PC4 – Curious Making, Taking Fabrication Risks and Crafting Rewards

Lecturer: Janis Meißner
Fields: Design, Human Computer Interaction


This course is about getting hands-on curious with electronics and different crafts materials. Maker toolkits are a great way to get started with designing your own interactive sensor systems – but what if these designs could also integrate other (potentially more aesthetic) materials? E-textiles and paper circuits are good examples for how functional electronic systems can be recrafted with rewarding results. In principle, any every-day materials could be used with a bit of thinking outside the (tool)box. Let’s see what you will use to hack for your ideas!

Course Outline:

After a brief intro to microcontrollers and programming them with the Arduino IDE, participants will design their own simple input-output systems and gradually re-craft the hardware in innovative ways by using crafting materials such as for example paper, fabric and paperclips. Participants who seek a little extra-challenge are invited to work in small teams (2-4) to design an interactive artefact in this way that combines their respective research interests.

The course is structured as follows:

Session 1: Introduction to microcontrollers, off-the-shelf components and self-paced experimenting with the help of tutorials

Session 2: Designing an input-output system with off-the-shelf components. Starting to explore how ready-made components can be re-made with crafts materials.

Session 3-4: Recrafting your system design with craft materials of your choice. Don’t forget to present your inventions to your course mates so that everyone can applaud your creative hacking genius! 🙂


  • Learning the basics of programming electronics with microcontrollers
  • Learning the basics of how a selection of sensors and actuators work
  • Exploring alternative approaches to electronics than using o
  • Unleashing your creative hacking skills


Perner-Wilson, H., Buechley, L. & Satomi, M. (2011) ‘Handcrafting textile interfaces from a kit-of-no-parts’, in Proceedings of the fifth international conference on Tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction – TEI ’11. New York, USA: ACM Press. p. 61. https://doi.org/10.1145/1935701.1935715

Posch, I. & Fitzpatrick, G. (2018) Integrating Textile Materials with Electronic Making. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction – TEI ’18. 158–165. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173225.3173255

Meissner, J.L., Strohmayer, A., Wright, P. & Fitzpatrick, G. (2018) ‘A Schnittmuster for Crafting Context-Sensitive Toolkits’, in Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – CHI ’18. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173725


Janis Lena Meißner

Janis Lena Meißner is a doctoral trainee in Digital Civics at Open Lab, Newcastle University, and co-founder of fempower.tech, a group of intersectional feminists who aim to raise awareness of feminist issues in Human Computer Interaction. As maker technologies give individuals an opportunity to develop their own objects and tools, Janis is interested in exploring ways that these technologies can empower different non-technical communities who lack access to infrastructures such as fablabs or makerspaces. In her research she has collaborated with groups as diverse as urban knitters, glass artists, quilting sex workers, makers with disabilities and members of a Men Shed interested in combining their woodworking skills with 3D-printing. Using a Participatory Action Research methodology and a portable makerspace for adapting tool(kit)s to the specific contexts of making, her aim is to develop a community-driven approach to Making that allows people to weave in pre-existing crafting skills into their use of digital maker technologies.

Affiliation: Newcastle University
Websites: https://fempower.tech/ https://openlab.ncl.ac.uk/people/janis-lena-meissner/ https://twitter.com/janislena

PC3 – Juggling – experience your brain at work

Lecturer: Susan Wache & Julia Wache
Fields: Neurobiology


In this course we will teach you how to juggle. Juggling is a motor activity that requires a lot of different skills. 

The activity of juggling requires a lot of different abilities. Obviously, you need to learn the movement pattern and practice a lot to get the reward – being able to juggle! To learn such specific movement patterns requires a highly complex electrical and chemical circuitry in the brain, which becomes a more and more important field of neuroscience. Juggling seems to encourage nerve fiber growth and therefore scientist believe it not only promotes brain fitness in general but could also help with debilitating illnesses.

Nevertheless, learning to juggle requires attention, focus, concentration and persistence. As every juggler would agree, the key for success is repetition. We will teach juggling mainly practical. While training you can feel constant progress independently of your previous skill level. 

In the last session you will also get an introduction to site swap, a mathematical description of juggling patterns you can notate, calculate and e.g. feed into a juggling simulator.

  1. Session: Basic introduction to juggling and the neuroscience behind it
  2. Session: How to learn juggling most effectively
  3. Session: Common mistakes and how to avoid them
  4. Session: Site swap – a mathematical description of juggling patterns


In this course you will learn to juggle with 3 balls, you will learn how to avoid common mistakes when practicing, how to improve effectively also when practicing on your own. Apart from the basic 3-ball-cascade you will learn additional simple patterns and get an introduction to advanced tricks and techniques.

All sessions are mainly practical training of juggling.


Susan Wache studied Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück. She worked in the Research Group feelSpace that investigates human senses and co-founded in 2015 the startup feelSpace that develops and sells naviBelts, tactile navigation devices especially for the visually impaired.

Julia Wache studied Cognitive Science in Vienna and Potsdam. She finished her PhD in Trento working on the Emotion Recognition via physiological signals and mental effort in the context of using tactile belts for orientation. In parallel she participated in the EIT Digital doctoral program to learn entrepreneurial skills. In 2016 she joined the feelSpace GmbH.

Together the sisters started juggling and performing over 20 years ago and gave courses for different audiences in various occasions.

Affiliation: feelSpace GmbH

PC2 – Seeking Shaky Ground

Lecturer: Claudia Muth & Elisabeth Zimmermann
Fields: Cognitive Science/ Enactivism, Phenomenology, Dance/Movement Research, Art, Design


Curiosity entails being able to delve into the unknown, to challenge habits of thinking, of acting, of reacting, of perceiving, – of sense-making. We can decide to let ourselves be challenged, we can seek uncertainty and the risk of not knowing what will come. This for example happens, when we try out a new physical activity we don’t master yet, e.g. an adult decides to learn to ride a horse. But it also happens, when we expose ourselves to art, challenging our patterns of perceiving.

In such situations we often loose and gain or regain stability. We thereby learn. Accepting moments of instability and uncertainty as part of each learning process can provide insight and even lead to experiencing such situations as pleasurable and rewarding.

Which preconditions and circumstances have to be met in order to develop an attitude of openness, of giving up anticipation and prediction, of letting go and letting come?

Becoming aware of our own patterns of moving, of perceiving, of relating to the world is one necessity. Establishing an atmosphere of trust, where “mistakes” are invited, another.

In this course we aim to put ourselves on “shaky ground” using exercises from dance/movement/contact improvisation, as well as techniques of design/art creation. We will try to become aware of, explore and play around with our habitual ways of interacting with the world and people around us, thereby challenge our habits and raise curiosity for the unknown. 


The course aims to provide a space, where participants can practice a curious mindset, exploring patterns of thinking and acting, becoming aware of habits and trying to challenge them, a space for trying out, for making mistakes and being awkward.

Participants will move and create, but also discuss how their experiences in class relate to theories and concepts in cognitive science. Therefore, learning goals will be very personal and subjective.


  • Gapenne, O. (2010). Kinesthesia and the Construction of Perceptual Objects. In Stewart J., Gapenne O., & Di Paolo E. A. (eds.), Enaction: Towards a new paradigm for cognitive science. The MIT Press.
  • Muth, C., & Carbon, C. C. (2016). SeIns: Semantic Instability in Art. Art & Perception, 4(1-2), 145–184. doi: 10.1163/22134913-00002049
  • Novack, C. J. (1990) Sharing the Dance: Contact Improvisation and American Culture (New Directions in Anthropological Writing). University of Wisconsin Press. 


Claudia Muth is a perception researcher with a background in fine arts. She studied cultural design and cognitive science and was working for a small science centre on perception and illusion in Nuremberg. Since 2011 she has been conducting research at the intersection between art and science and has been teaching psychology students at the University of Bamberg as well as (since 2017) graphic design students at the Akademie Faber-Castell in Stein. Her main interest concerns the experience of uncertain, disordered, ambiguous or indeterminate situations and the various ways in which they can confuse, inspire and enrich us.

Affiliation: University of Bamberg
Website: https://www.uni-bamberg.de/allgpsych/wissenschaftliche-mitarbeiter/claudia-muth/

Elisabeth Zimmermann studied human biology and cognitive science at the University of Vienna. In her research she investigates how learning with a focus on body and movement can enable changes in habits and foster openness to new ways of interacting, sense-making, and being.
Since 2006 she has been coordinating the MEi:CogSci – Middle European interdisciplinary master programme in Cognitive Science and also teaching interdisciplinary cognitive science courses within this curriculum.

She has been dancing since her childhood (ballet, jazz dance, modern dance, expressive dance) and has been practicing contact improvisation for more than 20 years.  She has been investigating the relation of body and mind on a theoretical level, but also on a practical level, attending courses in Qigong and Tai Chi, Yoga, Body-Mind Centering, Feldenkrais, Continuum Movement, etc. 

She has training in holistic dance- and movement pedagogy as well as in classical massage and teaches workshops in dance/contact improvisation on a regular basis. 

Affiliation: University of Vienna

PC1 – Exploration, curiosity and Not-Knowing stance – Perceiving the World through Introspection

Lecturer: Annekatrin Vetter & Sophia Reul
Fields: Psychology


How do I experience the world around me? What might influence my decisions and actions in everyday life? How do I feel?  If you are curious to answer these questions we invite you to come to our course. In our four sessions we will focus on the broad field of self-experience. We are going to introduce you to different exercises and tools out of the range of self-awareness, mindfulness, body perception, biography reflection and interpersonal and intrapersonal communication. A curios mind is the only requirement to join our experiential-group and we are looking forward to welcome you at IK.


Annekatrin Vetter is a clinical Psychologist and an analytic Psychotherapist in training. She works in a hospital for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatic and is doing analytic and psychotherapeutic inpatient and outpatient treatment. Moreover she is working on a research project about treatment integrity in Mentalization orientated Group Therapy. 

Sophia Reul is a clinical Psychologist and an analytic Psychotherapist in training. She works in a hospital for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatic and is doing analytic and psychotherapeutic inpatient and outpatient treatment. Moreover she defends her PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Neurological clinic of University Hospital Münster with a focus of neurodegeneration and dementia.