Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Specialisation in Global Studies


This doctoral research project addresses the topic of designing and prototyping new musical instruments accounting for a multicultural perspective in instrument design, by studying and referring to the tradition of European and Chinese music and how it fits into this new paradigm of music creation.

The study will be conducted in Macao where we can find a 500 years tradition of Enculturation between the Chinese and Portuguese culture providing an ideal context for studying, developing, and testing proof of concept prototypes implemented at the University of Saint Joseph state of the art digital fabrication lab.

Supervisor: Álvaro Barbosa (abarbosa@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Digital Instrument Design; Multicultural Music Creation; Digital Prototyping


The proposed doctoral research project aims to establish an interdisciplinary research body of knowledge, by investigating creative design in various applied domains including interaction design, industrial design, and arts design, as well as its prospective application in business innovation in a Globally Networked and Multicultural Environment.

The Project is to be conducted in Macau S.A.R. China, where the tradition of a Multicultural Society dates back 500 Years and is geographically at the epicentre of Asia’s most outstanding urban, technological and financial Innovation cluster, The Greater Bay Area, where numerous case studies of multicultural innovative ventures can be found.

Supervisor: Álvaro Barbosa (abarbosa@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Creativity; Technological Innovation; Multicultural Environments; Creative Design


The articulation between art and design has been an essential source of innovation and development in many domains, particularly in interaction design and interactive art. Throughout the study of interactive art examples, the practice of interactive art design and evaluation and the production and design of interactive art installations, this study aims to contribute to the research between art and design, and between art and sciences as a source for inspiration and innovation in interactive systems and human-computer interaction. Furthermore, it will promote interactive art research. We will revisit the relation between interaction design and interactive art from the literature point of view and practice-based projects and other non-academic sources, such as interactive art installations, online communities, social media and digital sources. This research project aims to contribute to developing a framework of analysis and methodologies to support the design of interactive art. We hope that this study will also contribute to creating novel forms of interactions and interactive art, which can also be useful in designing interactive systems without artistic intent. Furthermore, a typification of interactive devices will be put in place, focusing on interactive art installations. Moreover, the reception studies will be encouraged to understand the user/interactor experience and its participation and engagement with interactive devices.

Supervisor: Carlos Sena Caires (carlos.caires@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Interaction Design; Human-Computer Interaction; Devices and Reception; Perception and Cognition


How do graphic design objects facilitate the function of cities and urban places? This question provides the purpose of interdisciplinary research undertaken by the Graphic Design Team at the University of Saint Joseph. We aim to explore the relationship between text, written discourse, pictorial images, wayfinding and other nonverbal and interactive communication, architecture and the built environment. Through the lens of Graphic Design as an urban device, we are interested in how graphic objects relate to the city and work as urban communication agents. The aims of this research project are to analyze and understand the roles and meanings of urban graphic design objects, as multicultural signs, what they stand for, and how can we interpret them, in the city of Macau and under the context of globalization.

Supervisor: Carlos Sena Caires (carlos.caires@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Urban Graphic Design; Semiotic Analysis; Graphic Design; Multiculturalism


The purpose of this study is to analyse and identify the challenges of multilingual graphic design layout systems in Macao publications, websites, reviews, magazines, and newspapers. This research will suggest a multimodal design framework of separate and flexible multilingualism layout and graphic composition and will describe and report the multilinguistic phenomenon in several types of publications in Macau (Interactive and non-interactive). Furthermore, the expansion of globalisation means an increasing need for typefaces that work in several different official languages. When using only Latin characters the challenges are more or less similar, but when mixing Chinese characters with Latin characters the results are usually visually more complex and challenging for the reader, whether he knows both languages or just one of them. The aims of this research project are to capture and to analyse both conventional and creative graphic design practices and to explore what exactly is the state of multilinguistic publications in modern Macau under the context of globalisation.

Supervisor: Carlos Sena Caires (carlos.caires@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Multimodal Design Framework; Multilingual Typography; Graphic Design Layout; Typographic Legibility and Layout


After concluding a complete study of the Multicultural Journalism in Macau – a case study in three languages (English, Portuguese and Chinese) we would like to receive Ph.D candidates interested in comparing the reality of the Macau Media with the Media field in another places (like Taiwan, a Chinese region or others) in order to understand the similarities and the differences, through the examination of the language media, its impact and challenges in the society, etc. The research will also analyse the dynamics of press support systems – its economic and financial sustainability – and their contribution to promote information pluralism in the different territories. Perception of the different language media will also be addressed. Research methods include literature review, semi-structured interviews, and an examination of the newspapers at the choose region, comparing the sources of information and analysing issues such as licensing, implications of technology, external support, fundamental threats, pluralism of information, and positive argument/negative argument/neutrality.

Supervisor: José Manuel Simões (jmsimoes@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Media Examination; Impacts and Challenges; Dynamics of Press Support Systems; Information Pluralism


In a highly mediatic time, when the world through the media is available to everyone, it is essential to recreate a crucial distance. If, through new technologies, journalism manages to be where the “event” is, it seems to be commonly accepted that the easier it is, technically, to inform, the greater is the difficulty of communicating. In an era when social media and the internet changed the landscape of information and communication, we propose to the Doctoral candidates a study on how to contribute to a new way of thinking the “fourth power”. To this end, this study will be focused on the phenomena of information and present solutions for what we designate as a new trend for the media. The idea of sharing must be inherent in the communication process, with choices and critical capacity, with the aim of making it common through new codes, systems, functions, means, and language.

Supervisor: José Manuel Simões (jmsimoes@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Intercultural and Multicultural Journalism; Media Ethics; Multilingual Press; Positive Journalism


Humans in their attempt to adapt to uncertainty, vulnerability, and complexity: communicate. Communication, under above circumstances, is credited to enhance a property known as resilience. Resilience is a multi-level and emergent construct. Resilience is approached at individual, group, organisational, city and nationwide level. Resilience principles and resilience thinking is yet to be taught and become part of the modus operandi of communication professionals and institutions across the spectrum of MSAR society. Communication research about resilience has been outshined by management and engineering metaphors. Resilience is emergent. As a complex construct deeply rooted in its social underpinning’s – resilience is ecological, emerges, and, for the dismay of engineers, is not forecasted or predictable from the outset of robustness. Particular attention is given by scholars to this construct since the 70’s in the last century. Resilience has expanded and broadened its significance across disciplines as a research subject. Resilience meaning and application evolved from an outcome to a process, and, ultimately, as a dynamic socio-ecological paradigm sometimes framed blending means with ends, hence creating conceptual diversity. In that, the social ecological definition seems to be more connected to the dynamics of communication, adaptable and fractal (multi-level) “the ability to maintain an identity, adapt essential characteristics and role in the face of disturbance”. We understand that both from an academic and professional point of view “Communication and Resilience” represents an encompassing array of possibilities placing research in communication at the centre of the discourse and focus the outcome of such academic endeavour to the (best) recovery in establishing thriving socio-ecological systems. In short, “if we change words, the world changes too”.

Supervisor: José Manuel Simões (jmsimoes@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Multi-Level and Emergent Construct; New Modus Operandi; Dynamic Socio-Ecological Paradigm; Conceptual Diversity


Today’s children need innovative skills to be productive, which creativity and collaboration are essential pillars. Solutions involving technology can now bridge humans and their natural needs through immersion in digital environments vibrant with physical objects. Knowledge and information are changing rapidly, and digital interactive experiences are progressively being studied and used as tools to address several physical and emotional difficulties during the learning process. Humans grow by tackling necessary physical manipulations as part of their natural learning development. Interaction design for children is a challenging, reasonably new, and future-oriented research field. Technology is developing extremely fast every year, especially everyday technology. Children are introduced to these new interactive technologies and digital interfaces from a very young age, “even before they learn how to read, speak or even remember” (UIKE, s.d.). Our research is part of a series of studies that focus on studying multimodal digital environments that empower learning, foster creative behaviours in young children, and discover ways of implementing them as part of Macau’s educational system. Considering digital games and creative behaviours in classrooms, we have developed specific experimental studies where we observed diverse situations; with children’s user interfaces, behaviours, and creative results. The use of screen-based multi-touch platforms with tangible objects and digital games assists children in their learning processes by instantly giving direct feedback. Various educational entities worldwide are focusing their curriculums and classroom settings, in-game design principles, and user-centred approaches to engage students in class. Nevertheless, focus on how digital games should be like and how they would adequately serve children’s needs in a learning environment, their possibilities, and benefits, and how we can use them. We are now focusing on creating multimodal digital games that will be used in the classroom as part of children’s learning activities, considering digital inclusion, reducing inequality, and the importance of digital games in young children’s daily lives.

Supervisor: Filipa Martins de Abreu (filipa.martins@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Game Design; Multimodal Learning; Interaction Design; Creativity


Artificial Intelligence has become a common trend worldwide and is present in nearly every industry sector, helping produce high-quality products, services, and systems. AI involves the theory and creation of digital systems capable of performing tasks usually carried out by human intelligence—speech recognition, visual perception, decision-making, and language processing. We are interested in the potential advantages designers can harness to create a city’s future design considering Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence. We look at how AI influences a city and explore how it can access the motifs and patterns around the city, focusing on its heritage sites and surroundings. Nowadays, if a person has access to a website, a digital service, or an app, large amounts of data are processed and collected at that time. As the AI market expands and gets more complex, so does data processing. Cross-references are becoming more fine-tuned and sets of data are paramount for this process. AI can help collect data more accurately, improve research analysis and assessments, and focus on pattern recognition and accessibility. This research aims to collect data, analyse it, understand it, categorise it, store it, share it, and ultimately provide a service system that serves the whole community. Map the city’s design through its motifs, textures and patterns.

Supervisor: Filipa Martins de Abreu (filipa.martins@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence; Human-Computer Interaction; Pattern Recognition; Accessibility


The exponential growth of Macau’s city over the years and the increasing demand for urban networks have made it essential to rethink transportation and urban mobility. Mobility systems are critical to the successful operation and comfortable and simple navigation around the city. The transition in demand for more sustainable and efficient modes of transportation, technological innovations, and the day-to-day use of smartphones has seen the mobility industry grow across most cities and become more viable. Smart Mobility Systems around the city could enable travellers to make smart choices and enhance their travelling experiences. Our research is part of a series of studies focused on the current networks of transportation and mobility systems across Macau’s city. We aim to find facilitating possibilities and recognise obstacles to personal mobility, vastly gaining through mobile application platforms where information is delivered in real-time. Making decisions easy for travellers and making their travelling experience and planning more convenient. However, for new mobility patterns to take hold, systems must conform to specifications that satisfy the user’s unique needs and demands. Human-Computer Interaction approaches and mobile applications systems must be built to be responsive, user-friendly, and adaptable following accessibility models. Using user-centred design processes that foresee the user’s preferences—defining and improving the user experience that will equip the traveller to leverage their mobility. Our research also aims to understand the existing infrastructures and urban planning solutions that could be improved. By that, recommend changes based on solutions, pinpoint mobility patterns in Macau’s city, with sustainable systems focused on user experiences and mobile platforms.

Supervisor: Filipa C. A. Martins de Abreu (filipa.martins@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Mobility Systems; Urban Mobility; Design; Mobile Applications


Interactivity has always been a controversial terminology since the beginning of computing systems. Recent research has proposed a new global approach to understand interactivity within a classification framework. This research will propose to continue previous frameworks and classification proposals to create a continuum for a holistic approach to interactive installation arts.

Supervisor: Gerald Estadieu (gestadieu@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Interactivity; Interactive Installation Arts; Analytical Framework


Museums, on top of their historical purposes of offering arts to the public, are more and more considered as a vector of social changes and progress. One particular topic of interest for museums is the inclusiveness of their public experience. This research will investigate and propose a methodology and experimentations regarding the possibilities of museums becoming more inclusive through the integration of interactive installations, digital fabrication, and a design thinking approach.

Supervisor: Gerald Estadieu (gestadieu@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Museum; Interactive Installation; Digital Fabrication


Macao, a Portuguese settlement in China since the 1550’s prospered initially by being the middleman between China and Japan until the implementation of the close country policy by Japan in 1639. Afterward, traders survived by lingering with the regional Chinese trade and a network of Southeast Asia ports. After the foundation of Hong Kong in 1842, Macao society and economy entered in social and economic decline. A solution to improve the economy come in 1848 with the legalization of gambling. From the 1930’s to 2002 gambling was the benefit of monopolies of local companies. Macao is now considered the Las Vegas of Asia. In 2002 six companies developed the market, occupying large urban parcels of Macao’s territory, using places previously destined for a new town in COTAI to accommodate the growing population of hundreds of thousand inhabitants creating a housing crisis and intensifying the population density. Research is needed on the city evolution in the last three decades to analyse the impact of the casino industry in the urban development of the city, the intensity and zoning policies, and how it compromises the concept of sustainability as well the quality of life of its citizens.

Supervisor: Francisco Vizeu Pinheiro (francisco.pinheiro@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Casinos in Macau; City Development; Urban Sustainability


The research will address certain aspects in works (to be compared) belonging to literaturesin Portuguese (from Portuguese Speaking Countries, MSAR, and other regions related to theformer Portuguese colonial empire); research may also focus on aspects belonging todifferent traditions, from an intercultural perspective, bringing West and East closetogether. The approach will be conducted within the framework of World-Literature, hencein a comparative perspective and within the framework of Post-Colonial Studies. It derivesfrom the premise that certain critical insights are only available from an interculturalperspective, when the limited horizon of a specific tradition is transcended, and issuestransversal to these cultures and to different literary productions are analysed. A variety oftopics are suggested as the object of research, within the same theoretical paradigm andthe same methodological approach, namely the impact on literary representations of: 1. Gender issues; 2. Identity Issues; 3. Space representations according to similar or conflicting sociocultural perspectives; 4. Manifestations arising from the “Colonial Wound” (according to W.Mignolo)

Supervisor: Vera Borges (vera.borges@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Compared World Literature, Intercultural Studies, Portuguese Literature


Research centered on the intersections between different human movements in geographical spaces, including the relations between tourism, migration and transport, materially and imaginatively configured. Research centred on the following will be considered: New social networks and mobile media; Immobilities and social exclusions; Tourism and travel mobilities; Migration and diasporas; Transportation and communication technologies; Transitions in complex systems. Moreover, potential students should also engage with mobile methodologies that help capture social life on the move.

Supervisor: Kevin Hannam (kevin.hannam@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Sustainability; Migration; Tourism; Geographical Spaces


Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are technologies that have recently developed enough to be used on large scale projects and accessible to the general public. They both have an incredible potential to transform a lot of industries and in particular Cultural Heritage and Tourism. Macao is the place where East meets West in a long cultural exchange tradition over the last 400 years. Cultural Heritage and Architecture are unique in Asia and it is a permanent work to maintain and develop those sites and artworks. This research will provide a platform to use digital technologies as a key element of conservation and tourism interactive experiences.

Supervisor: Gerald Estadieu (gestadieu@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Virtual Reality; Cultural Heritage; Macao

Specialisation in History 


Candidates interested in the intellectual transformations in modern China, particularly from the late Qing to the May Fourth period, are invited to work on doctoral projects with the expectation to make original, cutting-edge and historically grounded contributions to the field of modern Chinese intellectual history.

Supervisor: Wah Cheng (wkcheng@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: History; Modern China


Research centred on the intersections between different temporal movements in geographical spaces, including the relations between heritage, memory and identities, materially and imaginatively configured. Research centred on the following will be considered: Sustainable dimensions of heritage conservation; Authenticity, souvenir production and distribution; Memory studies in literary understandings of places; Museums and mobile media systems; Immobilities and social exclusions in heritage; Heritage and diasporas; Histories of transport mobility systems. Moreover, potential students should also engage with mobile methodologies that help capture social life on the move.

Supervisor: Kevin Hannam (kevin.hannam@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Heritage; Histories; Memories; Identities


In September 1982 was created the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM in Portuguese), with the objective to assist in the management of the city heritage as well as to implement policies for cultural preservation. In 1990 and 1994 ICM bylaws were reviewed in order to increase the intervention in historical sites. The size and scope of ICM increased.  Since 2005 Macao Historical Centre was declared part of world heritage and ICM is the responsible body for its management, which constitute a list of several assets, with different designation, like monuments, protected clusters or buildings, or architectural interest. In these two last designations, there is no official criteria or policy for the adaptive re-use of the building or for their restoration, being applied a subjective case by case approach that led in some cases to the total protection of buildings, in other cases just the keeping of the façade. This subjective approach has a great influence on the historical narrative of the asset as well as on the values that are protected or obliterated. A survey and analysis of the different interventions on heritage buildings will help to establish the impact of these interventions on the authenticity of the built heritage and its interpretation for the citizens and tourists. The research can compare Macau practices with other cities in Asia that also had western and Chinese heritage, like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Supervisor: Francisco Vizeu Pinheiro (francisco.pinheiro@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Heritage Conservation; Macao Policies; Authenticity and Narrative


Macao is the oldest Portuguese overseas settlement or colony, built on Chinese soil, that reverted to Chinese administration in December 1999. Macao is the place where Chinese Culture interact with western culture and technology in the age of maritime discoveries, leaving a large legacy through the centuries, particularly tangible heritage like buildings and public spaces recognized by UNESCO in 2005 as World Heritage. Research can be done on how the city developed, and how the Portuguese and Chinese communities interact for the construction and development of the city heritage, particularly with the creation of different typologies of Chinese and western buildings, like temples, housing, fortresses, or other private or government buildings. Research can be done, through a historical analysis can be done, not only, on the urban development of Macau, but as well as on the typologies of the different parts of the city, their design layout, timeframe, and social and cultural significance

Supervisor: Francisco Vizeu Pinheiro (francisco.pinheiro@usj.edu.mo)

Keywords: Macao’s Heritage; Buildings Typologies; Cultural Significance


The main question/problem of this Doctoral Research is the insertion of Portuguese overseas expansion in the east (Asia) – west (Europe, Africa, America) forms of interchange that developed between the 15th-19th centuries. Accordingly, the candidates will be invited to choose a subject with a focus on cultural, religious, and/ or societal aspects involved in this process. The expected aims of this study are to deepen the knowledge of cultural, religious, and/or social aspects of interchange among at least two geographical areas. Less studied areas and subjects will be given special attention. Differently from the traditional Western approach, the study of non-European centralities, such as Macau and China, will be privileged. Moreover, this Doctoral unit expects to contribute to the better knowledge of non-European, in particular, Chinese and Asian sources and research methodologies beyond Asia. The historical research methodology will be used. Balanced use of both primary and secondary written sources, and whenever adequate, of visual evidence, will be fostered. Moreover, the formation of critical interpretative skills among the students will be pursued.

Supervisor: Cristina Osswald (osswaldcristina@gmail.com)

Keywords: Portuguese Expansion; History of European Empires; Cultural and Religious Studies

Last Updated: October 20, 2022 at 10:20 am