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Silvia Van Aken

After the Master's in Communication (KU Leuven), Silvia Van Aken (Ph.D) gained years of project experience in the broad communication sector (government, non-profit and profit). In 2007 she started as a lecturer (communication, research, change management via new media, design theories such as designing for behavioural change) and researcher visual studies (LUCA School of Arts Genk). She supervised student projects around 360° video, AR (Google Glass), interactive stories, e.g. for an exhibition for Cosmodrome Genk (June 2017) and the travelling exhibition Conn3ct (2016-2017) in collaboration with the Flemish Heritage Library and KB in The Hague (European project). For many years she supervised awareness campaigns: data campaign particulate matter (VITO), donation (WeForest), organ donation (Maakbare Mens), earplugs (Festival Genk) and Kleur je media (VRT/Mediarte).

In June 2016 she became Doctor of Social Sciences (KU Leuven) with the thesis "The Labyrinth of the Mind. A Narrative and Stylistic Analysis of Van Dormael's Mindfilms". She specialised in grammar, storytelling and perception of visual media. In this context, she designed her own analysis model and lectured on it during (inter)national scientific conferences: a.o. on non-linear narratives (Theatre Academy Helsinki), adaptation of Incendie (VUB), Magrittes Les amants & Van Dormael's Toto le héros (European Narratology Network Conference, University of London) (FWO travel grant). She is familiar with desk research and qualitative research: in-depth interviews, focus groups and observation.

Since 2016 she has been working for AP University College as research lecturer, researcher and research coordinator for Graphic & Digital Media. She works as a researcher for various projects: "AP Goes Digital": digital learning (2016-2017), "Image & Word": museum experience (2017-2019), "Show & Tell! Immersive Storytelling" (2017019), "Adaptive User Interfaces: Designing for smart cities" (2018-2020), "Let's Go Virtual: VR Safety Training" (2019-2022) and "Virtual Relief" (2019-2023). She also gives lectures and demos on VR and AR, such as NVAO in The Hague, VRDays Amsterdam, international GOSH conference, Navorming Provincial Safety Institute, Let's Get Digital 2018, SuperNova 2018 and Research Day of AP.