01 JRC Key Visual Mobil 01 JRC Key Visual Desktop


More than ten years ago, Switzerland’s MA programmes in design started organizing an annual conference that is specifically dedicated to the research part of the student’s MA theses. Initially, being part of the Swiss Design Network Conferences, in 2020 it is the 10th time that the Junior Research Conference is taking place as an independent event.

In its anniversary year we would like to foster the conference’s student-led approach and, therefore, there will be no overarching topic other than the research projects presented by the students themselves. While doing so, presenting students are asked to shed light on the knowledge gap that their projects are dealing with, their research methodology as well as the intersection between practice and theory.

As a parallel thread to the presenting student’s afternoon workshops there will be an additional workshop on design education called «Unlearning Design». The workshop is open to all participating students and design educators as well. Keep an eye on the junior-research.ch website since the will be a number of online sessions on design



9:30 AM

Welcome Address and Introduction to the Conference

MAIN WEBINAR LINK (remains active all day):
Password: 223859

9:55 AM


10:00 AM

Presentation I-III

Redesign des Lebenszyklus von Polyethylen (PE), Verpackungsfolien und Produktionsabfällen.
Eine moderne Welt ohne Kunststoff ist nicht mehr vorstellbar, das Material Kunststoff ist in unzähligen Bereichen zu finden. Ohne Kunststoff kein Strom und keine elektrische Energie – auch in anderen lebenswichtigen Bereichen ist Kunststoff nicht mehr wegzudenken.
In der Schweiz fallen jährlich 780 000 Tonnen Kunststoffabfälle an, davon werden 650 000 Tonnen der thermischen Verwertung zugeführt, um daraus Energie zu gewinnen.
Die Kunststoffabfälle aus Verpackungen und Produktionsabfällen der Kunststoffindustrie wie auch aus dem Gewerbe sind in der Regel sortenrein und zum Teil kaum verschmutzt. Gemäss BAFU, wird erst 1/4 des Recycling-Potenzials ausgenutzt. Leider hat die Kunststoffindustrie die Kreislaufwirtschaft lange verschlafen, erst in den letzten Jahren wurden erste Bestrebungen unternommen, Kunststoffabfällen einen Wert zu geben, um das Recycling voranzutreiben. Denn gerade in Ländern ohne Abfallbewirtschaftung hat dies prekäre Folgen für die Umwelt und die Menschen. Mein Ziel ist es, aus dem Wertstoff Polyethylen, der als Verpackungs- und aus Produktionsabfällen anfällt, geeignete Produkte zu gestalten, um den Wertstoff Kunststoff mehrmalig dem Wertstoffkreislauf zurückzuführen.

Fractions - Investigating into the current realities of waste streams and recycling.
Investigating into the current realities of waste streams and recycling, this research outlines current processes and a look to the future. In Europe, shredding remains one of the most prominent methods of ‘unmanufacturing’ goods and is utilised in different forms across multiple waste streams from electronics to textiles. All methods of deconstructing waste for recycling create ‘fractions’ - separated specific materials ready to be remanufactured. By design, lack of transparency and inefficiencies in waste processes, fractions, and particularly fractions from shredding processes, are commonly mixed and of poor quality. Behind the regulated waste channels lies a multinational criminal network of illegal waste processing and pollution crimes. These organisations often work on capitalising from more accurate but dangerous human based disassembly, exploiting labour in the third world and poorer regions. The introduction of AI, new manufacturing capabilities and automated processes could allow for, through methods such as embedding information and more effective logistical deconstruction of goods, recycling to become efficient enough to compete with virgin material processes. If this becomes viable it could result in both the reduction of waste and virgin raw material extraction with a transition to urban mining.

Sustainable traditions today - Sustainable fashion design strategies that safeguard Croatian traditional textile handicrafts and thus empower the local artisan community.
Croatia carries a centuries-old tradition of rich cultural heritage, folklore, and diverse textile craft practice. However, with the recent overcoming of mechanical over handcrafted production of fast fashion garments, symbols of one’s cultural identity increase to become silenced within the global echo of fast-changing trends. The interest of this project is to question our role as designers, and it emphasizes the importance of integrating sustainable strategies in fashion practices today by exploring local potential and resources. The topic of this Master’s project focuses on the traditional handiwork techniques such as embroidery, weaving, and lacemaking and the local community of textile artisans in the north-western Podravina area, the Republic of Croatia, whose traditional textile handicrafts have a rich history and relevance. It is orientated towards the empowerment of manual work over mechanical and proposes traditional handicraft practice as a strategy to improve the relationship between the user and a product and achieve re-value in fashion objects to extend the garment’s life cycle. On a social level, it deals with the possibilities of creating a healthy community of textile craftsmen and proposes guidance through their process of adaptation to the demands of the modern market.

10:45 AM

Panel I-III

Angela Meuter (HKB), Maxwell Ashford (ECAL), Eva Vuckovic (HSLU D&K)

11:00 AM



11:30 AM

Presentation IIII-VI

Nature - Culture - Reshaping the nature-culture division by making a digital game.
By looking into the division of nature and culture from the perspective of design and Western philosophy a few issues become apparent. With the rise of computer technology, we find ourselves in a strange position, being both alienated from nature and technology. Neither can we become one with an idealized image of nature, nor can we leave our sensual bodies behind and integrate with a machine network. The proposed way forward is to use technology not as a tool for further acceleration and alienation but as a means to produce new kinds of nature. By looking into the phenomenon of "play" it seems like video games offer a promising way of engaging with technology. Through play, we can cultivate a new way of looking at, depicting, and shaping the world and generate non-paranoid imaginations where ambiguity and diversity are at home.

Sabbath Artifacts - Between automation and religious practice.
Sabbath Artifacts is a research project that investigates the use of technology for spiritual purposes. Drawing on the design of objects dedicated to Judaism practice, it focuses on the creative methods developed, by individuals and companies, to avoid breaking a long list of prohibited activities on the Sabbath day. The Sabbath, which is a holy day from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is considered as a day devoted to physical rest, far from material contingencies. All activities that are perceived as work-related, or that use an energy source are prohibited. Therefore, anything resulting from the activation or deactivation of electrical appliances is prohibited during this day. While technological innovations evolve, objects and tricks developed to avoid breaking these rules are constantly being imagined.In Sabbath Artifacts, these new practices, which aim to contribute to a spiritual experience, will question the relationship between tradition, spirituality, use, and technology.

Tactile Matters.
Der sinnliche Zugang des Menschen zur Welt verändert sich durch zunehmende Digitalisierung und Automatisierung. Welche Möglichkeiten kann Kleidung als zweite Haut bieten, Träger*innen durch gezielte haptische und taktile Reize im Hier und Jetzt zu verorten und positiv auf ihr Selbstbewusstsein zu wirken? Tactile Matters ist eine experimentelle Auseinandersetzung mit dem taktilen Potential von Kleidung. If human’s sensual access to the world is changing as a result of increasing digitalization and automation, what tactile and haptic role could clothing play as second skin to locate its wearer in the here and now and have a positive effect on self-awareness? Tactile Matters is an experimental exploration of the tactile potential of clothing.

12:15 PM


Lena Frei (HGK), Gabriel Abergel (HEAD - GENÈVE), Jennifer Keusgen (HGK)

12:30 PM




1:30 PM

Virtual Campus Tour



2:00 PM

Presentation VII-IX

Magnifying Illusion.
Inventor Nikola Tesla, known as a significant contributor to the electrical revolution of the late 19th century, established a strategy of communication that involved the creation of illusions: While Tesla personally struggled to adapt his inventions to a practical and commercial application, the only way he felt secure was to manipulate the audience‘s perception in order to promote his personal ideals. From live demonstrations popularizing science through magic to the photographic manipulation, this thesis examines the development of Tesla‘s illusive creations along his biography written by the author Bernard Carlson. The focus therefore lays on Tesla‘s extensive photographic execution in Colorado Springs from 1899 to 1900 where he and his photographer documented experiments on the wireless power transmission. Scenes of electrical light in action were composed and captured resulting in images that transmit a fictional plot. Fascinated strongly by his own experiments, Tesla‘s illusions finally took over his own perception of reality.

Caractères SA, Setag, Novatype and the Police - The Manufacture of Type for Typewriters in Switzerland.
This research explores the little known history of three Swiss manufacturers producing type components for typewriters: Caractères SA, Setag and Novatype. First manufacturing metal type bodies for typebars typewriters, they followed the technological evolution in the 1960s introducing plastic injection for printwheels and typeball systems. The three factories were known worldwide for their products and provided an important portion of global production. They supplied the biggest typewriter manufactures such as Remington, IBM or Paillard. They also played a substantial role in the development and production of type for typewriters. Throughout the years, the Zurich Criminal Police closely collaborated with the three manufacturers. The analysis and identification of typewritten documents used to be one of the police’s main field. Today, the polices' archive represents a valuable source of information about typewriter typefaces.

Sunken Landscape - How scientific visualizations help to uncover an archaeological secret - Representations of three-dimensional landscape survey data and their influence on archaeological hypotheses.
Three-dimensional landscape surveying has been part of the daily routine in archaeology for quite some time. This data is not only produced for documentation purposes, but also for interpretation. Conspicuous structures are analyzed in detail and play an important role in the archaeological hypothesis formation. These three-dimensional landscape surveys often take place where a normal human eye would otherwise not be able to get an overview of the situation: namely underwater. That means that these records are often the only existing knowledge about a specific archaeological site. How do you make this knowledge fully accessible? And how must this data be presented to achieve the most effective knowledge gain? These questions will be investigated by research using the example of the so-called Bodensee-Stonhenge, an accumulation of approximately 170 lined-up cairns, ranging over a total distance of more than 15 kilometers in a depth of about 5 meters along the Swiss shoreline of Lake Constance.

2:45 PM

Panel VII-IX

Alessandra Hofmann (HEAD - GENÈVE), Sophie Wietlisb (ECAL), Livia Enderli (ZHdK)

3:00 PM



3:30 PM

Presentation IX-XII

The effect of design on mentally ill people in a domestic environment.
The objective of this research is to investigate the connection between design, mental health and the environment at home. Recreational spaces, natural views and stimulating elements in the spaces have been extensively studied in recent years. Humans well-being has always been affected by their environment. This is confirmed by Horsburgh “Medical care cannot be separated from the buildings in which it is delivered” (Hursburgh,1995: 735). One of the objectives in this project is to develop an illustrated set of cards about the domestic environment to be used by ambulatory nurses for therapeutic and research purposes. By questioning patients and showing them specific illustrations, the ambulatory nurses can better understand how the design of the domestic environment influences their well-being. The nurses may use this set of cards on an ongoing basis for research and therapy.

The Visual Communication Designer as a Curator - The artworld stayed behind.
“Today, the language of the market penetrates every pore and forces every interpersonal relation into the schema of individual preference.” ― Jürgen Habermas.
Since the western’s world cultural public sphere has transformed into the “personal cultural public sphere”, aka the Internet, visual communication design has become the glue that holds all of this information together. Now, individuals can be publishers and take part in conversations. To facilitate this ability to converse and publish, visual communication designers, developers and programmers came up with visual and conceptual solutions that will provide access to all kinds of information. The place where most art is exhibited nowadays is the internet, which gives visual communication designers the option to be mediators of content and curators of art. My research focuses on proving that apart from the various specializations of visual communication being taught in academia, such as, Print, Illustration, Interactive Design, etc., a new cohesive specialization has emerged during the past few decades, which is Curating. Eventually, I aim to motivate visual communication practitioners and educators to experiment with curating exhibitions and speculate about future exhibiting formats through their practice.

(IN)VISIBLE MIND - Design and mental health at university.
Mental illnesses are one of the greatest challenges facing our society – it is estimated that they affect a quarter of the European population each year. One group that is increasingly confronted with mental health issues is students. In Switzerland as well as many other countries worldwide they face several stress factors such as academic pressure and financial insecurities on top of other, individual circumstances. In addition, the persistent stigmatization of mental illness means that many students do not seek help when they need it. Advice centres, regulations and policies aim to guarantee a barrier-free study experience – as is the case at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and other Swiss universities. However, these are hardly known or used. Moreover, there is a lack of preventive measures. Students also often have little opportunity to participate in the discourse about mental health and thus contribute to a normalization and de-stigmatization of mental health. This project aims to address these issues and asks what measures need to be taken in order to support students in a better way. Human-centred design principles and methods therefore lead the way to a stakeholder-focussed approach. A framework for universities proposes much needed interventions and suggests that even though mental health affects everyone individually, mental health issues can have far-reaching consequences and therefore need to be made tangible and visible.

4:15 PM

Panel IX-XII

Isamal Marizol Zorrilla Matos (HKB), Itay Blaish (ZHdK), Alexandra Gurtner (HSLU D&K)

4:30 PM

Introduction into Speed Dating


4:35 PM

Funding Partners

Prohelvetia: Tania Longhitano
CreativeHub: Regula Staub
Bundesamt für Kultur: Anna Niederhäuser

5:15 PM


5:30 PM

Wrap Up and Closure

5:45 PM




6:30 PM

Future Design Education: Moving the conversation to the schools

In two special issues of She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, design education leaders present their reflections and share best practices, perspectives and recommendations for action. To move the conversation to the schools, Sheila Pontis, Karel van der Waarde, Meredith Davis, Denis Weil, Matt Mayfield, Sabine Junginger, Ken Friedman and two students will discuss their ideas in an online panel discussion

18:30–18:35 Brief introduction

18:35–19:05 Discussion 1
Sheila Pontis & Karel van der Waarde discuss their article “Looking for Alternatives: Challenging Assumptions in Design Education” with Meredith Davis, Professor Emerita of Graphic Design at North Carolina State University, USA; & Claire Weizenegger, student from the Design Management International Bachelor program at the Lucerne School of Art and Design.

19:05–19:35 Discussion 2
Denis Weil & Matt Mayfield discuss their article “Tomorrow’s Critical Design Competencies: Building a Course System for 21st Century Designers” with Sabine Junginger, Head of the Competence Center for Design and Management, Lucerne School of Art and Design;& Saul Sych, student from the Master Design at the Lucerne School of Art and Design.

19:35–19:50 Q&A

19:50–20:00 Closing by Ken Friedman & Guillermina Noël

Passcode: 687365


This year’s Junior Research Conference is organised by Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Due to the ongoing pandemic it will be held online with great presentations and gatherings that will explore the possibilities of remote conferencing.

MAIN WEBINAR LINK (remains active all day):
Password: 223859


The registration is currently closed.


Creating an account to add your thesis to the database is currently closed. If you already have an account you can login and update your submission. Otherwise please contact your university.


University of Applied Sciences Lucerne Design & Arts
HSLU Design & Kunst
Nylsuisseplatz 1
6020 Emmen