2020 M+ / Design Trust Research Fellowship Announcement

19. 12. 2019


M+ and Design Trust are pleased to announce that Jason Lau and the team of Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Mark Wasiuta are the recipients of the M+ / Design Trust Research Fellowship 2020. The fellowship supports original research projects that investigate issues relating to design and architecture in Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area, and Asia through a transnational lens, aligned with the curatorial interests and activities of M+. Lau’s research will focus on ‘alternative’ designs of mobile phones originating in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, and Lotfi-Jam and Wasiuta will investigate computational urbanism in Southeast Asia.

Jason Lau
, a New York–based, Hong Kong born, scholar of design anthropology, will examine the design and impact of China-made mobile phones. With the intention to explore designs that propose alternative models to global conventions, he will focus on selected case studies, including the so-called dumsor phone—a mobile phone designed by a Hong Kong company and manufactured in Shenzhen that has found particular success as an export to Ghana. Lau’s research will consider how Chinese designers use limitations as strategies, how the binary of mainstream and alternative can be redefined, and how unconventional designs can gain global influence.


Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Mark Wasiuta, of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York, will investigate the intensifying urban development pressures in Southeast Asia, with a focus on computational and data-driven planning. Increased reliance on technology has fundamentally changed the way in which urban planning is carried out, and this tendency is often positioned as a way for developing cities to skirt traditional planning and move effortlessly into a computationally organised future. By studying selected cities across Southeast Asia, Lotfi-Jam and Wasiuta will explore the deep implications of computational development and ‘smart’ urban futures for the region.


About Design Trust

Design Trust was established in 2014 by Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, a registered charity in Hong Kong since 2007, as a grant-funding platform. Design Trust supports creative projects that develop expertise and build research initiatives and content related to Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. Working across a multiplicity of design disciplines, from graphics, media, and architecture to the built environment, Design Trust aims to actively accelerate creative research, design, and the development of meaningful projects that advocate for the positive role of design.


About M+
M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, we are building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, with a bold ambition to establish ourselves as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. Our aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects our unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and the international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.