PhD Course „Criticality in Research/Criticality as Praxis:
Knowledge tools for designing urban futures“

Pages from Alexander von Humboldt‘s American Travel Diaries 1799-1804: showing post-travel reflections pasted directly on top of on-site travel notations. Source: Berlin State Library/Prussian Cultural Heritage

Organized by SLU professors Andrea Kahn (founder of designCONTENT) and Lisa Diedrich (director of the SLU Urban Futures research platform). The course (currently planned as online) runs September – November 2021 with an intensive core seminar the week of 4-7 October, plus a new final paper presentation group-session, 16 November.  This re-structured and updated version of the 3rd PhD course in the “Criticality” series this fall is worth 7.5 ECT

Criticality, as a socially situated practice of thinking, reflecting and acting marks a disposition to position our (re)searching selves outside received frameworks of understanding in order to engage other-wise, and in other ways, with the world. Critical theory, is similarly reflective, and situated, attentive to the circumstances conditioning its production. This PhD course aims to mobilize the power of critical thinking to help participants sharpen understanding of their own research goals within broader disciplinary contexts, and to strengthen their capacity, as researchers, to contribute to the evolution of landscape knowledge for sustainable urban futures. It welcomes PhD students in disciplines concerned with urban landscapes (design, planning, environmental science, landscape architecture, urban history, ecology, architecture, etc.). 

See full course description for further information

To apply, candidates should submit the following materials in a single PDF with their full name in the document header. Email to SLU Profs. Lisa Diedrich & Andrea Kahn (; by 2 JULY 2021:

• a 1-page abstract of their PhD research project, including title
• a 1-paragraph statement with their motivation for participating in this course
• PhD start date, name of supervisor(s) and home institution

Note: A nominal 1000 SEK (ca 100 EUR) fee will be required from non-SLU students. Accepted students will be asked to provide their invoicing information for processing.

Course Leaders:
Lisa Diedrich, Prof. of Landscape Architecture/Director of SLU Urban Futures
Andrea Kahn, Prof. of Site Thinking in Research and Design, SLU Landscape

Guest lecturer:
Thaïsa Way, Director of Studies, Garden & Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks / Prof. University of Washington

Course assistant:
Sonia Curnier, MSc Arch. PhD EPFL, Post-doc SLU Landscape

Lisa Diedrich, SLU

Higher education credits:
7.5 ECTS

Subject area:
Landscape Architecture


PhD students (registered or applicants) in fields concerned with urban landscape futures (design, planning, environmental science, landscape architecture, architecture, urban history, ecology, sustainability studies etc.)