Professorship in Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology (PACT)
The Professorship in Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology (PACT) is committed to exploring humane futures for our digital conditions. Recognising the profound instability and uncertainty of the evolving long-tail of the digital turn, the professorship is an invitation to examine, critique, and make interventions to frame the digital questions as expressions of aesthetics and cultures.
PACT locates itself at the intersection of Feminist, Humanist, and Technologist frameworks within the Arts. It is interested in examining the infrastructures of future justice, collectives of social organisation, and politics of subjective care-making in order to create a future worth fighting for.
Through education and research, the professorship seeks to create multiple communities of stakeholders through activating, initiating, and implementing discursive and collaborative projects aimed at creating other kinds of digital futures. The professorship thus works with academic university partners, human rights and social justice civil society organisations, art-technology collaboratories, emerging technology governance and regulation companies, and global partnerships and consortia focused on planetary humane futures.
The professorship offers itself as a capacity development and collective agency brave space that identifies digital problems as human problems, and pays particular attention to the disenfranchised, historically marginalised, and socially disadvantaged communities to develop capacity and create conditions for collective agency. The ambition of the professorship is also to connect and work more closely with partners that espouse feminist, queer, postcolonial politics to amplify their presence and ownership in building other kinds of digital futures.
The research vision of the PACT is informed by and engaged with evolving and historical questions around big data, algorithmic information circulation, automation, interface design and aesthetics, and critical computational studies to substantiate and unpack the vision and mission of the professorship through distributed and collective forms. The flagship projects of the professorship crystalise around 4 key themes:
- Cyborg theories and politics of care: Feminist, by Design.
- Fake news, misinformation, and new aesthetics of knowledge production
- Planetary futures and digital change practices
- Digital Activism and infrastructures of community mobilisation
These themes are all in collaboration with internal and external partners and translate into teaching modules within the Masters Programmes, capacity development and Monitoring and evaluation frameworks for external stakeholders, and academic and popular knowledge dissemination through publications, workshops, festivals, performance lectures, and writing.
The professorship PACT works closely together with Hivos, Schloss Solitude Akademie, Feminist Internet Research Network, Radboud University, Khoj Artist Collaboratory, Oxfam-Novib, University of California Humanities Research University, The Blank Noise Project, FemTechNet, The House of World Cultures (HKW) and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Consortium.
In its first tenure, the professorship is invested in 3 flagship research projects:
- The Digital Earth Project: digital materiality, planetary cosmology, and infrastructure of future-making
- Cutting Through the Noise: Narrative Change, collective action, and spaces of community organisation for learning and making
- Aesthetic Warfare: Misinformation, fakeness, and cultures of knowledge production
Dr. Nishant Shah is a feminist, humanist, technologist who works at examining infrastructures, collectivity, and subjectivity in the digital turn. He was the co-founder of the Centre for Internet & Society in India,
Along with occupying the Professorship in Aesthetics and Cultures of Technologies, he also serves as:
- Director Research & Outreach at ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands;Knowledge Partner, with the Dutch social justice organisation, Hivos;
- Faculty Associate 2020-21, at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society, Harvard University, USA,
- Mentor, Feminist Internet Research Network, Association of Progressive Communication;
- Advisor, Goethe Institute, Arts Management Portfolio, South Asia;
- Member of the Scientific Advisory Board, Radboud Institute for Culture and History, Radboud University, The Netherlands;
- Member of the national committee for 3rd cycle PhD development in Universities of Arts and Applied Sciences;
- Member of the Advisory board for MICA university, India,
- And a regular columnist for the Indian English language newspaper The Indian Express.