Research Statement

As an academic and independent researcher Eelko Moorer’s interest in material culture deepens, intensifies and underpins his studio work through critical pedagogy and performative action. He advocates praxis: theory through practice and thinking through making. He gives lectures and workshops on the creative process in conceptual and critical thinking and offers consultancy for education programs.

Moorer combines his design studio and academic investigation in a research based practice that is practice-led. His multi-method approach -a mix of narrative inquiry, action research, object based learning, performative education, experiential learning- is always informed by critical and literary theory. For Moorer, artefacts convey personal and social stories, and storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world, revealing their meaning without falling into the trap of defining it. Therefore, the purpose of a narrative is not to tell you how and what to think, but to provide issues to reflect upon in order to better understand the values, beliefs, and attitudes of those whom they serve.

He has always had an interest in the socio-political issues in design education and learning in general and he believes education is political by default. Therefore, his designs participate in discourses aiming to spark new and different ways of thinking as the driving forces bringing about change in our sociocultural futures. How can a learning experience be enhanced through performative teaching and/or learning methods to encourage more critical thinking and awareness through design?

His work deals with the relationship and conflict between the individual body and the social body. It explores themes evolving around perversion, sex, death, individual agency, and anarchist pedagogy. Targeting the intellect, his projects prompt self-reflection which in turn ignites the imagination to offer social criticism.

His current focus is on how the concept of the perverse can function as a voice within critical design practice in order to challenge the pathology of normality. He also investigates individual agency, questioning “I” through an exploration of the social construction of gait and informed by anarchist pedagogy, Honoré de Balzac’s Theory of the Walk and the Commedia dell’arte. The aim in both investigations is to develop critical awareness in students through a performative and performance-based approach to learning by exploring critical practice within a sociopolitical agenda.

The ongoing research results in experimental educational tools for pedagogical contexts such as “Critical Kinaesthetics” (2018) and “Pandora’s Box” (2019) to support workshops, and a proposal for learning in a social-therapeutic context in “Anxiety Island” (2018). These practical proposal are supported by the articles Critical Approaches in Footwear Design Practice (2017) for Fashion Theory Russia, and Anarchy I:I (2019).