Instituto Superior Manuel Teixeira Gomes Department of Architecture, Arts and Design

mission statement

ISMAT's Department of Architecture, Art and Design has the mission of generating research, knowledge, competences and skills aimed at the territorial specificities of the Algarve region, with a focus on the development of economic, social and cultural areas complementary to the dominant tourism sector.

This is intended to be achieved through a greater scientific diversity focused on transdisciplinarity and with an orientation towards the applied research knowledge transfer methods.

In this way we hope to respond directly to the education needs of the relevant economic areas as well as those of the emerging areas in the region (tourism, culture, leisure, sustainability and the digital transformation of traditional industries). This focus on creating value for the region fuels the positioning of ISMAT as an entrepreneurial university and oriented towards the future scenarios for a better society.

international role

International attraction is a major objective. It is also important to emphasize that, given the high reputation of the region in the international context, a department with our focus and aims (after an initial phase of validation and stabilization of the program where it has already presented concrete and measurable results), should be attractive to students from other Countries and Regions in Europe and Portuguese Influence countries where the contexts and territorial challenges are similar.

The first steps were taken with the ERASMUS + Program, where ISMAT and the Lusophone Institution Group have an extensive network of protocols and where students, teachers and staff already circulate, the step towards the internationalization of our research and teaching group becomes fundamental now resident and specialized.

Nowadays we have an H2020 project where our researchers are active members of at least two ongoing funded projects: Urbinat (Participatory design for nature-based solutions for urban regeneration) and the Co-create (mixing young and old blood in entrepreneurship). We are invited to hold conferences, seminars and direct curricular units as guest professors at some universities in Europe and Brazil with whom we already have very strong connections and networks, namely in the innovation processes through Design and Metasystemic Design processes.

national role

The offer of the ISMAT Department of Architecture, Art and Design (AAD) was thought of in terms of its complementarity and specificity in relation to the offer existing in other higher education institutions in Portugal. Being Algarve a world-reference tourism destination, there are certain aspects which should be our leading drivers, namely: (1) innovation, (2) critical and speculative thinking, (3) the ideation of material or immaterial future scenarios and (4) orientation towards creation of experiences and (5) services focused in the well-being and the quality of life of people and the territory. Those are the foundations and pillars of knowledge, as well as the creative stimuli from which we intend to leverage our students into game-changers and elements of disruption for the differentiation and competitiveness of the Algarve region. Only then will it be appealing to young people to feel that they may have opportunities that go beyond or complement the traditional vision of the tourism sector.

Our courses in these creative areas are unique in the South of Portugal, aiming to serve, in addition to the Region itself, the cities in our most direct impact zone: Portimão, Lagos, Lagoa, Silves, Monchique, Aljezur and Vila do Bispo. So, the connection and partnerships with these territories are very large. We have protocols and applied research projects with all city councils, business associations, investors and tourism promoters as well as public governance organizations, such as the Algarve tourism region, the region's development agency. There is also a strong connection with the educational community, many of the ongoing projects focus on educational innovation, creativity and critical thinking in young students and the ability to imagine and speculate on emerging futures that they will be building and experience.

We act and believe in the creation of knowledge networks among peers, in addition to projects with the other institutions of the ISMAT's founding group, the Lusofona Group / COFAC, which holds various higher education institutions in Portugal, having a base of 20,000 students. In this context we even move our students to learning challenges carried out in the territorial contexts of other institutions and vice-versa. We also maintain projects with other academic institutions, such as the Universities of Algarve, Évora, Coimbra, and Porto. It is interesting to emphasize that some of these collaborations are not fixed in the area of ​​Design or Architecture, we seek that they breathe the transdisciplinarity that we believe to be fundamental in preparing our students for the future that is already there. An example of this is the collaboration with Centre for Social Studies from the University of Coimbra.

main focus

“We’re not an arrival but a departure harbor for enabling and empowering an entrepreneurial student’s future”!

We stand for Innovation, Imagination, Ignition, Involvement, Interaction … we stand for IDEAS!

We envision an Entrepreneurship and Innovation driven University, based on research, where our ecosystem encourages our students to make their way to designing their future and to act now as a student for it.

We want ISMAT students who have not waited for opportunities to create their own, we want students who do not leave their talent and ambition in the hands of others, that build a future in their own image and in the image of their willingness to learn by doing, to get their hands dirty , your willingness to change the world!

We stand for continuous “Wave” of (r)evolution to all our courses, BA, Masters and postgraduation programs. We aim that all education leaders at ISMAT can be and act has “Design Thinkers”, questioning their knowledge, their certainties as well as continuously evaluating the how to adapt the courses to the “changes” and emergent future scenarios and trends.

That's why we designed the ISHIP - Innovation, entrepreneurship & research department to support these efforts.

The ISMAT ISHIP is the space to build our entrepreneurial mind, to come up with the education market future needs and scenarios. Our Teacher Mentors will be side by side with our students and the community, helping them to cope with the storms of creating “their own futures” but always with firm and strong purposes to improve the lives of others.

We stand for Entrepreneurial society based on the sense altruism, with bigger objectives. Our students need to feel empowered to create "new worlds to the world". In our countries history we built the first information highways that were the Portuguese maritime routes, we want our students to understand that size and geography cannot limit our imagination and creativity.

We are builders of creative culture because creativity is the fuel that feeds innovation and entrepreneurship efforts. Maybe we are not able to tell our students the “One & Only” definition of what creativity is in today’s innovation-driven organizations and society, but like “Magritte” with his famous painting we can start by telling you what creativity is not! In the context of entrepreneurial organizations, creativity is not about raw talent, lone genius, drugs, booze or any other artificial stimuli. These myths are long gone! In entrepreneurial organizations creativity is about culture, processes, systems, space, organizational structures and design. Ultimately, it is about leadership.

For innovative organizations, having a creative culture is their “life care system and blood”, as with any living being, creativity must be sown, watered, nurtured, and very carefully sustained throughout the organizations’ lifetime. A “culture” of creativity is the equivalent of a life support system for long lasting organizations.

This complicity between “creative culture” and entrepreneurship stems from their deepest foundations, it must be connected with the organizations’ DNA, purpose, values, vision and mission. Only the organizations that take creative culture seriously are able to be successful in today’s complex and competitive innovation scenario and gain recognition from consumers as an “innovative organization” with whom they can engage. That’s why ISMAT is an Entrepreneurial University!

At ISMAT, creativity and design thinking are at the hearth of our DNA.

faculties and departments

Department of Architecture, Arts and Design

Department of Business Sciences and Information Technologies

Department of Law and Social Sciences

Department of Psychology and Physical Education

bachelor level programs

Communications Design Degree

Law Degree

Physical Education And Sport Degree

Computer Science Degree

Business Administration Degree

Human Resources Management Degree

Tourism Management Degree

Psychology Degree

master level programs

Architecture Master Integrated

Psychology Of Work And Occupational Health

Architecture And Design For Emergent Futures (NEW)

research activity and main areas

The Department of Architecture, Art and Design from ISMAT is called ISHIP – Transdisciplinary RESEARCH CENTER.


To make progress in contributing to the solution of complex real-world problems, transdisciplinary research has come to the forefront. By integrating multiple disciplines as well as the expertise of partners from societal practice, transdisciplinary researchers are able to look at a problem from many angles, with the goal of making both societal and scientific advances.

Transdisciplinary research is committed to developing state-of-the-art scientific innovation at the interplay between transdisciplinary and disciplinary research. It is driven by the tension between specialization in transdisciplinary methods and the triggering of transformation of disciplines.

ISMAT research centre transdisciplinary research process for developing research lines and projects consisted in a collaborative process among researchers from different disciplines and non-academic actors that jointly was developed running internal and external stakeholders participatory workshops with the following sequential goals: (1) identify, describe and frame a real-world problem, (2) define the common research objective (relevant for science and society), (3) design a conceptual and methodological framework for knowledge integration, and (4) build a collaborative TDR team.

In addition, it was also necessary to plan each research line / project specific research and dissemination activities for the project main phase among all project partners. A particular challenge is the identification and involvement of non-academic actors and the generation of the joint problem understanding and research approach.

The ISHIP research center mission is:

·      Define the pillars and foundations for a new transdisciplinary research center for and at ISMAT. Due to ISMAT size and number of lectures with PhD, research skills and competences from each course / knowledge area, we defined that the best strategy is to create a transdisciplinary research center that takes advantage of the different knowledge’s and scientific production.

·      Even a transdisciplinary research center needs to have an area of knowledge “umbrella”, in ISMAT it’s natural to be Tourism.

·      Create the research lines and themes that for one hand enablers and empowers our existing courses and programs and for the other hand clearly contribute to knowledge creating and dissemination regarding the Umbrella area of Tourism.

·      Ignite research projects that makes sense for the strategy, as well as gives immediate opportunity for our researchers lectures to become part of those project teams, according to their motivation, knowledge and competences.

To implement this mission, ISHIP Research center is structured according to FCT levels of research:

·      Theoretical and fundamental research approach – Theory

·      Project methodologies, systems and models through applied research approach – Application

·      Experimental and innovative challenges in the transdisciplinary boundaries of Ismat knowledge fields through Experimental research approach – Experimentation

How to implement these research types:

·      Theoretical research - It is a research that mainly concentrates on the theoretical and fundamental contribution for peer’s discussion and knowledge evolution.

·      Research-project or Applied research - It is a research that consists in doing a real-life context projects that satisfies an explicit and rigorous theoretical and methodological framework: model building, question of research, working hypotheses and validation system of the results.

·      Experimental research Creation - It is a research that supports a creative, exploratory processes in the different cross fields of your researcher’s background can lead to revealing original research problems arouse for the field experimental research and lead to the teachers / researchers to develop an comprehensive scientific based deliverables to disseminate the new knowledge created upon the immersive problem / research question.


Our research center activities aim to:

·      Deepening theoretical, applied and practice research-based knowledge through the Disciplines Taught at the different courses of ISMAT.

·      Create new, self-developed and propriety knowledge to improve our value perception in the worldwide research networks, communities and overall market – Building our research reputation

·      Stimulate interdisciplinary experiences and practices, integrating market and societal challenges into the research context (real-life) and the classroom – Not substituting the Market of our students but opening new opportunities– Science to the Market – Knowledge transfer

·      Developing collaborations and exchanges with academic, professional and institutional circles on a regional, national and international scale – Research Networking

·      Create the necessary funding conditions to allow the researchers and teachers to develop and produce the necessary (FCT and A3Es scientific production indicators by: (a)self -financed projects; (b) raising money to pay monitors and junior researchers course fees, by sponsorship or applied research services provided and integrate them in the teachers / researchers projects; (c) supporting the development of FCT and others funding calls proposals; (d) allocating the research center financial resources (if and when) to the best internal projects and research proposals.


·      The research center is strategically design aligned with the overall ISHIP strategy. The main research themes are connected with ISHIP focus areas such as: Integrating Holistic Experiential Tourism; Fostering Cultural & Creative Economy, Changing Digital Context; Anchoring New Businesses.



Tourism centered sustainable and humanized Innovations; Participatory HUB with and for: Citizens, Providers, Developers, Governance, Academics; Physical and Virtual HUB for: Citizens identifying Assets, needs and wants; Multi-stakeholders consulting Council; Test sand-box for developers Ideas and Investment projects; Aiming to new development fitness between citizens perspective and quality of life rights and developers and providers profits operations.

1.     IMPACT - Impact future development with citizens participation

2.     INTEGRATING TOURISM – Insights for Tourism territorial and development strategies and planning. Focusing on addressing the social complex challenges regarding harmonization of tourism goals and citizens wishes / needs.


Understanding local heritage; Conscious transformation for conservation and preservation; Involve, Informe and Interact with citizens; Cultural change scenarios for experts; Developing new techniques and methods; Developing research models; Integrating networks and address UNESCO SDG – sustainable growth goals; Field research-based projects (Algarve with Morocco for example)

1.     IMPACT - Impact the future preserving the past

2.     INTEGRATING TOURISM – Integrating Heritage to Tourism becoming a differentiation and Uniqueness asset-based development standing in genuine values, identities and historian contexts

·      INVERSE FUTURES - Speculative and critical research - Speculative futures; Critical Design; Creating Fictions and Narratives; Imagining utopian Living Scenarios; Imagine Future solutions for complex Social Systems; Generating Awareness for building the future with citizens; Transforming Manifestos into Strategic visions for the territories and change players;

1.     IMPACT - Impact the future creating visions for perfect scenarios

2.     INTEGRATING TOURISM – These future visions can push the citizens, governance institutions and tourism players ideas for future developments.

·      TOURISM BASED ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM - Strategic Models for diversification, positioning; Integration and networking; Creating new methods, models, techniques and tools for creative and entrepreneurial leadership and culture; Defining and adjusting the ecosystem model

1.     IMPACT - Impact future local economy innovation

2.     INTEGRATING TOURISM – Centering the business innovation models and overall entrepreneurial ecosystem within the Tourism future vision and on citizens.

·      DESIGN SYSTEM FOR EDUCATION INNOVATION – Creating Future Education scenarios; New pedagogical practices and teaching / learning models; Classrooms of the future; Entrepreneurship Learners; New technology-based models; Creativity based Learning Skills and competences

1.     IMPACT - Impact future education models

2.     INTEGRATING TOURISM – Focusing on the development of education programs, training and courses to support the future Tourism centered ecosystem and future visions.

doctorate level programs


subject areas for exchange students

Students with interest in:

Communication design;
Communication and Image;
Innovation and Strategy;
Experience Design (UXD);
Process Design;
Advertising and Communication;
Critical Design.

application deadlines


teaching languages

Portuguese and Inglês

semester dates

1st semester - 15 of September to 30 of january 
2 st semester - 1 of March to 30 of June

cost of living per month (studying and living)

800 euros for bathroom, eating and institution fee.

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