Here and There

A new educational model for a post-pandemic world

A collaboration between ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne and MIT Department of Architecture.

The global pandemic has forever changed how we work, learn and play, making virtual communication the primary form of human interaction. Here and There is a new digital pedagogy that enables students to create networked physical interfaces with limited material resources and tools, while being away and stripped from a traditional in-person studio and workshop setting.

Initiated during a week-long workshop in Cambridge (USA) in March 2020, it brought together students in Bachelor Media & Interaction Design from ECAL and students from MIT’s Undergraduate Design Minor and Bachelor of Science in Art and Designprograms. During the 2020 spring quarantine, a series of open source software and hardware tools were developed to allow students to build electronic objects from simple and readily available materials. These objects were then dynamically routed and connected to each other to physically augment video chatting and to allow students to extend their virtual reach into each other's tangible spaces. 

For the first phase of this project, students had to imagine, design and implement two interfaces, whose design and behavior allowed and suggested a new form of communication between two people, in two separate places. Notions of remote presence, simultaneous actions, shared experience and telepresence were explored, fundamentally expanding the ways through which we interact and communicate.

Open to other academic institutions and the public at large, we plan to continue improving the software routing interface, the techniques for documentation and sharing prototypes, as well as the remote interfaces that we hope will help foster a more human and connected post-pandemic world. 

ECAL x MIT: Here and There – A new educational model for a post-pandemic world from ECAL on Vimeo.

ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne 
ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne, an internationally renowned school, is directed by Alexis Georgacopoulos. In a 15000sqm building, the school currently offers its 600 students six Bachelor programs (Fine Arts, Cinema, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Media & Interaction Design, Photography), five Master programs (Fine Arts, Film, Photography, Product Design, Type Design) and two Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Design for Luxury & Craftsmanship and in Design Research for Digital Innovation (with EPFL+ECAL Lab). 

Bachelor in Media and Interaction Design at ECAL
Successfully bridging several disciplines around digital communication, this training is designed for students with a solid visual culture eager to find out more about advanced technology. Prospective, pragmatic and experimental, this Bachelor course is provided in the framework of the Visual Communication Department, which concurrently offers crossover courses and projects enabling students to acquire multidisciplinary skills (photography, graphic design, film).


MIT Department of Architecture
The MIT Department of Architecture opened its doors in 1868 as the first Architecture department in the United States. The Department is currently home to around 250 graduate and undergraduate students. Numbered among the Department’s over 5,000 alumni are Sophia Hayden ’1890, Robert R. Taylor ‘1892, I.M. Pei ‘40, and Charles Correa ‘55. The Department is one of five divisions within the School of Architecture and Planning which together lead teaching and thinking about design across MIT: urban planning; the Media Lab; art, culture, and technology; real estate; and advanced urbanism.

Undergraduate Design Minor and Bachelor of Science in Art and Design programs
The Department of Architecture launched MIT’s first undergraduate minor in design in 2016. The Design Minor requires students to complete three core studios and three additional electives selected from three design categories: objects, information, and art and experience. In the Fall of 2018, the Department relaunched the Bachelors of Science in Art and Design (BSAD). This new Design Major combines studio-based learning with seminars and lecture-based subjects. Students learn the fundamental principles of art and design—principles they can apply to hybrid design careers in the future spanning from information design to product design, interaction design, bio-design, computational design and more.



Pauline Saglio, Head BA Media and Interaction Design, ECAL
Gael Hugo, Interaction Designer, Associate Professor, ECAL
Marcelo Coelho, Lecturer, MIT Department of Architecture & Head of Design, Formlabs

Teaching assistants:
Pierry Jaquillard, Ous Abou Ras, Benjamin Hoyle, Thaddeus Lee, David Allen White 

ECAL students:
Ivan Chestopaloff, Basil Dénéréaz, Nora Fatehi, Paul Fritz, Sébastien Galera Larios, Rayane Jemaa, Dorian Jovanovic, Lisa Kishtoo, Valentine Leimgruber, Valério Meschi, Ignacio Pérez, Michael Pica, David Reitenbach, Malik Sobgoui

MIT students:
Violetta Jusiega, Nikodimos Sendek, Leslie Yan, Katie Bacher, Justin Christensen, Ailing Zhang, Hassaam Ali, Teis Jorgensen, Chenlu Wang

Hub prototyping and development:
Alain Bellet, Gaël Hugo

Web design and development:
Pietro Alberti, Clio Hadjigeorgiou, Pierry Jaquillard, Sébastien Matos

Gianni Camporota 

Skylar Tibbits, Associate Professor in Design Research and Design Program Director, MIT Department of Architecture
Cécile Vulliemin, Strategic Partnerships - R&D, ECAL

Hosted at the MIT International Design Center; supported by the General Board of Higher Education State of Vaud and its Summer University program. 



Cécile Vulliemin
Strategic Partnerships – R&D
ECAL/University of Art and Design
+41 21 316 92 16

Amanda M Moore 
Communications Strategist  
Department of Architecture
School of Architecture and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
+ 1 617-253-0692