About Dear Hunter

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A different approach to research

We’re a cartopological research practice and produce alternative maps and atlases through qualitative fieldwork. Being a ‘Dear Hunter’, referring to the behaviour and methods of hunters, means that we thoroughly immerse in situations in order to understand them completely, mostly by living and working on-site for relatively long periods of time.

From my experience working for architectural firms, as well as various research and educational programs, I have found that not enough time is taken to truly appreciate a place, and delve into the expertise of the locals. Precisely this knowledge gained from the inhabitants of the area, offers the most innovative insights that lead to effective, local solutions. These insights add other, deeper and more anthropological knowledge to the maps and charts which are most familiar to us. I believe that this can only be achieved by applying intensive and immersive methods; only then can we highlight these insights and situations that otherwise wouldn’t have been visible.

Marlies on LinkedIn
+31 6 18 47 37 49‬

Formally trained as an architect, I would describe myself as more of a researcher than a designer based on my practical knowledge and experience. Looking at things from a different perspective and interpreting these in relation to public space by putting on different glasses has long since driven me in life. First as a skateboarder, later as a bicycle messenger and even now as a researcher and writer for Dear Hunter. Collaborating with our clients on our maps, and helping them convert insights into actions greatly motivates me in my work. Besides my work at Dear Hunter, my role as tutor in architecture schools allows me to pass on the tools and skills that will help students draw better conclusions from their environment.

Remy on LinkedIn
+31 6 19 90 88 19

I’m Peer. Being a Tibetan Terrier, I’m one of the ‘ancient dog breeds’. Not afraid of cold, rain and snow and always willing to explore harsh urban or rural surroundings. I tend to do fieldwork in an intuitive way and follow my nose whenever possible. I’m proud to be a part of the Dear Hunter team since they got me out of the animal shelter in 2016!

Working on-site as hunters, we collect a lot of data and information. Compare it to the work of an anthropologist, for example. Just gathering information and writing long passages about it doesn’t lead to a clear image or the exploration for new possibilities. Therefore, we use cartography to make our research approachable and usable for our clients. We map our research in hands-on maps and atlasses providing an essential layer of information for decision makers.

Maps tell stories

Our maps contain specific, symbolic and ‘intimate’ knowledge. In the past, sea monsters enchanted viewers, educated them about what could be found in the sea, about the fears of sailors, indicated which parts still needed to be conquered and, at times and highlighted the overall importance of religion to the conquerors. Our maps offer a different perspective on an existing situation, too,  but also lead to insights applicable within spatial, economical or cultural development.

As an example, click and drag the slider on the maps below. Both maps depict the same area, both tell a completely different story from a different perspective.

Leo Belgica

The traits of maps

A few traits of maps as researched and described by one of our partnering institutes, the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research (NCBR) led by Prof. Henk van Houtum:

Maps give meaning to the world.

Maps engage in a process of meaning-making. The mapmaker inscribes meaning into geographical phenomena through representations of territory. Simultaneously, the map reader derives and adds meaning through an interpretation that is guided by a cultural background greatly influenced by the nation state and the symbolism it promotes.

There is no such thing as an objective map.

Maps are always political statements or narratives. Cartography infiltrates meaning into space and in doing so invents geopolitical truths that legitimize political action and trigger political reaction.