Boukje Cnossen

As a PhD candidate at Tilburg University I am studying informal organisations in the creative industries with the aim to observe how they strive to gain legitimacy in their own field. So far I have been looking at various creative hubs or art factories in Amsterdam, such as the former Volkskrant building (now Volkshotel) and A Lab. I plan to look at other types of informal arts organisations as well, for instance creative collectives or networks of freelancers.

As I have always been fascinated by the stories people tell to make sense of the world and how these differ between groups, I started my academic education with a BA programme in Religious Studies (BA from University of Amsterdam). I became increasingly interested in other forms of ‘narrative producing’ such as contemporary art, theatre and literature, and therefore I moved on to get an MRes in Cultural Studies from The London Consortium (University of London). This programme was taught in collaboration with some of the leading cultural institutions of the UK, among which the Tate, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Science Museum. Having had a peak behind the scenes of London’s cultural industries, combined with a few years of professional experience in journalism and art education, lead to an interest in cultural and creative work and how this is organised. I explored the spatial organisation of creative work in Amsterdam as an ‘embedded researcher’ for the University of Amsterdam for two years, and have since 2013 been able to continue this ongoing interest with a doctoral thesis.

2013 – present. PhD researcher at the School of Economics and Management, Tilburg University. I am working on the NWO-funded research project “High Performance in the Networked Creative Industry” under supervision of Prof. Arjen van Witteloostuijn. My guiding question for the research I am doing is: “how do informal and beginning creative organisations try to gain legitimacy in their own field?”

2013 – 2014 Embedded Researcher at the Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam (CIRCA), Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam. This research project with the name “Creative Migrants & The City” looked at the ways in which international creative professionals use urban creative hubs link to build up a local network. For this project I did qualitative research at three different creative hubs or ‘broedplaatsen’, being ACTA, A Lab and Fenix, and collaborated with the organisations running them.

2012 – 2013 Embedded Researcher at the Creative Industries Research Centre Amsterdam (CIRCA), Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam. For this research project I conducted intensive fieldwork at the Volkskrant building (now Volkshotel) to identify the various communities working in the building and their links to Amsterdam’s wider creative scene.


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