The course will address the making of maps from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The course is created for all departments and artistic disciplines.


proff. Joost Grootens

For whom?

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students and MA students of the KABK and BA students of Leiden University.


Semester I in the Fall of 2020 (Sept-Dec 2020), 5 meetings

Study load

3 ECT (30 contact hours and 54 self study hours)

About this course

Collectively, seminal texts on cartography will be examined and each participant will create, record, edit, produce and distribute an individual map project that will be discussed during the sessions. Students are open to explore alternative digital and analog tools to produce their map.

Each session will be concluded by a public lecture on topics like atlases, Jacques Bertin, critical cartography, forensics, Google Earth, GPS, post-representational cartography, self-tracking and surveillance.

For 2nd, 3rd and 4th year BA students and MA students of the KABK and BA students of University Leiden.

Full attendance is obligatory in order to receive study points towards the Individual Study Trajectory (3 EC).

Max. 12 students can apply for the course.

The course will be in English.

There are no admission requirements for this elective course.

Apply between Thursday 17 and 24 September 2020 by registering for the course in OSIRIS.

For questions Emily Huurdeman, coordinator of the lectorate, at

Wednesdays from 13.00-19.00h

  • #1 Wednesday 30-09-2020, 3 hours classical and 3 hours individual (room PA.011)
  • #2 Wednesday 14-10-2020, 3 hours classical and 3 hours individual (online)
  • #3 Wednesday 04-11-2020, 3 hours classical and 3 hours individual (room PD.210)
  • #4 Wednesday 25-11-2020, 3 hours classical and 3 hours individual (online)
  • #5 Wednesday 09-12-2020, 3 hours classical and 3 hours individual (room PC.214)

The objectives of the course are to gain a theoretical understanding of the production and use of maps. Learn how to make a map from the collecting of data, to editing and transforming this data into a map, to the producing and distributing it in print, online or otherwise.

The evaluation of the student will be based on the student project.

The project will address on the one hand critical competencies like the understanding of the broader context in which the map operates, both in a political/societal sense and a theoretical one. The project will also deal with organizational and communicative competencies of making large data sets manageable and understandable for others.

The creative competency of the course lies in combining these critical and functional aspects of the map. How to express the political position of the mapmaker while making a project that is open enough to empower the map user.

    The final outcome of this course will be a map.

    List the required readings:

    Bertin, Jacques, Semiology of Graphics: Diagrams Networks Maps (1967; Redlands: Esri Press, 2011).

    Blauvelt, Andrew, ‘Tool (Or, Post-production for the Graphic Designer’, in Graphic Design: Now in Production, eds. Andrew Blauvelt and Ellen Lupton Ellen (Minneapolis: Walker Art Centre, 2011), 23–31.

    Caquard, Sébastien, ‘A Post-Representational Perspective on Cognitive Cartography’, in Progress in Human Geography 39, no. 2 (2015), 225–235.

    Crampton, Jeremy W. and John Krygier, ‘An Introduction to Critical Cartography’, in ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 4, no. 1 (2005), 11–33.

    Drucker, Johanna, Graphesis. Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014).

    Harley, J.B., ‘Deconstructing the Map’ (1989), in The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation, eds. Martin Dodge, Rob Kitchin and Chris Perkins (Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2011), 56–64.

    Kitchin, Rob and Martin Dodge, ‘Rethinking Maps’, in Progress in Human Geography 31 (3) 2007, 331–344.

    Kurgan, Laura, Close Up at a Distance. Mapping, Technology, and Politics (New York: Zone Books, 2013).

    Lupton, Deborah, ‘Self-Tracking Modes: Reflexive Self-Monitoring and Data Practices’, paper for the ‘Imminent Citizenships: Personhood and Identity Politics in the Informatic Age’ workshop, 27 August 2014.

    Offenhuber, Dietmar, ‘Maps of Daesh: The Cartographic Warfare Surrounding Insurgent Statehood’, in GeoHumanities 4 (2018).

    Parks, Lisa, ‘Plotting the Personal: Global Positioning Satellites and Interactive Media’, in Cultural Geographies 8, no. 2 (2001), 209–222.

    Weizman, Eyal, Forensic Architecture: Violence at the Threshold of Detectability (Brooklyn: Zone Books, 2017).

    Zuboff, Shoshana, ‘Google as a Fortune Teller. The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism’, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 March 2016.


    Required preparation:

    Read a text. Work on individual map project.

    Required preparation:

    Read a text. Work on individual map project.

    Required preparation:

    Read a text. Work on individual map project.

    Required preparation:

    Read a text. Work on individual map project.

    Required preparation:

    Read a text. Work on individual map project.


    Joost Grootens is a graphic designer, researcher and educator. His studio SJG designs books, maps, typefaces, spatial installations and digital information environments for publishers like Lars Müller Publishers, nai010 publishers, Park Books, Phaidon press; educational and research institutes like ETH Zürich, Future Cities Laboratory Singapore, KADK Copenhagen, TU Delft; and museums such as Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Van

    Abbemuseum Eindhoven. Joost Grootens leads the masters programme Information Design at Design Academy Eindhoven, and is a university lecturer at the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts at Leiden University. Grootens is a mapping tutor at KADK Copenhagen and Professor Information Architecture at ISIA Urbino. researching the blurring of the maker-user divide in current map making practices.

    This course is part of the Art Research Programme of the Lectorate Art Theory & Practice.