​​Olivia Kotsifa

After having practiced as an architect in Athens and Barcelona, Olivia joined the Cardiff School of Art and Design academic team lecturing at undergraduate and postgraduate level and researching in the fields of Digital Fabrication and interdisciplinary creative projects. 

The 7 years of being a Senior Lecturer in Cardiff Metropolitan University U.K., she has led and taught the Interior Architecture course, Architectural Design and Technology, Product Design, Maker and has offered multidisciplinary projects to students across the 7 courses of the Cardiff School of Art and Design. The latter mainly involved Fab Lab based projects mixing traditional making with high end technologies as well as a bespoke mini-Fab Academy course for the School of Art and Design. 

Olivia was offered a management post while at the University, to finalise the design and to fully implement  1/3 of the new  Undergraduate curriculum in the School of Art and Design (8 courses) meeting a Bauhaus philosophy while incorporating equally the traditional making and new technologies. 

She has organised and  led educational trips and student projects in the UK, in India and in Berlin and has curated various student exhibitions. 

 

Olivia has co- founded Fab Lab Cardiff in 2011 with the help of the Head of Research in CSAD and Director of Enterprise of the University to be an academic research hub and an educational space in the intersection of traditional making skills with new technologies (programming, electronics and digital fabrication) for artists and designers. Her research and teaching interests and practice in Fab Lab Cardiff was the co-design and co-fabrication in Fab Labs and has designed and led relevant projects with social, cultural and local impact. Fab Lab Cardiff was the second one in the UK at the time and Olivia was the supernode helping new Labs to start. 

While being a creative digital nomad (2016-2019),  she has collaborated with Fab Labs and Universities in Europe,  Central and South America and South East Asia. 

When in Greece, she is part of the Decode Fab Lab team in Athens, as an international network/ project facilitator and also school related educational activities.   

She was in charge of the educational design and content of creative digital fabrication activities for schools and libraries worldwide; a project which is running by Fab Lab Factory in Belgium and is partially supported by the Flemish government. She was also appointed by the Ministry of Communications in Qatar to design activities for ages 7-18 and to lead and supervise the team that will deliver the workshops and to also design maker events for the Fab Lab.

She founded SYN Fab Lab, the first mobile Fab Lab in Greece that focuses in educating and co-creating culture and site-specific projects. Its aim, is to re-think our way of living, working and playing through design and co-creation of meaningful societal changes, unique to each place. 

Both its educational and practical approach refer to the 17 Sustainable development Goals and the 21st century skills and have a special focus on meaningful making, autonomous learning and creative thinking.  

She has designed and implemented creative workshops for children (4-17 years old) worldwide, for university students, artists, teachers and the general public.

CURRENT POSITION

Freelance designer 

Founder of SYN Fab Lab, the first mobile Fab Lab in Greece. 

Co-founder of Stiwdio Everywhere, a location independent creative digital nomad art + design studio

Designer, Educator and in charge of international network, relations in Decode Fab Lab, Greece

 

QUALIFICATIONS
2014: Fab Academy Diploma, Fab Foundation
2014: FHEA Higher Education Academy Fellowship, U.K.
2005-2006: MSc Energy Efficient Buildings Oxford Brookes University.
Thesis: Outdoor thermal comfort in urban areas: case study, improving design scenarios and simulation of Ermou street, Athens, Greece. Supervisor Prof. Michael Humphreys, Prof Fergus Nicol. Simulation tools for case study: M. Santamouris' Environmental Physics Lab in Athens, Greece.
2002-2005: Diploma in Architecture, RIBA Part 2 Oxford Brookes University
Thesis: Nomadic Olympic Village for the athletes of the future. Supervisors: Ben Stringer, Prof. David Green, Peter Barber
1998-2001: BA Hons Architecture, Oxford Brookes University
Thesis: Energy efficient buildings and case studies. Supervisor Prof. Susan Roaf
WORK EXPERIENCE
 
2022 Freelance Educational Specialist
Educational design, design of bespoke objects for workshops, workshop delivery. 
 
2021 Educational Specialist in Studio 5/6, Fab Lab in Ministry of Transport and Communications, Qatar.
Educational design of activities for 7-18 years old, team mentoring and supervision.
 
2021 Founder and of SYN Fab Lab, the first mobile Fab Lab in Greece
 
2019-2021 Lead Educational Designer and in charge of Strategic Partnerships at Fab Lab Factory, Belgium
Educational design and making of activities for 8-14 years old, team leading. International partnerships, collaborations.

2016-2020: Stiwdioeverywhere art/design/technology practice and educational work in Europe, Central America and Asia
Lectures, workshops, conference presentations, co-production of a community based interactive digital musical instrument using electronics and digital fabrication in various Fab Labs in South America.
2012-now: Fab Lab mentor, consultation. 
Supernode in Wales as Fab Lab Cardiff is the first Welsh Lab. Mentor of some new Labs and makerspaces in the UK and in Europe and appointed consultant in specific operational areas. Educational Strategist for Fab Labs in Schools and Universities. 
2009-2017: Senior Lecturer in Cardiff Metropolitan University.                                              
Lecturer in Architectural Design and Technology , Programme Leader and Lecturer in Interior Architecture,  Lecturer in Product Design, Lecturer in Artist Designer Maker course, in Constellation [theory, essays and dissertation supervision across all art and design courses in all UG levels] and in Field [multidisciplinary project based] module across all student years and courses within the School of Art and Design. Lecturer in MA and MDes postgraduate courses. During this time, apart from teaching part of my role was to provide pastoral care to students, write and deliver new briefs and material each year, arrange live projects, curate student exhibitions, contribute to the research and enterprise activities of the University  
2012-2014: Manager of Field Module System in the Cardiff School of Art and Design, Cardiff Metropolitan University               Role included: Final design and implementation of 1/3 of the Undergraduate curriculum and co-ordination of staff teams for the School’s 8 courses (approx 750 students/academic year). Had to ensure that all courses' content and delivery complied to the quality standards and regulations. Leading and development of internal and external networks, academic leadership to staff working within each programme, contributing to the development of teams and individuals, act as a personal mentor to peers and colleagues, and provide pastoral care. Lead, supervise and support academic teams, resolve problems, making decisions, provide advice and spot opportunities for strategic development of new areas of activity. 
2011: Co-founder of Fab Lab Cardiff and Fab Lab Cardiff Manager.
During my research time at Cardiff School of Art and Design, I was involved in the Fab Lab's spatial design, its business plan together with a team of specialists, machines, space organisation, integration within the School through seminars to staff and students, local community, local schools and industry, global network activities, research and enterprise projects, teaching. I was also part of the Fab Lab's Steering committee and the Fab Lab's Operational Group until Aug 2017. 
2008-9: Tombazis and Associate Architects, Athens Greece --www.meletitiki.gr--
Working mainly for the “Blue City” project, in Oman. Phase 1 of the project provided 5.5km of mixed-use accommodation.
2008: Architectonica- Architecture and Design Foundation Course Athens, Greece.
Lecturer in various scale projects
2007-8: E.M.B.T. Arquitectes Associats, Enric Miralles, Benedetta Tagliabue, Barcelona --www.mirallestagliabue.com--
Main projects: competitions, a refurbishment of a textile plant in Barcelona and its transformation into residential housing and the Spanish pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 (competition 1st prize)
2007: RPSR Arquitectes, Barcelona 
Hotel refurbishment in Costa Brava, Spain
2006-now: Freelance architect
Architectural designs and realisation projects. 
RESEARCH AND ENTERPRISE ACTIVITIES
Making Innovation Festival, ELEUSIS 2023 European Capital of Culture. Winner of ELEUSIS open call. Production manager, Artistic director of a festival that brings together makerspaces and Fab Labs to celebrate innovation, collaboration and new technologies accessible to all. (Sep 2023)
SYN Fab Lab workshops and summershools in Zagori, Chios, Tinos , Athens for kids 6-18yrs using design and 3d printing, lasercutting, vinylcutting, cnc, electronics to connect new technologies to the local culture through hands on projects. (Jan - now) 
SYN Fab Lab in eco- related Festivals with bespoke designs
Athens Epidaurus Upcycling festival, EcoCulture festival Eleusis Μυστήριο 46 Modular Gardens
EASTN-DC: European Art, Science and Technology Network for Digital creativity (Creative Europe): Festival Producer for the Matte(R)ealities Festival online and physical (March 2022)
SHEMAKES EU Project (Horizon 2020) : Greek co-ordinator/partner (Decode Fab Lab and SYN Fab Lab). The project aims to empower future female innovators of the sustainable fashion industry through inspiration, skills and networks. (Jan - Dec 2022)
MAKERSXCHANGE EU project: mentor for 6 collaborative exchange new technology creative projects across Europe. SYN Fab Lab interview
Assistant executive producer for theatre plays: "
(Somewhere) Beyond the cherry trees, National Fashion Show, The Republic of Baklava" Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2021, Greece
 
MAKERSXCHANGE EU project: Hyper Global / Hyper Local Project: Creator of project for kids related to SDG1, SDG4, SDG12 and presentation (Feb-Apr 2021)
 
UN Geneva Forum 2020 invited speaker: The making of activities related to the 17SDGs goals for a more meaningful approach to digital fabrication in Fab Labs, schools and libraries (Dec 2020)
 
Geeks for Education Erasmus+ project that focuses on the educational support for educators/teachers in the use of digital technologies and STEAM. 12 partners. Working with Fab Lab Budapest as the educational lead (2020-23. Olivia to get involved in Sept 2021)
 
Project leader and educator of educators in St Catherines British school in Athens, Greece around the maker movement, Fab Labs hands on digital fabrication and design for STEAM projects, as well as the set up of their Fab Lab (May-Nov 2020)
 
FABx Live: online  series of public talks coordinated by Fab Foundation: subject: making in Greece during covid-19 (May 2020)
Part of the team “menoume mazi” a makers network and a platform for open source digitally fabricated equipment for covid-19 in Greece where the public from all over Greece could identify local makers to fabricate equipment. Role: initial design an planning with the team, design testing for 3d printing and lasercutting, step by step instructions to makers and technical support. (spring 2020)
UN Geneva Forum 2019 invited speaker: Presentation on an educational creative platform based on the 17 UN goals for a more meaningful approach to digital fabrication in Fab Labs, schools and libraries (Dec 2019)
Education of educators in the Montessori College Oost, Amsterdam on the Fab Lab movement and philosophy, projects related to their teaching, training on the various Fab Lab machines and ways to implement these projects into their teaching (July+Sept 2019)
Mobile Fab Lab workshops for kids in the Sound of Science Festival, Belgium May 2019. 
PIFcamp 2019, Soča, Slovenia: mentor of art and design professionals, for combining new and old skills and technologies creatively. Creator of outdoor furniture to be used for working and relaxing in the woods as well as for social gatherings. Workshop to artists and designers. 
 
LAC: Linux Audio Conference, Stanford, U.S.A paper: GameILan Co-designing and co-creating an orchestra of digital musical instruments within the Fab Lab network, 2019
 
Fab City Summit, Fab City Conference 2018, La Villette, Paris, France: How to make almost anything while travelling and the impact in today's cities. 
European Art Science Technology Network Digital Creation [EASTN-DC]: 4-year project – part of the UK partner team for the writing up of the call (2016), (Creative Europe Culture sub programme ) http://www.eastn.eu/
Student Experience Fund 2016: in collaboration with the Outdoor Learning Centre, School of Education Cardiff Metropolitan University
ArtWorks Cymru Seed Fund 2 (Prof. Wendy Keay-Bright leading the project) 2016
Get Started Fund 2015 (collaboration with MuniArts Centre and Prof. Wendy Keay-Bright)
European Art Science Technology Network [EASTN]: 2 year project – 6 partners - part of the UK partner team, 2014-16 (Creative Europe) http://www.eastn.eu/eastn-2014-2015
Exhibition curation for the European Art Science and Technology showcase of work (from 20 European Artists) M.A.D.E. gallery, Cardiff and CF24 Project 2015, Cardiff
Secret Garden Interactive sound-light Installation and workshop: Miso Music Festival 2015, Belem, Lisbon 2015
Santander fund 2014 (Boston MA International Fab Lab conference)
Short Term Mobility Fund 2014: Staff and student educational trip in India and collaboration with local artists-designers
40th ICMC and 11th SMC Conference 2014: Digitally Fabricated Musical Instruments [workshop] in STEGI, Athens, Greece.
Barcelona International Fab Lab conference (Fab10): presentation of Fab Lab Cardiff, 2014.
EASTN Artist in Residence in Ionian University 2014: Interactive, digitally fabricated maypole design, co-design and co-creation of parts with 25 local kids (age 4-15), performance in the village square.
EASTN workshop for kids 2014: digitally fabricated blocks and stamps for block printing.
Fab Lab Specialist in the A4B Academics for Business project [Micro Enterprise and Emergent Technologies Lab “Meet Lab” http://meetlab.co.uk] : part of the academic team in the A4B Scheme https://digitalsocial.eu/de/project/457/a4b-meet-lab
Object Sandbox: 3d printed Augmented Ney: a collaboration between Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos [CSAD], Antony Mace [freelance product designer, John O’Connell [Cardiff University]. Involved in 3d printing and interaction design. The Ney was exhibited in the London Design Festival 2014 among other events. 
Santander fund 2013 (collaboration with Porto School of Architecture and Fab Lab Porto)
Organised Sound Journal: Special Issue Article: My content/My Space/ My Music, 2012
ATINER 2nd Annual International Conference of Visual and Performing Arts – paper: Music and Architectural Design for a snowpark event, 2011
SMC Sound and Music Computing Conference – paper: From Snow [to space to movement] to Sound, 2011
Strategic Insight Programme fund – Fab Lab Barcelona, 2011
Spanish Pavilion for the international World expo in Shanghai [competition 1st prize] 2010. The architects’ team’s efforts and drawings have been published in various occasions.
SELECTED PRESENTATIONS / visiting LECTURES 
Dec 2020 The making of activities related to the 17SDGs for a more meaningful approach to digital fabrication in Fab Labs, schools and libraries, Geneva Forum, United Nations 
Dec 2019 SDGs in Fab Labs for schools and libraries encouraging critical thinking and meaningful making, Geneva Forum, United Nations 
Jan 2019   Future of work : Future workspaces co-designed and fabricated in Ljubljana , Ljudmila Art and Science Laboratory
Nov 2018   Culture 2030: Cultural impacts of Fab Lab work in resilient cities. Elefsis 2021, Elefsina, Greece
July 2018  How to make almost anything while travelling? Fab 14: Fab Lab Distributed Mobility, Fab Lab du Pensio, France 
May 2018  Social and spatial impact using bits, atoms and co-design methodologies. Universidad Nacional de Colombia,  Medellin,  Colombia
May 2018  Could new ways of collaborative engagement help to co-create our public spaces? Fab  Lab  Lima,  Lima,  Peru
April 2018  Co-design, co-production to help us spend more time outdoors. Fab Lab Universidad de Chile, Santiago,  Chile
May 2017  The intersection between the two networks: Fab Lab and Digital Nomad. Dojo, Bali, Indonesia
Jan 2017  Digital technologies, traditional skills. The Fab Lab approach. ISDi, Design University Havana, Cuba
Feb 2017  New ways for co-production of public space structures. Fab  Lab  Impact, Mexico  City,  Mexico
INTERESTS
Music and musical instruments, social making, art and design exhibitions, outdoor living and working, wind surfing, skiing, volleyball (various national and international trophies), travelling. 
OTHER
Facilitator for climate change engagement workshops at Climate Fresk
Mentor at Women on Top , Greece