mLAB residency

mLAB residency















type: Project development

period: FEB – SEP 2020

Duration: 1 month or 30 days spread over a longer period

Deadline: JAN 17, 2020 (11 PM)

Notification Date: FEB 17, 2020

Project Budget: CHF 3.000-10.000

Who: All disciplines, International (One team member must be employed by the University of Bern (holding a research post - from Ph.D. student to level of professorship)

Participants per Team: 2-10



The experimental research platform mLAB, located at the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern, is pleased to announce the first residency open call for transdisciplinary research collaborations between academia, research, (digital) media, and arts. The residency aims to foster collaborations that experiment with new methodological approaches, forms of knowledge production and science communication.

Resident teams are provided time, space and technology of the mLAB to develop independent projects, whether by focusing on researching, critically reflecting upon their research and artistic practices, writing or connecting with new agents within the arts and academia. The mLAB functions as an incubator and actively supports the working process in the form of mentoring and assistance regarding the dissemination and cross-media communication of possible results.

The selected team(s) will work for a period of approximately one month between February and September 2020. No final product or presentation is required. However, we expect that the residency will be used to develop insights that will lead to a follow-up project. Whether it will culminate in an artwork, a film, an exhibition, a performance or a research project that involves artistic modes of data collection or dissemination, whether it is establishing a concrete network, writing a grant application, planning a book, a journey, a website or a conference. The team decides. Nevertheless, we welcome any kind of public events, lectures, workshops, open reading groups or screenings during the residency phase, which take place at the Institute of Geography and engage with the Institute’s faculty and students.



The first edition of the residency program deals with the topic of GLOBAL IN/JUSTICE.

Our world is chronically suffering from a deficit of justice: uneven distribution of wealth, unequal freedom of movement, power disparities and the uncontrollable power of big data - these are just some of the examples of geographies of uneven development resulting from our global realities. These forms of economic, political, environmental, health and mobility injustices, however, are increasingly at the center of political, and social movements revendicating justice on all scales ranging from the local to the global for different marginalized communities.

What types of injustices are at the forefront in current debates in academia, media and arts? How is justice understood and discussed in these different fields? What does justice mean for whom and to what ends? How is injustice instrumentalized in order to achieve certain interests? Which concrete local phenomena exist that are inseparably linked to global injustice or norms of justice? To what extent do certain discourses on justice exclude each other? Climate policy versus economic justice? How can the concept of justice be further developed through concrete empirical cases or new conceptual approaches? How can collective and participative work procedures lead to empowered discourses about justice?

Which visualizations can document different forms of global injustices, contribute to a more just world and/or point to unresolvable contradictions around struggles towards justice? What are unconventional ways to produce knowledge about global in/justices and to disseminate this knowledge to diverse audiences and publics? Which narratives, personalities, and objects are exemplary in this thematic field? Which musical, poetic, radical, transversal, personal and performative possibilities of examining questions of global in/justices exist?




Reflecting its inter- and transdisciplinary character, the mLAB welcomes applications from a wide spectrum of disciplines (social science, humanities, natural science, interdisciplinary fields), research interests and questions.

Eligible for proposals are teams of which at least one team member (No1) must be employed by the University of Bern and hold a position related to research ranging from the level of Ph.D. students to the level of professorship. Other team members can be artists and researchers from all disciplines, inside or outside the university, from Bern or another part of the world, students, academic personnel, pedagogues, activists, journalists, cultural workers, architects, writers or designers. Everyone should be willing to engage in collaborative practice. There are no restrictions regarding age or origin. We cannot provide a guarantee for entry and visa but will do our best to support you in case of any problems. The group size should be between 2 and 10 participants.

I am a scientist or artist who would like to collaborate, but I don't know of anyone suitable!

In this case, we ask you to send us an e-mail ( with a short text in which you describe your research background or your artistic background and your contact details.

We will create a database of interested individuals in order to connect them via a digital platform and organize an optional speed dating event in Bern in December, where potential applicants can get to know each other to develop a collaborative project.

(Your data will be handled with absolute confidentiality and will not be passed on to anyone without your consent.)


Budget and Facilities

A working team has CHF 3,000-10,000 at its disposal, which can be spent on the basis of a pre-agreed budget plan. This budget is used to cover materials, books, travel, and honorariums for guests, but also to pay for travel and accommodation in Bern, should individual participants not be local. The mLAB does not own any guest apartments. An honorarium can also be paid to team members at their own discretion. However, doctoral students, postdocs, and faculty from the University of Bern or other universities holding a position are not entitled to pay themselves salaries or honorariums.

The mLAB provides a pool of equipment to realize film and audio projects and is equipped with several workstations with common video, sound editing and DTP software which can be used 24/7, with consideration of other activities taking place there. Furthermore, the Institute of Geography offers additional infrastructures such as a library, labs, etc., which can be used on request.


Application guidelines

The complete application (all in one PDF file) should be sent via email to until January 17, 2020 (11 PM). It can be written in English, German or French and should consist of:

  • a text (max. 4 pages) that
  • describes the general working theme
  • refers to the topic of Global In/Justice
  • outlines a realistic work plan, times and working methods, with regard to the complexity of the research and the duration of the residency (We expect total working days equivalent to 1 month, to be completed in consecutive working days or spread over a longer period)
  • speaks about how you want to work together
  • characterizes the follow-on project
  • involves a budget proposal
  • a short text that describes the professional / research background of the individual team members (one paragraph per person)
  • CV’s (max. 3 pages per person)


  • documentation of previous projects, texts, images, videos, own web pages, links


A jury of experts from different fields will review the submissions and inform the candidates by February 17, 2020.


About the mLAB

The mLAB at the Institute of Geography is an experimental space that encourages researchers to develop new modes of collaborative and collective work and to critically use arts, media and digital research methods as an integral part of their work, promoting unorthodox coalitions of aesthetics and geography.

Besides making research results visible, the focus is also on sensorial routes of knowledge creation. Digital methods and artistic perspectives enable a different kind of research, they place the researchers and the researched personalities in a completely different way at the center and in relation to each other. They open up spaces for the invisible and the unspeakable and provoke new forms of approaching a theme.

The main questions are: How can we create points of access for outsiders to the terrain of our research? What role can contemporary digital media practice play in collecting, analyzing and communicating data? What does artistic research mean in different academic fields? How can different kinds of data material (quantitative, qualitative, visual, digital) be handled aesthetically? How can art help to generate another sense of meaning alongside mere logics of utilization?

The mLAB was created as a creative and inclusive laboratory by the units critical sustainability studies and social and cultural geography of the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern and is currently run by the artist Mirko Winkel. It comprises a large team of scholars whose interest is to discover new directions and imaginative formats within and beyond geography.


kindly supported by

Faculty of Science, University of Bern



mLAB_Residency_Call.pdf (PDF, 394KB)