Graduate School of the Arts (GSA)

Portraits of doctoral students

Jana Thierfelder

Jana Thierfelder was born in Augsburg on 02.12.1987. After completing grammar school at the Gymnasium at St. Anna in Augsburg in 2007, with the main subjects of English and Art, she followed her enthusiasm for art and culture and participated in her first exhibition at a graduate's vernissage. The positive response to her artistic-analytical work on "The Female Mouth in Art" led her to studying design, art and media with a focus on visual communication, which she began in 2008 at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart. It became clear, however, that their interest was mainly devoted to the theoretical discourse of design and preferred the reflexive, analytical work of the practical. On the basis of this predilection, she decided to write a theoretical Bachelor thesis about Critical Design, which was published in 2014 under the title "Perspektiven des Critical Design: Evolutionary Past – Symbiotic Future".

After her degree she joined the Hamburg-based graphic agency ringzwei, which she left again in 2013 to begin her master's degree in Transdisciplinary Studies in the Arts at the ZHdK in Zurich. She took advantage of her studies in order to educate herself in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) alongside cultural and social science perspectives. Since the beginning of her studies, Jana Thierfelder has been working with scientists at the Anthropological Institute of the University of Zurich and since 2016 also with researchers from the Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape at the ETH. 

Her employment at the Master of Transdisciplinarity, allowed her since 2015 allows her a regular exchange with colleagues from the Department of Culture Analysis, and can combine her professional work with her research interests, especially within seminars. In addition, Jana Thierfelder has been a member of the "Zeichenwerkstatt", a graduate colloquium offered by the Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ZHdK) and that is run by Prof. Dr. Sigrid Adorf and Prof. Dr. Sigrid Schade.


Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble, University of Bern, Institute of Social Anthropology (Media Anthropology)
Prof. Dr. Priska Gisler, Bern University of the Arts HKB, Head FSP Intermedialität

Doctoral project

The Beauty of Data Collection. A Comparative Study of the Role of Notation Systems within Field Studies (working title)

Drawing, sketching, and drafting are techniques within scientific notation processes that form chains of inscriptions. They can be understood as cultural techniques that, in addition to their cognitive use, help to collect, store and transport observations. If these notation procedures become research objects of design research, they can provide information about the epistemic potential of graphical and visual tools.
Comparing the notation procedures in different disciplines, one can make out clear differences. While they are adapted in biology in order to meet scientific conventions, in ethnology it is common sense that field notes are published. The handling of visualization practices apparently follow different rules, depending on the disciplines.
For this research project an ethnographic field study that focuses on notation procedures in evolutionary biology and ethnology, which are to be pursued by approaches from design research and science and technology studies, is planned.

Research priorities

Design Research, Science and Technology Studies, Notation Methods