The Glossary Project

Source: Susanne K. Langer Papers, 1895-1985 (MS Am 3110). Houghton Library, Harvard University | foto: I. van der Tuin
Source: Susanne K. Langer Papers, 1895-1985 (MS Am 3110). Houghton Library, Harvard University | photo: I. van der Tuin

While their definitions seem to be clear-cut, fixed and stable, when found in handbooks and dictionaries, the meanings and uses of concepts are always in motion. Depending on the context, the era, and experiences of their users, these meanings develop, shift or modify. Concepts may also be interpreted or connoted differently depending on the discipline or professional field within which they are activated. In the current Algorithmic Condition, concepts move at a faster pace, and therefore the importance of exchange about concepts is extra relevant. In The Glossary Project we reflect on contemporary concepts that apply to your practice, organization, or project, with the help of creative methods so as to foster research and dialogue. The insights gained may deepen existing knowledge or they may serve as starting points for new forms of reflection, action, and practice.


"Working through and with the glossary has been quite helpful in the framing of my research, as it allowed to frame different aspects into clear concepts through an associative and intuitive process. As such, it helped to make some quick informed steps with concepts that were unfamiliar at times, but that all have been delineated didactically and made thoroughly intelligible for both neophytes and, I believe, experts.”


You can book The Glossary Project as a short course composed of three sessions, but it is equally possible to tailor its design to your specific needs. The sessions can be offered in Dutch or in English, online or on site. The first session centers around a concept that is chosen beforehand. This concept suits your specific practice, organisation, or project. 

The sessions are structured as follows:

  1. The first session starts off with a short introduction on working with concepts after which literature is discussed. A syllabus on working conceptually and on the concept of your choice will be sent to participants in advance. After the literature review, participants get to work on their intellectual autobiography. They may discover shifts in this autobiography and are invited to formulate ambitions or aims for the future. The session concludes with a group reflection on the written or pictured autobiographies that were produced during the session.

  2. The second session positions the growing interest in glossaries / dictionaries / lexicons in our information-saturated society and explains how these glossaries are designed and used at the intersection of the sciences and the arts. Using the dynamics between cultural theory, philosophy, and objects, we make different ways of working with concepts tangible for, and with, the participants. We do a ‘shared horizon’ assignment, in which participants have to come up with a common ground between, and an artistic / activist / policy application for, three random concepts from our database.

  3. The third and final session invites participants to bring their own concept and to formulate it in a certain amount of words and/or by means of a design or image. During the session concepts are presented to the group and they will receive peer feedback. A second shared horizon assignment brings the concepts chosen by the participants together and we decide what would be the best conceptual framework for your practice, organization or project.


"The glossary project helped me understand academic concepts which I wasn’t acquainted with at all. It truly opened my view on theory in a joyful way which counterbalanced my apprehension of academia."


The Glossary Project was created by connecting scholarship and methods from the Creative Humanities with those from the Scholarship of Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning.