Abstract image of the Tree of Knowledge by Hilma af Klint

The Tree of Knowledge, HaK133  by Hilma af Klint. Courtesy of the Hilma af Klint Foundation

About us

The Department's research structure has three entry points: artifacts (things), action (making), knowledge (work). These open up qualitative methodological pathways that are complemented by critical engagement with our Source-Based Initiatives. Along each pathway, research activities are organized into collaborative working groups focused on project-based outputs that promote discussion and debate on the production of knowledge. The department also hosts the "First Research Article" fellowship program.

Current working groups and their respective leaders in the Department include:


Working groups in "Artifacts" use the body of animals to address the historical thresholds of animality, knowledge, and materiality. They engage with the methods and geographies that underwrite how people have known about and through animals.


Working groups in "Action" used histories of planning to emphasize the dynamics of how different forms of knowledge are used to “make things work” through conceptual and material processes. Please note that all working groups in "Action" were scheduled to conclude by February 2022, and further research activities are not planned at this time.


What kind of work is it to make knowledge? Working groups in “Knowledge” place the experts and their practices in the center of historiographical investigation. Taking a cross-cultural and longue-durée approach, we explore how practices shaped our understanding of science and knowledge cultures.

Source-Based Initiatives

Quantitative research methods, such as digitization and database access to material, whether scanned images, digital texts, or other types of digital facsimiles, create opportunities to reorder, remix, and re-examine sources that researchers have long been studying. Bringing together massive amounts of sources in their digital forms, Source-Based Initiatives allow the examination of gigantic bodies of clues to reveal their underlying knowledge structures.

Externally Funded Working Groups

The Department also hosts externally funded working groups whose research complements existing interests and activities at the Institute. For a comprehensive list of all externally funded working groups at the Department, past and present, please click here.

All Working Groups

For all working groups in the Department since 2015, please click here.