Doctoral Students

Anja Groten
Started in , PhD degree awarded in

Research summary

Anja Groten’s research project explores matters of collectivity drawing from experiences of working with the collective Hackers & Designers (H&D). H&D self-organizes educational activities with a focus on hands-on learning and collaboration between practitioners from different fields such as designers, artists, and computer programmers.

The role of the designer in this research project is informed by a blurring of supposed contradictions such as the maker and the user, the prototype and the product, or the process and the result. It is an unstable, steadily changing position – – dissolving and evolving within, and due to collectivities that include other humans as well as non-human collaborators – for example digital infrastructures, and digital tools.

As a graphic designer and design educator Anja Groten looks at her ambiguous role within such collectivities, and its significance for approaching fundamental questions about contemporary art and design practices that do not fit within, or cannot be described through the existing disciplinary frameworks. Paying attention to collectivity in action, central questions of this research project are: Are we still designing? If we are not, or we can't be sure, how do we define, defend and critique our practices? How can we hold and be held accountable? If we are, don’t we need to expand our frameworks for understanding and articulating design as it constantly evolves and dissolves?

By means of different case studies such as 'The Tool', 'The Workshop' and 'The Platform' this project aims to discuss design as a practice that cannot be assumed or affirmed as a formal practice or discipline. In those case studies different collectivities unfold – as their implications for the ways design processes are envisioned or pursued.



Anja Groten (1983, DE) is a designer, organiser and educator based in Amsterdam. Investigating collectivity in practice, her work revolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary groups. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration.

Anja is a PhD candidate at PhD Arts, and the consortium Bridging Art, Design and Technology through Critical Making. In 2019 she became course director of the design department at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, Master of the Rietveld Academie.


Individual projects

    • Researching collectivity as an individual

      Through five years of research at PhDArts (Academy of Creative and Performing Arts Leiden), Anja Groten tried to deepen her understanding of collective…

    • First, Then… Repeat. Workshop Scripts in Practice


      Page Not Found, The Hague (NL)
    • Impulsvortrag: D2C2

      In her lecture, Anja Groten will take as a starting point the collective approach of Hackers & Designers. Collective practices according to Groten…

      @OSTRALE.Basis, Dresden (DE)
    • Making Matters Lumbung

      On the occasion of the book launch of 'Making Matters. A Vocabulary of Collective Arts', Hackers & Designers (Loes Bogers, Anja Groten, Karl…

      documenta 15, Kassel (DE)
    • Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2022

      The Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2022 'Connecting Otherwise' takes place July 16–23 in 4 different interconnected locations: in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with @hackersanddesigners, in…

    • Figuring Things Out Together

      Manifold contexts shape articulations around workshops, different workshop meanings, materializations, practices, and legacies. The 'workshop' – an ambiguous yet popular format for time-boxed collaboration is…

      TROEF, Leiden (NL)
    • Book launch ‘Making Matters. A Vocabulary for Collective Arts’

      The entries in this experimental vocabulary were written in collaboration with multidisciplinary collectives, artists and designers from five continents. They reflect how collective action changes…

      documenta 15, Kassel (DE)
    • Figuring Things Out Together

      In this installation and workshop series, Anja Groten (Hackers & Designers) opens up her practice-based research with a special attention to the ‘workshop’…

      Page Not Found, The Hague (NL)
    • Hackers & Designers Fall Talks

      Join the Hackers & Designers (H&D) Fall Talks. By connecting to other self-organized communities they want to exchange insights on the peculiarities of different tool…

      AHK Culture Club, Marineterrein, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Network Imaginaries

      H&D presents their new publication ‘Network Imaginaries’, reflecting on and reimagining distributed practices. The contributors span a wide range of practices and reflect about network…

      AHK Culture Club, Amsterdam (NL)
    • The Dynamic Archive 03

      The Dynamic Archive 01 ( has been an online platform since 2018. The Version Room as physical gallery space is known as The Dynamic Archive…

    • Hacking Tools as Artistic Research

      Anja Groten teaches the course Hacking Tools as Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague.

      Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)
    • H&D experiments in publishing

      Collective Hackers & Designers (H&D) was invited by GfZK Leipzig to join their process as critical friends, and contribute to their summer festival with a…

      Gallery für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, Leipzig (DE)
    • H&D Summer Academy 2021 — Hello World?

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers (H&D), Anja Groten co-organizes the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2021.

      Amsterdam (NL), Harare (ZW), Pittsburgh (US), Vienna (AT)
    • Didn’t We Come For Something Completely Different?

      A Series of Round Tables on the New Normal at Art and Design Universities.

    • H&D Meetup — Feminist Search Tools

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers (H&D), Anja Groten co-organizes this H&D meetup. The second H&D meetup focuses on different projects…

    • Obfuscation platframe

      The obfuscation platframe was designed and built by Anja Groten and Karl Moubarak on the occasion of the ‘3rd Workshop on Obfuscation’.

    • Design Discussion #74— Tools

      Anja Groten, member of Hackers & Designers, presents her research at Design Discussion #74, Hochschule Nierrhein Krefeld.

      Hochschule Niederrhein Krefeld, Krefeld (DE)
    • Making Matters – Collective Material Practices in Critical Times

      You are cordially invited to join the second edition of the Making Matters symposium, which will take place online on Thursday 19, Friday 20 and…

      Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL)
    • Intersectional Search in Queer and Trans Archives

      – Presentation and reflections on the Feminist Search Tools project with Hackers & Designers, Read-in and IHLIA LGBTI Heritage

      Public Library Amsterdam, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Coded Bodies

      With the publication 'Coded Bodies', collective Hackers and Designers (H&D) reflects on conversations, discussions and bodily experiences that took place over the course of one…

    • Mail Art: A Complaint Letter to the Internet

      In pre-internet times, physical mail was used by artists and writers to exchange small works of art, poetry and letters. Mail Art was an alternative…

      Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Inefficient Tools for Quantified Beings

      The exhibition 'Inefficient Tools for Quantified Beings' moved to Amsterdam and will be activated through a public program, consisting of workshops, performances and talks.

      NDSM Fuse, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Summer Academy 2020 'Network Imaginaries'

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers (H&D), Anja Groten co-organizes the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2020. In light of the…

      The Internet and a distributed network of local hosts
    • The Hmm and Hackers & Designers

      As a member of collective Hackers & Designers, Anja Groten collaborates with The Hmm on developing a self-hosted streaming platform for events.

    • Platforming as Practice

      Anja Groten, member of Hackers & Designers, presents her research at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen's 'The Dynamic Archive'.

      Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Bremen (DE)
    • Workshop Imaginary Networks

      Hackers & Designers (Anja Groten and Juliette Lizotte) are contributing to the Glossary of Undisciplined Design Symposium with a talk and workshop during…

      GfZK Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig (DE)
    • BodyBuilding. Inefficient Tool Building for Quantified Beings

      Group exhibition in collaboration with Hackers & Designers, The Underground Division, Nazanin Karimi, Thomas Rustemeyer, Kiki Mager

      Tetem, Enschede (NL)
    • Workshop Repository of Feminist Search Strategies

      Talk and workshop in collaboration with James Bryan Graves (hacker) and Anja Groten (designer)

      Aalto Visual Communication Design, Aalto (FI)
    • Towards a Critical Collaborative Practice

      Anja Groten publishes the article "Towards a Critical Collaborative Practice" in: 'Design Dedication. Adaptive Mentalities in Design Education', 2020 edited by Annelys de…

    • Hacking & Designing

      Anja Groten contributes the article "Hacking & Designing: Paradoxes of Collaborative Practice" to 'The Critical Makers Reader. (Un)learning Technology', edited by Loes Bogers…

    • Interfacial Work-Out

      Together with Hackers & Designers Anja Groten gives an introduction to intra-active bodily publishing exercises at POST Design Festival in Copenhagen.

      Enigma, Copenhagen (DK)
    • Design Friction

      Anja Groten publishes the article 'Design Friction' in the journal ‘Modes of Criticism 4: Radical Pedagogy’ and gives a talk at the publication…

      Onomatopee, Eindhoven (NL)
    • Do You Accept the Terms and Conditions?

      Anja Groten gives a presentation about her research at the event 'Do you accept the terms and conditions?', hosted by Waag.

      Waag, Amsterdam (NL)

      Together with collective Hackers & Designers Anja Groten co-organises the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2019 entitled 'Coded Bodies'.

      NDSM, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Fake it! Fake them! Fake you! Fake us!

      Anja Groten and Juliette Lizotte give a talk at the launch of the publication 'Fake it! Fake them! Fake you! Fake us!' by…

      San Serriffe, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Fake it! Fake you! Fake us!

      In 2018 Hackers & Designers proposed to explore the notion of truth by interrogating what the tools and technologies that we are building, using and…

    • The Workshop and Cultural Production

      Anja Groten contributes the essay 'The Workshop and Cultural Production' to Amsterdam-based publication platform 'Open!'

      Stichting Open!, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Momentary Zine

      As part of collective Hackers & Designers Anja Groten is invited to present the 'Momentary Zine' during the Neuhaus program at Het Nieuwe…

      Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL)
    • Face the InterFace

      Anja Groten presents the smart mirror project 'Face the InterFace' at international platform for trans-disciplinary creativity Today’s Art.

      The Grey Space in the Middle, The Hague (NL)
    • Build your own self-driving car

      Anja Groten of collective Hackers & Designers collaborated with French collective Formes Vives to build the next iteration of the DIY self-driving car.

      The Yellow Gas Station, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018

      Anja Groten organises the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2018 entitled 'FAKE IT! FAKE US! FAKE ME! FAKE THEM! FAKE YOU!'

      DekWest, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Control the Controller

      Anja Groten and Heerko van der Kooij of Hackers & Designers give a workshop entitled 'Control the Controller' at Het Nieuwe Instituut.

      Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam (NL)
    • Friction by Design

      Anja Groten gives a talk entitled 'Friction by Design' at [MAKE]: 2018 Design Educators Conference.

      Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis (US)
    • Hackers & Designers. On &/ Off the grid

      Anja Groten published and contributed to the publication 'Hackers & Designers. On &/ Off the grid'. The booklaunch takes place at San Seriffe…

      San Seriffe, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Critical by Design?

      Anja Groten gives a presentation at the conference 'Critical By Design?' at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel.

      Academy of Art and Design FHNW, Basel (CH)
    • Tools for Co-creation and Situated Making

      Anja Groten gives a talk and workshop entitled 'Tools for Co-creation and Situated Making' at the graduate conference In/Equalities at the Department of…

      Central European University, Budapest (HU)
    • Ctrl + c

      Anja Groten gives a workshop entitled 'Ctrl + c – Force quitting persuasive algorithmic search processes' at the 9th SAR - International Conference…

      University of Plymouth, Plymouth (UK)
    • Hack night. Self-driving toy car I & II

      Anja Groten of collective Hackers and Designers hosts a workshop series around the development of the self driving car in collaboration with Waag…

      Waag Society, Amsterdam (NL)
    • Integrated 2017 Between Creativity and Criminality

      Anja Groten participated in INTEGRATED 2017, the thought-provoking conference format organized by St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp. The 2017 edition focuses on…

      BE, Antwerp