duration of the course.

  • Students learn to situate a chosen theme in relation to the literature of a chosen research field.

  • Students learn to use methods to critically analyse their own experiences and positionality in relation to concepts and theories.

  • Students learn to work in teams.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

  • Workshops

  • Excursions

  • Fieldwork

Assessment method


  • Exhibition (40%).

  • Paper (60%).


The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 at (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass).


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed. As far as applicable all resits/ rewrites take place at the same time, after the final (constituent) examination.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will be organized.

Reading list

Literature will be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For general questions, contact the coordinator of studies.