Doctoral Students

Christine Rafflenbeul
Started in

Research summary


In the Western philosophical tradition of thinking about the epistemological value of the arts and the aesthetic, the prevailing view is that all knowledge is based on reason. This notion precludes that processes of art making can be processes of knowledge production. The possibility of pursuing a doctorate in the arts reveals the urgency to expand this traditional discourse by including the arts themselves. My research project challenges a hegemonic understanding of epistemology and explores practice-based modes of expanding these traditional patterns of knowledge.

In my research, I investigate bobbin lace-making as aesthetic thinking and as spaces of possibility for new entanglements of art and research. Bobbin lace-making is based on a systematic alternation of twisting, crossing, knotting, and intertwining threads. I consider the making tool as a thinking tool: different strands of knowledge (threads) can be linked together in multiple ways. Structurally, following Deleuze and Guattari's idea of the rhizome, bobbin lace-making can be read as a mode of thinking: Potentially it morphs and shifts its configurations and outputs, grows in all directions, and provides multiple entryways. The generated patterns are integral to the process that produced them.

In the artistic experiment, I explore bobbin lace-making as a practice of aesthetic thinking. I not only rethink scientific methods in aesthetic practice but also reflect on my artistic concepts through theory and real-life issues in order to interlace them into a sustainable mesh of knowledge. Like a feedback apparatus, the artistic experiment stays in constant correspondence with the scientific and socio-political world in order to entangle in an aesthetic thinking practice that opens up for multiplicity and more inclusive ideas of knowing.



Christine Rafflenbeul (1983 DE) is an artistic researcher with a background in Fashion, Costume and Textile Product Design. She obtained her MA with a focus on Design Research at HAW Hamburg (2021).

In her practice, Rafflenbeul explores spaces of possibility for more inclusive re-imaginations of knowing and not-knowing. By experimenting with handicrafts she investigates practice-based modes of thinking. She aims to make visible a reflective meshwork of situated knowledges in extension to traditional epistemology.

Rafflenbeul is a laureate of Ausgezeichnet, the award for outstanding, research-related Master‘s Theses by the Centre for Design Research, HAW Hamburg (2021) and grant recipient of the Peer to Peer-Academy (2021) in Bremen.

She was a guest lecturer at HAW Hamburg (2021) and a contributor to the panel on „Standards of Good Scientific Practice“ in Design Research at the general meeting of the Society for Artistic Research in Germany (2022).


Individual projects