Studies in the Arts (SINTA)

Portraits of doctoral students

Bitten Stetter

Postal Address
Universität Bern
Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (GSAH)
Doktoratsprogramm Studies in the Arts (SINTA)
Bitten Stetter
Muesmattstrasse 45
3012 Bern

Bitten Stetter

Bitten Stetter is a designer and develops trend forecasts and exhibition concepts for the creative industry. Since 2003 she has different university teaching positions in Germany and Switzerland. She has a professorship in Design, teaches in the Bachelor, is head of the Master Design and leads the division Research and Investigation in the field of study Trends & Identity at Zurich University of the Arts. The creative output of her work manifests itself in several design awards, exhibitions and publications. Since 2015 she develops the research focus Care Futures and investigates the Future of Death and Dying.


Prof. Dr. Heinzpeter Znoj, University of Bern, Institute of Social Anthropology
Prof. Dr. Minou Afzali, HKB Bern University of the Arts, Institute of Design Research

Doctoral project

THINGS OF DYING – Assemblages. Goods. Transmitters.
An applied design-anthropological exploration of the current death culture and consumer world.

This practice-oriented dissertation investigates end-of-life-design-spaces and end-of-life-design products at the border of palliative and spiritual care, consumption, design and trend research under aspects of the material and postmodern turn and with regard to individualization, value change, demographical change, digitalization, holistic health and self-care. Lifeworld practices, communicative interactions, symbolic meanings and forms of sociality in contemporary dying settings will be researched using d esign anthropological and design ethnographic research approaches. The field research takes place at the Center for Palliative Care in the City Hospital Waid in Zürich, in the Hospice Aargau and at PalliaViva, a charitable foundation for mobile specialized palliative care. The multi-sided and multi-scape ethnography is complemented by cultural probes and design interventions. The focus is on a new visibility of dying and things of dying, which are irreplaceable in dying situations and in which current values and moral concepts of "good dying" can be observed. The findings will be transferred into new care and nursing products for patients and their relatives which act inside and outside medical and nursing worlds with the goal to improve quality of life, communication and autonomy of dying people and their care communities.

Research priorities

Settings of dying, material culture, sociology of things, palliative care, applied (design) anthropological research, (design) ethnography, research based relatives, death culture, consume culture