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. This method allows us to bridge the gap between streets and policy, people and space, bureaucratic systems and physical living worlds.

Our maps are being used in various contexts. Decision makers and city planners use them to get a better understanding of the area they are working on, resulting in designs that are better grounded in its surrounding, or more successful interventions in spaces that lacked quality and livability. We also feel at home at the fringes of the art world. Contributing to exhibitions and international art projects, as well as teaching (fine) art and architecture students about the interaction between people and space. The third context our maps reside in, is Academia. Lecturing, publishing and working on a PhD on cartopology, we are informed (and do inform) scholarly fields such as anthropology, sociology and urban studies.

Finally however, We feel most at home in public space. Surrounded by the people who are the reason we make maps in the first place. Working with the users of a space, translating their knowledge into maps. Creating more inclusive, sustainable and pleasant living spaces.

Take a look at our “Upcoming & Past Hunts” to see what our work entails in all of these contexts.

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

Suzanne studied Interdisciplinary Arts in Maastricht and philosophy in Nijmegen. This combination perfectly characterises her: Suzanne is able to reduce the most complex issues to their essence and on the other hand, she is not afraid of any job, because in every detail she finds the bigger issue which she enjoys sinking her teeth into. Suzanne joined Dear Hunter as a trainee and has never left since. She fulfils many roles, including that of pragmatic strategist and philosophical dog walker.

Suzanne on LinkedIn

This is Peer. Being a Tibetan Terrier, he’s one of the ‘ancient dog breeds’. Not afraid of cold, rain and snow and always willing to explore harsh urban or rural surroundings. He tends to do fieldwork in an intuitive way and follow his nose whenever possible. He’s proud to be a part of the Dear Hunter team since we got him out of the animal shelter in 2016.

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.