Call for position: SNSF Scientific collaborator

The HES-SO Geneva invites to application to the HEAD – Genève (Geneva School of Art and Design) for the position of Scientific Collaborator HES #4 (FNS) in Graphic design 

HEAD – Genève is one of Switzerland’s leading art and design schools, with an international reputation. With some 700 students, it offers a broad spectrum of courses at Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees : Fine Arts, Cinema, Interior Architecture, Space and Communication, Visuall Communication as well as Fashion and Accessory Design. The school has also established itself as a major player on Geneva’s cultural scene.

The postdoctoral researcher will be associated to the research project : WYSIWYG. An investigation in the uptake of graphic design software, Switzerland and France, 1980-today, financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

WYISWYG is a 3-year interdisciplinary research project that aims at documenting, from a historical and theoretical perspective, the digital turn of graphic design practice. The period considered stretches from the mid-1980s with the introduction of the first personal computers equipped with graphic design software (in particular the Macintosh from Apple, Inc., 1984) to contemporary discussions regarding their massive generalization. The project will produce data, timeline, critical analysis on the economy and distribution networks of WYSIWYG software (acronym of « What You See Is What You Get »: first-used in 1981 the expression designates a specific category of software whose graphic interface makes it possible to visualize a design on the screen as it will ultimately be printed). The survey will be based on the analysis of trade magazines, institutional and personal archives; as well as on a vast oral history program with actors and witnesses of this pivotal period. The project will concentrate on Switzerland and France, in a comparative perspective, and with a focus on the significant intertwining of both countries’ graphic design cultures in this period of great upheaval. The historical investigation will be articulated with contemporary theoretical questions in the framework of AI development. WYSIWYG intends to shed light on core issues in design theory, such as the relationship between technology and creation, and the border between professional and amateur mastering of “creative” digital tools.

WYSIWYG’s research team, partners and advisory committee gather an international and interdisciplinary team of designers, historians and researchers based in art and design schools and universities (HEAD, ZhDK, FHNW, Université de Strasbourg; Université Rennes 2), as well as several public collections of graphic design (Museum für Gestaltung, ANRT, CNAP) and computer history museums (Musée Bolo,

The main tasks of the candidate will be to :

  • Participate in the project’s planning and strategy
  • Participate in the projects field work, publications and outcomes.
  • Take part in Research Stream 3: A Profession in Transition
  • Research graphic design collections and archives at Museum für Gestaltung (Zürich)
  • Co-organize a public research seminar “Graphic design digital pioneers of the digital turn” (4 sessions each year). The seminar will present and discuss in-progress research on monographic or thematic issues. Some sessions may take the form of roundtable or public discussion with living graphic designers. The seminar will take mainly place at HEAD – Geneva, with simultaneous online streaming. Occasional sessions at HfGK Basel or ZHdK Zürich.
  • Publish research papers (at least one / year) open access.

Profile /Skills:

  • M.A. and/or Ph.-D. in art, design or graphic design history with a focus on the period 1980s-onwards in Germany or Switzerland
  • Strong academic track-record and research profile (existing academic publications)
  • Research experience at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich would be highly appreciated
  • Experience in oral history
  • English language skills

Application deadline : 10.07.2024 Start date : 01.10.2024

Place of work : Remote working possible, with expected mandatory participation to physical meetings in Geneva at least 6 times a year. Expected presence in Zürich for research several months/year.

The complete application (cover letter, curriculum vitae including list of academic publications: papers, journal articles, books) should be sent electronically to, specifying the job title.

For further information, please contact Clémence Imbert (Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Communication at HEAD - Geneva; head of the WYSIWYG research project)