Mr. Peter Benz

Acting Director and Associate Professor
Spatial Design, Furniture Design, Experience Design

Mr. Peter Benz studied Architecture at the University of Kaiserslautern and the Bauhaus-University Weimar in Germany, where he received his final degree in 1998. Before and after his architecture studies, he also took courses in Film & Theatre Studies, Art History and Psychology at the University of Erlangen, and in Visual Communications and Product Design at Bauhaus-University respectively.

His academic background enabled him to open his own exhibition & graphic-design practice after leaving university, working successfully in the field for several years.

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In 2001 he was invited to join the Media Faculty of the Bauhaus-University as a faculty-member of the Media Events-chair, teaching exhibition & event design, foundation courses for (media) design, and experimental video-courses.
Since September 2006 he has a position at the Academy of Visual Arts, initially teaching Spatial Design and other visual arts subjects for the BA (Hons) in Visual Arts-programme, for which he’s also served as the Programme Director since September 2008. From 2011 to 2016 Peter additionally taught various courses for AVA’s Master of Visual Arts (Experience Design) programme, for which he served as concentration coordinator too.

The notion of ‘experience’ has been at the centre of my practical and theoretical research since I first joined the area of Media-Events (‘Medien-Ereignisse’) at the Media Faculty of Bauhaus-University Weimar in early 2001. Since then I’ve realised numerous experiential design projects in and outside academia in collaboration with professionals, students, academics, and various cooperations and institutions around the world.

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Most notably, I edited the volume Experience Design: Concepts & Case Studies (London: Bloomsbury Academic, January 2015). As a follow-up project, I’m in the process of setting up XD Journal, the first academic online journal dedicated to the investigation of ‘experience’.

As a former trained architect, I’m still very much interested in issues of ‘space’, in particular of ‘un-designed’, marginal spaces, and in certain occurrences of city mediatisation. Originally I exploited this interest in an essay series in the Singapore Architect-magazine, which then lead to the book On Marginal Space: Artefacts of the Mundane (Hong Kong: laiyanProjects, 2011). More recently, this research thread has taken me to considerations of ‘control of perception’ of urban environments, ideas that I have presented internationally at conferences and in academic journals.

Other than in experience design and urban spaces my research is instigated by the obligations that come with my administrative roles at AVA: Over the years serving the Academy I’ve developed particular interests in the practices of student assessment, and in the economics of creativity. The latter pre-occupation so far lead to an investigation into the realities of student design agencies, and the subsequent setup of the Young Artists’ Agency of HKBU as an entrepreneurial support hub for creative graduates (incl. e.g. since 2014 the annual Young Creative Entrepreneurship business plan competition). Those activities provided the foundation for my current General Research Fund (GRF) project Creative Livelihoods, a survey study statistically investigating the economic situation of practicing visual artists in Hong Kong for the first time. I expect the findings of this project to have wide-reaching impact on policy making and educational efforts for the cultural and creative industries in Hong Kong after they are eventually published at project completion, thus, supporting the advancement of the local creative ecology to international levels.

Research Grants (externally-funded)
Creative Livelihoods: A Pilot Study on the Long-term Development of Career Paths of Graduates from Creative Undergraduate Degree Programmes in
Hong Kong with a particular Focus on the Careers of Female Creatives. General Research Fund grant, Research Grant Council Hong Kong. September 2016–August 2017.
Creative Livelihoods: A Pilot Study on the Long-term Development of Career Paths of Graduates from Creative Undergraduate Degree Programmes in Hong Kong. Project grant, Arts Development Council, Hong Kong. January–December 2016.
Young Artist Agency (YAA). Knowledge Transfer grant, Kingston University, London, UK. September 2010–February 2011.

Research Grants (internally-funded)
XD Journal. Special Research Grant, HKBU. January 2016–December 2018.
10 Case Studies on Hong Kong Contemporary Jewellery Art. FRG II-grant, HKBU. January–December 2015. In collaboration with Dr. Cicy Ching.
Experience Design Online Research Platform. FRG II-grant, HKBU. August 2012–July 2013.

Teaching Development Grants
Enriching Senior Year Places Students’ Learning Experience through Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities in Hong Kong’s Universities. Teaching Development grant, University Grant Committee, Hong Kong. September 2017–August 2020.
Harnessing Ubiquitous Learning to Improve Outcomes. Teaching Development grant (co-investigator), University Grant Committee, Hong Kong. September 2014–August 2015.
AVA Prototyping Lab. Teaching Development grant, HKBU. September 2013–September 2014.
Development of an ePortfolio System for the Academy of Visual Arts (IVANA). OBTL grant, HKBU. September 2012–January 2013.
Online-Tool Development of Improved Framework for Assessment of Student Work Results in the Visual Arts (OLGA). OBTL grant, HKBU. November 2010–December 2011.
Digital Image Archive for the AVA (DIA). Teaching Development grant, HKBU. January 2009–December 2010.

Book Editorship (peer-reviewed)
Benz, Peter, ed. Designing Experience: Concepts and Case Studies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Journal Editorship
XD Journal. Hong Kong: Academy of Visual Arts, HKBU. (as Managing Editor)

cubic design journal. Hong Kong/Delft: School of Design, HK PolyU. (as Member of the Editorial Board)

Scholarly/Creative/Professional Books & Book Contributions (peer-reviewed)
Benz, Peter. ‘Urban Design as Mirrored by the Photo-Opportunity’. In Ines Weizman (ed.). Dust & Data: Proceedings of the Bauhaus-Colloquium 2016. (under review)
Benz, Peter. ‘Space, Experience, Identity and Meaning’. In Peter Benz, ed. Designing Experience: Concepts and Cases. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015: 77–85.
Benz, Peter. ‘Dressing Nature’. In Eric Schuldenfrei, and Marisa Yiu, eds. Instant Culture: Architecture and Urbanism as a Collective Process. Hong Kong: MCCM, 2011: 122–125.
Benz, Peter. On Marginal Spaces: Artefacts of the Mundane. Hong Kong: laiyanProjects, 2011.

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Journal Publications (peer-reviewed)
Benz, Peter. ‘The City, Shaped by the Photo-Opportunity.’ In Common: Journal for Art and the Public 6 (2015): online.
Benz, Peter. ‘All my Friends are Here’. In Gateways: International Journal of Community Research and Engagement 6 (2013): 199–217.

Conference Presentations (peer-reviewed)
Benz, Peter. ‘In the Flow: Experiential Learning at the Happiest Place on Earth’. Presentation at the conference Influencing Teaching and Learning Practice – Achieving the Ripple Effect. Hong Kong University. 8 March 2017.
Benz, Peter. ‘Urban Design as Mirrored by the Photo-Opportunity.’ Presentation at the Young Bauhaus Research Colloquium. Bauhaus-University Weimar.
26–27 October 2016.
Benz, Peter. ‘An Online Grading Assistant for Student Assessment in Outcome-Based Visual Arts-Education.’ Presentation at International Conference:
Assessment for Learning in Higher Education 2015. Hong Kong University. 14–15 May 2015.
Benz, Peter. ‘Montage of Events: Towards Systems of Designed Experience.’ Presentation at Designing Experience: ‘The Ballerina on the Elephant’. Hong Kong Baptist University. 27–29 November 2014.
Benz, Peter. ‘OLGA: An Online Grading Assistant for Student Assessment in Outcome-Based Visual Arts-Education.’ Presentation at eLearning Forum Asia 2013. Hong Kong Baptist University. 29–31 May 2013.
Benz, Peter. ‘Young Artist Agency – An Exemplary International Knowledge Transfer Project.’ Presentation at Beyond Academia: International Knowledge Transfer Conference in Arts and Humanities. Culture and Science Park, Renmin University of China. 14 October 2011.
Benz, Peter. ‘Bad is Not Always Good.’ Presentation at Opportunities and Challenges: Conference on Visual Arts Education in Asia. Lam Woo International
Conference Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. 23–25 June 2010.
Benz, Peter. ‘Making a Difference: Visual Arts and the Community.’ Presentation at The Craft of Engagement: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in Arts & Humanities. Symposium and Workshops. Lam Woo International Conference Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong. 31 May–1 June 2010.

Professional Magazine Publications
Benz, Peter. ‘Theming the Condo.’ In Singapore Architect 268 (2012): 158–161.
Benz, Peter. ‘The City & the Photo-Opportunity.’ In Singapore Architect 265 (2011): 109–115.
Benz, Peter. ‘Domesticated Bus Stops.’ In Singapore Architect 255 (2010): 154–157.
Benz, Peter. ‘Dead Ends.’ In Singapore Architect 253 (2009): 144–147.
Benz, Peter. ‘Going Public.’ In Singapore Architect 252 (2009): 130–133.
Benz, Peter. ‘Roundabout.’ In Singapore Architect 251 (2009): 156–159.
Benz, Peter. ‘Urban Solids.’ In Singapore Architect 250 (2009): 134–137.
Benz, Peter. ‘Waiting Zones.’ In Singapore Architect 249 (2009): 134–139.
Benz, Peter. ‘Under a Bridge.’ In Singapore Architect 248 (2009): 138–143.
Benz, Peter. ‘Empty Aisles.’ In Singapore Architect 247 (2008): 138–143.