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.
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.
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.
Benz, Peter. ‘Empty Aisles (photo-series).’ In Read Me Like a Book. Curated by Andrew Guthrie at The Coming Society, Hong Kong. 20 June–7 July 2013.
Benz, Peter. ‘Works.’ In Fotanian Open Studio Days. laiyanProjects, Hong Kong. January 2012.
Benz, Peter. ‘Spoons.’ In Detour 2011. Former Police Married Quarters, Hong Kong. 25 November–11 December 2011.
Benz, Peter, Trish Flanagan, and students. ‘Second Skin.’ In HK–SZ Bi-City Biennale for Architecture & Urban Planning. West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, Hong Kong. 4 December 2009–27 February 2010.
Benz, Peter. ‘Escape.’ In Prelude. Koo Ming Kwon Exhibition Gallery, Hong Kong. 19 June–2 July 2010.
Benz, Peter. ‘Samson: Self-Portrait.’ In HKAC 30th Anniversary Exhibition. Art Centre, Hong Kong. 3–29 August 2008.
Scholarly/Creative/Professional Books & Book Contributions (peer-reviewed)
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.
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.
Benz, Peter. Creative Livelihoods: A Pilot Study on the Long-term Development of Career Paths of Graduates from Creative Undergraduate Degree Programmes in Hong Kong with Particular Investigation on Signs for Potential Systematic Discrimination in the Careers of Female Creatives. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Arts Development Council, March 2018.
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.
Book Editorship (peer-reviewed)
Benz, Peter, ed. Designing Experience: Concepts and Case Studies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.
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)
President’s Award 2011. HKBU. Nomination in ‘Service’-category.
President’s Award 2009. HKBU. Nomination in ‘Service’-category.
University Award 2006. Bauhaus-University Weimar. Winner in ‘Most Promising Young Designer’-category.