Bio Erik Rietveld


Prof. dr. Erik Rietveld is Socrates Professor, Senior Researcher at the University of Amsterdam (AMC/Department of Philosophy/ILLC/Brain & Cognition) and a Founding Partner of RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances]. RAAAF (download portfolio) is a multidisciplinary and experimental studio that makes site-specific art installations at the crossroads of visual art, architecture and philosophy.

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Erik Rietveld was a Fellow in Philosophy at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. His philosophical and interdisciplinary research on ‘Unreflective Action’ was awarded by the European Science Foundation (2009), the University of Amsterdam (2009), the Academic Medical Center (AMC in 2011 and 2014), and by NWO, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Rubicon 2008, VENI 2009). In 2013 his new research project on skilled action titled “The Landscape of Affordances: Situating the Embodied Mind” was awarded with a NWO VIDI-grant for the development of his research group on skilled intentionality & situated expertise. Recently he received a an ERC Starting Grant for a new philosophical project titled “Skilled Intentionality for ‘Higher’ Embodied Cognition: Joining Forces with a Field of Affordances in Flux”.

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With his brother Ronald Rietveld he was curator of the succesful Dutch contribution Vacant NL to the Venice Biennale 2010, author of the books Vacancy Studies and the Dutch Atlas of Vacancy, and founder/director of the research master ‘Vacant NL’ at the Sandberg Institute/Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy. With RAAAF they have shown art installations at international exhibitions in Sao Paulo (Biennale), Oslo, Milan, Mumbai, Moscow (Garage Musuem for Contemporary Art), and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. In 2013 RAAAF was elected New Radical, presented a new installation at the Istanbul Art Biennale and elected Dutch Architect of the Year. In 2015 RAAAF contributed an art installation to the new Chicago Biennale. In 2017 RAAAF | Atelier de Lyon were awarded the European Prize of Architecture (Philippe Rotthier). In 2018 their 250 meter large artwork Deltawerk // was selected (twice) in NRC Handelsblad’s international top-5 list of “Best Visual Art 2018”.


His work as a Socrates Professor at the University of Twente focusses on humane technology: the philosophy of making and societal embedding of technology in the humanist tradition. Erik Rietveld gave a talk at TEDxGhent in June 2015 and publishes regularly in renowned international journals such as Mind, Synthese, Philosophical Studies, Phenomenology & The Cognitive Sciences, The Architectural Review, Harvard Design Magazine, Frontiers Human Neuroscience, PLoS One, Trends in Cognitive Science, and Behavioral & Brain Sciences. Since 2017 his article, ‘A Rich Landscape of Affordances’, (Rietveld & Kiverstein, 2014) is the most read article published in Ecological Psychology.

Ronald and Erik Rietveld are members for life at The Society of Arts of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). You can find an introduction to Erik Rietveld’s academic work here.

In 2021 Erik Rietveld was awarded a VICI Grant by NWO for his new five-year research project on coordinated collective action in a times of climate crisis: ‘Change-Ability for a World in Flux: the next step for an embodied cognitive science of brain-body-environment systems’.


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