I recently had the great privilege of visiting De Waag Society in Amsterdam.

I think of De Waag as a modern day art and technology guild (like the historical craft guilds), engaging in cross-disciplinary research, collaborative discovery, and civic engagement/education; at the intersection of art, science, technology, and design. Wow!

Given its interdisciplinary nature, it can be challenging to articulate what De Waag does. Here’s my attempt at a visual representation. (Any errors are mine alone.)




De Waag is made up of six labs:

  1. The Open Design Lab focuses on digital fabrication and new crafts.
  2. The Future Heritage Lab analyses the role technology plays in our heritage.
  3. The Future Internet Lab focuses on data and the development of content in the online world.
  4. Creative Learning Lab looks at the role creative technology could play in education and its potential impact on learning.
  5. Creative Care Lab concentrates on the design issues found in the field of healthcare.
  6. Open Wetlab focuses on the life sciences and the design and ethics of life.


It is really good to know there are people in the world doing this. It IS possible to have an organisation that crosses disciplines, one that works from an art foundation, but also deals with technology, and that strives to find and make meaning as one of their core activities!

An organisation that is funded by a combination of government, industry bodies and direct client engagements from across Europe.

Will this work in Australia? Does a similar group already exist? Maybe not with a 20 year pedigree. Anyone?