[+UM] Unexpected Media


The scrutiny and decipherment of the tension between Design axioms and their profound, contemporary paradigm shifts in terms of nature and expectation. This decipherment occurs in light of the evidence of new media of new media as protagonists of this change, and resorts to these in the urgency of their own communicability – as well as of the urgency of the fulfillment of their original promise of cultural and social emancipation.

This group is responsible for the development of the project FUTUREPLACES (Media and Citizenship), a partnership between UP and the University of Texas at Austin.


Technological Emancipation, Post-Ideological Speculation, Meaning and Loss, Transmedia storytelling


This group is, first and foremost, project-driven and network-based. A governance structure is intended as a means of maintaining scientific and strategic continuity of what should, in essence, be a point of convergence for research projects sharing a common territory of knowledge and enquiry.

Group Coordinator elected by the Scientific Committee, two-year renewable term;
Scientific Committee formed by all integrated members;
Project coordinators emerge out of the projects themselves;
Plenary meetings with all members of the group (bi-yearly).

Therefore, the main driving element of the group’s development will be an annual forum that will gather researchers, students and external civic and entrepreneurial agents around the subject of contemporary media challenges of a civic, social and cultural nature. This will be the main, albeit evidently not exclusive, catalyst of social incorporation of the knowledge stemming out of the projects under development by the research group.

Additionally, the group considers the implementation of a “research culture” one of its main priorities. With this in mind, a daily coexistence in a lab environment that opens its doors to researchers, partners and PhD students is an essential ingredient to the success of a fertile research hub.

Lastly, the group acknowledges its potential to act as an incubator of research projects that may in due time become autonomous research groups themselves.

Integrated members
António Manuel Dias Costa Valente
Cláudia Raquel Lima
Cristina Maria da Silva Pinto Ferreira Fonseca
Daniel da Cruz Brandão
Jelena Savic
João Adriano Fernandes Rangel
João José Gonçalves de Barros Cruz
Jorge Brandão Pereira
José Manuel da Silva Fernandes de Carvalho Carneiro
Julio Fernando Dolbeth e Costa Henriques da Silva
Nuno Duarte Martins
Pedro Alexandre Santos Carvalho de Almeida
Pedro Jorge Couto Cardoso
Rui Paulo Vitorino dos Santos
Susana Cruz Barreto
PhD students
Abhishek Chatterjee
Ana Clara Nunes Roberti
Anselmo Neto Ferreira Canha
António João Fernandes Lourenço Gomes
Celeste Maria Lourenço da Silva de Oliveira Pedro
César Lugo-Elías
Dula Maria Bento de Lima
Ece Canli
Fátima Silva São Simão
Helena Sofia Silva
Isobel Taylor
Marta Nestor Pinheiro de Magalhães Pereira Rodrigues
Olga Glumac
Pedro Augusto Moura Palha Bellesi
Rafael Klumb Arnoni
Ricardo Manuel Coelho de Melo
Rui Miguel da Costa Monteiro
Sérgio Miguel Carvalho Januário
Other researchers
Ana Isabel da Silva Carvalho
Maria Luisa Gomes do Valle e Vasconcellos
Ricardo Lafuente Monteiro

One of the key barometers of contemporaneity is vertigo (subjective, ubiquitous and endlessly re-configurable) of participatory media in face of its apparent orthodoxy and the determinism of its use.

The geo-political and geo-economic contexts have been revealing a need for the re-thinking of prior structural models of social fabric.

The concept of emancipation, individual and communal, existential and financial, through the creative functions of media, is intuitively foreseen as a possibility worthy of testing, recognition, inscription, aggregation and implementation.

Unexpected Media thus proposes to contribute to the following:

  • The decipherment of contemporary social, cultural and myhtological paradoxes.
  • The capacitation of citizens in their relational ambivalence with the vertigo of contemporary culture.
  • The legitimisation of multiple value systems and cultural production models
  • The calibration of contemporary media through projects that engage with factors of accessibility, horizontality, expectation, geometry, narrative, speculation, oneiricism.
  • The scrutiny of the phenomenon whereby the current employment of word and image are mechanisms for the paralysis of action.
  • The fostering of tangible citizen involvement in the development of social models
  • The scrutiny and taxonomy of analogue heritage in face of its partial absence and impossibility of digital translation.
  • A contextual harmonization between the axiomatic aspects of design and their current, unpredictable paradigm shifts.

Furthermore, these objectives will be pursued within contextual frameworks that will provide both a series of environments subject to ethnographic scrutiny, whose scale may be further expanded, and a series of multi-disciplinary environments where design may both legitimise its value in face of other disciplines, and acquire a fuller understanding of its own current boundaries.

Some ongoing PhD Research:

  • A Geometry of Regeneration.
  • Designrascar: Towards an Alternate Model of Design Philosophy.
  • Codesigning communication in dementia.
  • Design, Tradition and Craft: the case of Almalaguês.
  • Designing process and narrative with local agro-industrial byproducts.
  • Exploring Universal Structure to Design.
  • The Serendipitous Web: Mechanisms and Processes for Designing Online Serendipity.
  • “Arraial” Echoes: Possible Design contributions in the systematization, appreciation and communication of the cultural representations existing in the “Arraial do Pavulagem”, Belém.
  • De/Re-Construction of Gender Performativity through Self-Representation.

FUTUREPLACES takes place in Porto, Portugal, where the challenges and potential of digital media to transform the social and cultural fabric are very evident. Join us for four days of exhibitions, films, performances, concerts, lectures, parties and workshops – and bring your ideas and your stories!

website: http://futureplaces.org