Thesis subject

Human-Nature Interactions and Transformative Research in the Atlantic Rainforest

The study is part of the Sandbox Transformative Lab located in Iporanga, Brazil. The T-Lab is an intentional, disruptive, grassroot initiative that aims to provide a safe space for local, national and international actors based in Iporanga to test multiple approaches and solutions towards richer, diverse and more resilient living systems. The T-lab facilitates constructive dialogue between different actors interested in (re)connecting people and planet and in contributing to the revitalization of local food cultures, practices and traditions.

Research question: What is transformative research and in what ways can it contribute to address global social-environmental challenges in the context of Iporanga, a town nestled in the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil? 

Expected activities:

  1. Conduct a literature review as well as a critical literature analysis.
  2. Contribute to explore the potential of alternative research practices and methods in the context of Iporanga.
  3. Engage with diverse local communities in Iporanga (Quilombolas, scientists, farmers, etc.) to learn about and document diverse local knowledge systems and practices.
  4. Develop her/his own method/approach/model/tool to help normalize traditional worldviews and teaching methods.
  5. The student will use the insights gained as well as any derived knowledge according to his/her own interest as long as this does not harm or otherwise negatively affects residents in Iporanga.

Practical information:

Starting date: 10th of November
Ending date: Flexible (spring/summer 2022)
Preferred language: English (fluent) and Portugese (intermediate or higher)
Location/country: Literature review in the Netherlands, fieldwork in Iporanga, Brazil (as part of The Sandbox T-Lab)
Supervisor: Diana E. Lopez, Doctoral Fellow (KTI) (main supervisor)
Co-supervisor: David Ludwig (KTI).

Project offer and coverage:

  1. The project will cover all fieldwork costs including local travel in Brazil, accommodation and upkeep as well as any associated research needs.
  2. The student will be trained in transformative research methods and will learn how to apply these methods in real-life situations and will have the opportunity to develop her/his own methods.
  3. Based on the student’s interest and quality of work, it is expected the student becomes a co-author in all works and/or scientific publications derived from the MSc project.


  1. Enrollment in a Master's Degree in any study programme. A mixed disciplinary background is an advantage.
  2. Interest in feminist methods and/or alternative research methods (arts, gaming, mixed/merged reality, digital mapping, embodied research methods, etc.) is an advantage. 
  3. Fluency in English and at least intermediate level in Portuguese. Additional language skills are welcome.
  4. Proactive and responsible attitude, with a high degree of curiosity and respect for cultural differences.