Research Awards 2021: The Winners.

Sat 30 Oct

The WdKA Research Award was established by the Willem de Kooning Foundation in 2015 to emphasize the central role of art and design research within the newly introduced curriculum. The Willem de Kooning Research Awards are no prizes for just theses or research documents but for projects merging theory and practice where art or design work is a vital part of the research. Normally three prizes in hierarchal order are awarded to the graduates, but the jury of the Bachelor Research Award of this year decided to instead give the BA Research award to four nominees, and divide the prize money equally among the four winners. The Master Research Award was given to one of the five nominees. 

The Research Award ceremony for both Bachelor and Master graduates took place on October 30th. 

And the winners are: 

Bachelor Research Awards  

(winners in alphabetical order) 


Arif Abdillah (Social Practices, Powerplay,  Audiovisual Design)

with the project Science Around Us

In the juryreport it was noted that Arif’s work is not easily defined in contemporary arts and design discourses. Its multiplicity of interests, ambitions and mediums, defies existing categories. In this graduation project, research is a long-term effort, a practice of perseverance, a continuous process of becoming - both personal and in ways of working - and a relentless commitment to telling stories.  


Minsun Kim (Autonomous Practices,Critical Studies, Transformation Design)

with the project The Faraway Nearby 


The jury finds that Minsun's work is characterised by an obvious engagement with theory. She approaches her entire project as research and her research as a work of art. The jury was impressed by the editing choices and narrative strategies in her video works, blending theory and practice through a spoken enactment of an essayistic text.  


Ali (Alice) Lucchinelli (Social Practices, Cultural Diversity, Photography)

with the project Family Business, Because We’re Being Queer, Honey

The jury states that Ali’s research makes an eloquent connection between theory, in particular auto-theory and queer theory, and embodied and situated practices. Their work on photography as a medium is entangled in struggles for representation. The decisions that guide the research and its public presentation are critically rigorous, show self-awareness, and a deep and humbling concern with caring for the community that participates in their process.  



Oriane Palacio (Graphic Design,Data Design , Commercial Practices)

with the project Los Que Faltan

Following the jury’s statement, Oriane used her graphic design practice to develop a method by which she graphically analysed her data set and elicited original insights. She uses interviewing as a method of oral history. This results in a thoughtful and beautifully designed documentation in which processes and media are deeply intertwined. The jury admires the ambition of Oriane's project and her engagement with three languages in a multinational reading of documents  

Jury BA Research Awards: Marina Otero Verzier, Alice Twemlow, Rutger Wolfson.
Secretary: Jojanneke Gijsen.
Chair: Simon Kentgens. 


Read the complete BA Research Awards juryreport here.

Master Research Awards 


Halla Einarsdóttir (Master Fine Art) 

with the research project We Have Come Back from Always 


The jury was impressed by the originality of the research and the strong links between theory and practice, which were demonstrated by overlapping material and performative investigations with theoretical and contextual research and writing. Halla’s research departed from a somewhat esoteric personal narrative, and used that narrative to inform and develop the rest of her research and practice. The criticality of Halla’s research is identifiable in the feminist inquiry and her acknowledgment of a lineage of feminist thinkers, writers, and makers. The jury commended the poetics in Halla’s practice and in her writing: the objects and performances she made, as well as her use of language, displayed beautiful elements of craft and storytelling.  



Jury: Sepake Angiama, Vincent van Velsen, Richard Eigen.
Chair and secretary: Vivian Sky Rehberg. 

Read the MA Research Award jury report here.