Doctoral Students

Barbro Scholz
Started in

Research summary

Personal Wearable Light

In this research project, Barbro Scholz critically investigates body-worn light. One part of the research focuses on designing and developing interactive material composites, which consist of physical materials (textiles, electronics) and intangible materials (light, data). The other part deals with the socio-cultural impact of light on the body. Light highlights or exposes, changes the shape of the body and its environment and interferes with its surroundings. What happens when humans become light sources?

The material design part of the research project focuses on the notion of sample-making. The conceptual part of the research applies material speculation as a form of lived speculation by using the object of speculation in everyday life. This form of lived material speculation collects data through an auto-ethnographical method or, in other words, a first-person method, as was recently discussed in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. In these cases, the wearer is invited to connect with the light wearable through playful interaction.

The research is based on the concepts of material agency and new materialism: light is applied to a known material, changing the appearance of the wearer and interrelating with its surroundings by highlighting and casting shadows. Wearing an object of investigation in a daily context involves a performative act. Apart from the written dissertation, an archive of materials (including sample prototypes) will be one of the research outcomes. A performative setup, a set of instructions on how to wear wearable light, will be another result. The latter will serve as a documentation of the aesthetic experience of both the materiality and wearability of light.



Barbro Scholz (1985 DE) is an e-textiles and material designer based in Hamburg (industrial design BA, fashion-/textile-design MFA). Her work focuses on electronic textiles and interaction, and her interest is in the impact of e-textiles in the relation between the human and technology, in its aesthetic experience and socio-cultural impact.

She is co-founder of the Stühmer|Scholz Design Office in Hamburg, Germany (2012), working with clients in culture and industry. Since 2015 she teaches textile-design and -engineering to university students. Since 2020 she is a member of the Design-Research-Center at HAW Hamburg through the 'Speculative Space'-research group, and since 2021 through 'Klima-ACT', investigating potentials in embedded soft-haptics combined with VR.

Scholz showed her work in national and international contexts, amongst others, at MAK Vienna 2013, Pailliards centre d’arts 2016, Barrick Museum of Art, Las Vegas, NV, 2022, and Design Center Hamburg 2022. Latest awards: Wearsustain 2nd call (2018), WORTH-project 2nd call (2019), nominee Starts Prize at Ars Elektronica 2020.


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