Critical FAIRness

Critical FAIRness is an exploratory study on Open Research Data in Art and Design at the Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW, Switzerland (2023-2024). The project is funded by swissuniversities. An overview of our forthcoming activities is here.

Project description

The project title “Critical FAlRness” refers to the critical state of publishing in art and design. While practice-based research in art and design has existed in Switzerland for more than 20 years, there is a lack of infrastructure that bridges the gap between the everyday documentation practices of researchers and infrastructures for making creative approaches public, such as data repositories. We understand “critical” in the sense of urgency to act and help develop advanced infrastructures and formats that understand the process of sharing research data as socio-technological, take the claim of democratization of research seriously, and augment the operations of practice-based research.

With “Critical FAlRness”, we seek to address multiple aims: We aim to a) build communities of researchers, technical experts, and stakeholders who invest in and advance ORD practices in art and design and b) to specify ORD standards relevant to art and design through collective discussions of ORD practices via case studies and through testing the limitations of leading existing tools.

The project is based at the IXDM Critical Media Lab (CML), a physical space at the Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW — and involves an interdisciplinary community of scholars conducting practice-based research in art and design. CML’s research revolves around critical perspectives on processes, practices, and infrastructures for computing, publishing, ecology, and community-building. Drawing on CML’s transdisciplinary approach, we are keen to invest in workshops and other community-building formats, bringing together researchers, data stewards, librarians, coders, lawyers, and other stakeholders to discuss and experiment with examples.

“Critical FAlRness” aspires to define methods and techniques to generate ORD — findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-useable information collected, observed, generated, or created in a research process. Drawing on ongoing SNSF research projects from CML, the project explores the status and significance of data in practice-based research in art and design. lt further experiments with different modes and methods of sharing and re-using and defines publishing processes for data of selected research projects. This case study-based approach was designed to engage hands-on with the needs of researchers in the field, unearth field-specific issues linked to ORD, and hence foster the implementation of sustainable ORD practices in art and design in dialog with data producers.



Lucie Kolb (project lead)

Patrizia Munforte (project coordination)

Collaboration Partners

Helen Pritchard

Johannes Bruder

Eva Weinmayr

Femke Snelting

Tabea Lurk

Linda Ludwig

Activities, events

The project will be developed in a series of workshops organized in collaboration with Helen Pritchard, Johannes Bruder, Eva Weinmayr, and Femke Snelting and concludes with a closing symposium presenting best practice case studies and recommendations for standards of ORD practices in art and design. A publication will document the project’s results and disseminate them to peer communities in art and design.

The following is a list of events organised by CriticalFAIRness:

Events Date
Reading Group (1) 3 0 . 1 0 . 2023
Reading Group (2) 2 7 . 1 1 . 2023
MAKE/SENSE PhD Program Workshop 0 7 . 1 2 . 2023
Reading Group (3) 1 9 . 1 2 . 2023
Reading Group (4) 2 2 . 0 1 . 2024
Love Data Week Switzerland, 13.02.2024, 12:00-12:30, “Critical FAIRness”: Open Science in Practice-Based Research in Art and Design 1 3 . 0 2 . 2024
Reading Group (5) 1 9 . 0 2 . 2024
Data Management Planning (1) 0 4 . 0 3 . 2024
Data Management Planning (2) 0 5 . 0 3 . 2024
Lunch & Learn Open Science, 21.03.2024, 12:00-13:00: “Critical FAIRness or Is FAIRing CAREing? Open Science in Practice-Based Research in Art and Design” 2 1 . 0 3 . 2024
Rewriting FAIRness Symposium 0 7 . 0 5 . 2024
Open research data: pratiques et défis pour les domaines artistiques, 16.05.2024, 13.30-16.20: "Critical FAIRness" 1 6 . 0 5 . 2024


Addressing concerns about the specific challenges practice-based research in art and design often presents regarding research data, the publication deals with the definition and limits of openness. The publication receives its inputs from the project Critical FAIRness, including a reading group, a two-day workshop, and a symposium and will be launched by the end of 2024.