Autonomous Practices


Autonomy Lab

Autonomy Lab investigates new ways of understanding and creating autonomy, particularly in multidisciplinary artist collectives and self-organizations in diverse world regions.

Making Matters: Bridging Art, Design and Technology through Material Practices

This project investigates collective practices of experimenting with material forms of critique in order to reimagine the world(s) we inhabit; practices that often exist in between contemporary art, design and technological experimentation.

The AUTONOMOUS PRACTICES research program investigates new concepts of “autonomy” in the arts that shift from, critically revise, or even break with, traditional Western notions of aesthetic and artistic autonomy.

In the past decades, and various fields of knowledge such as philosophy, politics, activism, sciences and technology, “autonomy” has gained new meanings, from self-organized life practices to programmed autonomous systems. At the same time, the traditional concept of autonomy in the arts – in its specific Dutch and continental European meaning – has become problematic: among others, through critical revisions of Western enlightenment, romanticist and modernist aesthetics, through multidiscipinary arts practices, and through cultural globalisation.

In close collaboration with WdKA’s Autonomous Practices interfaculty study programme, we explore these newer concepts and practices in workshops, symposia, study groups, publications and practice-oriented research projects. The focus of our research is on contemporary self-organized collectives that work on the boundaries of (and in grey areas between) art, design, research, activism and other fields of experimentation and engagement, locally as well as internationally. We are paying particular attention to non-Western practices.

Our research programme is part of larger developments and debates in the contemporary arts (as manifest, among others, in documenta fifteen 2022 which was curated by the Indonesian ruangrupa collective and whose programme focused on commons and multidisciplinary collectives).

Our long-term goal is to help making these new, implicit concepts of autonomy more explicit, like on this map:

autonomy mapping

This map was made in our ongoing, multi-year research project Autonomy Lab which was funded by Dutch Research Council (NWO) in 2021/22. We also were part of the NWO-funded research project Making Matters (2018-2022) on new, collective material practices in the arts.

(For the self-description of the WdKA Autonomous Practices study curriculum, click here.)

performance at Varia Rotterdam, a self-organized “space for developing collective approaches to everyday technology”.



Florian Cramer

Lector Autonomous Practices

Research Professor Autonomous Practices

Weronika Zielińska-Klein

Programme Leader Autonomous Practices and Research Lecturer

Cristina Cochior

Docent Autonomous Practices

Simon Kentgens

Lecturer and Researcher Autonomous Practices

Arvand Pourabbasi

Lecturer and Researcher Autonomous Practices

Anja Groten

PhD researcher (2018-2022)

Shailoh Phillips


reinaart vanhoe

teacher, researcher, professional doctor candidate

Santiago Pinyol


Carla Arcos

RASL Double Degree Student

Julia Wilhelm

WdKA Alumni

Dirk Vis

researcher, tutor

Danae Tapia

Yunjoo Kwak

researcher, tutor

Alice Strete

researcher, tutor

Ailie Gieseler


Anna-Maria Psyllou

exchange student

Anika van der Meulen

carlota garcia


Eugi Manenti

Francis Belte


Lara de Poorter


Luna Bongers


Natalia Sorzano

researcher, tutor

Noami van Kleef


Sam Niehorster


Sten Heijster


Matthew Fuller

research professor (lector) in Media Design Research, 2002-2006

research professor Media Design Research (2002-2006)

Nana Adusei-Poku

research professor Cultural Diversity and Visual Cultures (2013-2017)

Simon Pummell

Senior Research Lecturer/Hoofdocent