The Visual Methodologies Collective

The Visual Methodologies Collective is a research group specializing in visual and digital research for social and cultural issues. Our interests lie at the intersections of visual culture, digital research, information design, media theory, data visualization, storytelling, and critical making.

We work with the Citizen Data Lab on participatory data practices. We study climate change solutions with the Digital Society SchoolClimate Cleanup and the Digital Methods Initiative. Within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, we teach the Minor MakersLab, Issue Mapping for Fashion at AMFI (MA FEC), and more.

The Visual Methodologies Collective consists of researchers, designers, and developers and is based at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries.

The group is headed by Dr. Sabine Niederer, Professor of Visual Methodologies.




Sabine Niederer

Sabine is Professor of Visual Methodologies and founder of the Visual Methodologies Collective. She is specialised in the cartography of issues and online debates, through visual research, digital methods, and content analysis, with a special interest in climate-related issues. In 2014, Sabine founded the Citizen Data Lab as a place to build collaborations between researchers from other research groups, students, issue professionals, local communities, artists, designers and developers to work on participatory mappings of local issues. Sabine is also coordinator of the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam and part of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, where she teaches issue mapping in the MA Fashion Enterprise Creation.

Loes Bogers

Loes is a researcher and educator who is interested in participatory practices at the intersections of art, technology and design. She is always wondering how we can make our work more accessible and inclusive. Loes brings a hands-on and experimental approach to dealing with data (the big kind, but also small data, no data or and so called thick data) by integrating her maker skills and artistic talents with her interest in real people and curiosity for their lived experiences. Loes holds an MA in Interactive Media: Critical Theory & Practice (Goldsmiths College, London), and a BA in Media & Cultural Studies (University of Amsterdam). She is currently also coordinator and lecturer of the Minor Makers Lab.


Carlo De Gaetano

Carlo is a founding member of the Visual Methodologies Collective, where he works as a designer and researcher. He focuses on data visualisation for social research, with a particular interest in mapping social issues through images and participatory practices. He researches how climate change is represented and discussed online by testing different techniques to capture digital traces and visualise images in groups, while also conducting experiments in (machine) learning from climate fiction in literature and cinema. Carlo frequently gives workshops on data curation, data visualisation and digital research methods and has a long-standing collaboration with the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. With Sabine he teaches issue mapping, coaches students and supervises theses at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI).


Marloes Geboers

Marloes is a researcher with the Visual Methodologies Collective and Ph.D. candidate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam). Her research interests lie in the visual communication of solidarity across social platforms and the sharing of emotions on a platformized web. Her research blends traditional visual methodologies with digital methods approaches in order to develop methods that take into account both image content as well as the ways such content is audienced in networked (affective) spaces. As a lecturer, Marloes is involved in, amongst others, the International Journalism minor, Media-ethics for students of Creative Business (CB) and data-driven research for storytelling at CB. Marloes received her Master’s degree in political science from Radboud University Nijmegen and has a background in journalism.


Maarten Groen

Maarten is a researcher and developer at the Visual Methodologies Collective. He is interested in developing and researching tools that empower citizens. In the past he has worked on projects involving open data, intelligent sensory systems and public screens. Maarten is also part of the Urban Analytics team, lead by Prof. Nanda Piersma. He holds a B.ICT in Computer Science (Amsterdam University of Applied Science) and an MSc in Information Science: Human Centered Multimedia (University of Amsterdam). He is currently also working as a lecturer at the Computer Science department.


Dan Xu

Dan Xu is a creative researcher and maker, working in interdisciplinary fields of art and science. Most of her works explore the creative possibilities of AI in language and the perceptual interplay between sound and space. Grounded in a tinkering approach, her ideas often co-evolve during the making with the machine. Dan is currently working towards a Ph.D. with the Media Technology programme at Leiden University. At the Visual Methodologies Collective, she works with Andy and Maarten on reviving the interactive light installation ‘The Citizens’, to be placed at Marineterrein in Amsterdam, in a collaboration with AHK’s Artechlab and Culture Club. 


Affiliated researchers:


Federica Bardelli

Federica is a visual designer and visual artist actually studying New Art Technologies at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, in Milan. She obtained her MA in Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano where she collaborated with the research department Density Design Lab. She also has taught Communication Design at Politecnico di Milano and worked with IED (Istituto Europeo di Design), the Italian Visual Arts school. Her work focuses on new visual languages applied to research, specialising in information and data visualisation strategies with digital methods. She’s now working at the intersection of digital and multimedia arts, deriving common languages between research and artistic practices.


Gabriele Colombo

Gabriele holds an MA in Communication Design from Politecnico di Milano. In 2018, he obtained a PhD cum laude in Design from Politecnico di Milano. He is affiliated with Density Design, a research lab at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano, with the Department of Architecture and Arts of Università Iuav in Venice. His research focuses on the design of visualizations in support of digital social research. Gabriele is founding member of the Visual Methodologies Collective and has a long-standing collaboration with the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam.


Femke Dekker

With her multi-faceted practice as a contemporary arts curator, moderator, (radio) DJ and broadcaster, Femke Dekker has long been an active member of Amsterdam’s cultural scene. Femke is artistic research fellow with the Visual Methodologies Collective in 2021-22, where she joins the project Tune In, Fade Out (link to post with project description), with ImagineIC. She is part of the core team of Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, the online radio platform for visual arts and culture, has been affiliated as tutor with the Radical Cut Up department of the Sandberg Instituut, the masters program of the Gerrit Rietveld Akademie of Fine Arts and Design and currently teaches at the department of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design at the KABK, the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She also curates cultural programmes for festivals such as the annual Lente Kabinet in Amsterdam. Her independent practice centers around music culture and contemporary art, bringing together the work of emerging artists working on the crossroads of sound, installation and performance art and music. 



Previous affiliates:


Wouter Meys

Wouter was coordinator of the Visual Methodologies Collective and the affiliated Citizen Data Lab until January of 2021. He also worked as track owner at the Digital Society School where he focuses on data-driven transformation. He holds a BSc in electrical engineering and an MSc in Information Science from theUniversity of Amsterdam. At the beginning of his career he worked as a ground engineer in aviation. Facilitating projects with impact, working with data, and doing research on how data could help to empower people are the focal points in his research.  


Jessica Ciucci

Research fellow, cli-fi project
Jessica is a Social Anthropology graduate (MA) from Goldsmiths University of London. She is a Digital Society School alumna for the spring semester of 2019, where she took part in the data-driven project ‘Right between our ears’, which investigated the communication surrounding climate change solutions in the digital realm. The project aimed at overcoming a perceived lack of consensus in the different visual and lexical registers used by the media, science and general public when addressing the climate crisis. She has joined the Visual Methodologies Collective as a research fellow on the cli-fi project for Winter 2019-2020, mapping climate fiction narratives in the arts, and learning more on how to tackle environmental urgencies through speculative storytelling. Among her research interests are media affordances and infrastructures, sensory practices enacted through digital technologies, and concepts of emotional contagion in the digital age.


Ruurd Priester

Ruurd Priester (MA) was a Research Fellow with the Citizen Data Lab and later the Visual Methodologies Collective from 2016 – 2019. Trained as graphic designer, Ruurd is one of the Dutch pioneers in digital design, innovation and strategy. After many years of working with large organizations on their digital transition, Ruurd decided in 2015 to put his knowledge, experience and network to work for digital social innovation in the public realm. This has so far resulted in the publication Our online platforms on bottom-up urban innovation in the digital age, the cooperative online platform Gebiedonline and a new Master in Digital Design at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. In 2017, Ruurd decided to focus on his deepest concern: climate change and the energy transition (from fossil to clean energy). In this effort he combines his fellowship with an active role in initiatives such as Climate Cleanup. Ruurd’s activities can be followed via his personal blog: