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Sebastian Olma

Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

‘Our research group investigates the role artists, designers and cultural producers in general can play in developing the aesthetics and poetics of a desirable future.’

Sebastian Olma is professor Cultural and Creative Industries. He works for the Expertise Centre Art, Design and Technology.

Sebastian started his academic career pursuing interdisciplinary studies in the social and human sciences at universities in Germany and the United States. He obtained his PhD from the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2007 with a dissertation analysing the ontology of contemporary capitalism. He started his professional career with conducting a number of academic research projects in the field of art and the creative industry for institutions such as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). He worked as a researcher at the Institute of Network Cultures at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. As a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, he supervised PhD students in critical studies of the creative industry. 

His experience as a consultant led him to the publication of In Defence of Serendipity (Repeater 2016). In this book he criticises the policy of creative industries, and explores radical strategies of social innovation that transcend conventional definitions of creativity and innovation. The publication Art and Autonomy was published in 2019. This book poses the question of what artistic autonomy could mean at a time when art is fully commercialised and aesthetics has become the guiding principle of economic production and policy making. 

Sebastian regularly participates in public debates, highlighting the inherent contradiction between fact and fiction when it comes to creative industries, art and innovation. In 2017 he was appointed advisor to the Raad voor Cultuur (Council for Culture). He is a regular contributor to the subcultural magazine Amsterdam Alternative, and is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the autonomous cultural centre OT301. 

Sebastian has been teaching at the Master Institute of Visual Cultures in Den Bosch, since 2018. He co-founded the Dérive Berlin Residency Programme and the Dérive Berlin Spring School together with Andreas Krüger. Sebastian participates in the national platform ArtResearch in which lecturers from various Dutch art schools work together to give research in art more impact. Recently, the joint preparation of a pilot project for the development of a Professional Doctorate (PD) programme in art has also begun. 

Making and Breaking Webjournal

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries publishes its own online journal makingandbreaking.orgarrow that intervenes in societal debates around cultural production.  

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Art and Culture in Brabant: Meaning and Possibility

This research project is a direct response to the 2020 coalition agreement of CDA, VVD, FvD, and Lokaal Brabant in which the art and culture portfolio was abolished, and to the discussion that has arisen as a result.

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McCartney, G., O’Connor, J., Olma, S. et al. Culture as an objective for and a means of achieving a Wellbeing EconomyarrowHumanit Soc Sci Commun 10, 718 (2023).

Olma, S. (jan. 2022) ‘Nawoord’, Mark Fisher, Kapitalistisch Realismearrow, Vertaling: Menno Grootveld, Amsterdam: Starfish Books, 105–126.

Olma, S. (2021) The Post-Contemporary: A Speculative Debatearrow Making and Breaking, Caradt Online Journal, vol 2

Olma, S.;  Henry, U. & Panda, A. (2021) Making and Breakingarrow, Caradt Online Journal, vol 2.

Rebergen, E.; Eikelboom, W. & Olma, S. (2021) ‘Looking for Trouble: Raising and Tackling Problems Through Design Research’, P. Joore, G. Stompff, J. van den Eijnde (eds.) Images of Design Research, Rotterdam: NADR, 100–110. Nederlands: Looking for Trouble. Problemen oprakelen en aankaarten door ontwerponderzoek. In P. Joure, G. Stompff, J. van den Eijnde (Reds.), Beelden van Applied Design Research. Nederland: Network Applied Design Research.

Olma, S; Schouten, B; Verveld, B; Straver, D; Osterloh, E; Cramer, F; Kresin, F; Boomgaard, J.; Haggis-Burridge, M.; Shah, N.; Sonderen, P.; Benschop, R.; Blom, S. (2020) Een derde cyclus voor de kunst- en creatieve sector,  Propositie pilot derde cyclus hbo / cluster Kunst+Creatief, Succesvol ingediend bij ministerie OCW.

Olma, S. & Stuart, B. (2020) Kunst en Cultuur in Brabant: Betekenis en Vermogen, Caradt-interne onderzoeksrapportage.

Olma, S. (2019) “First Aid in Case of Art: 20 Years of OT301 in Contextarrow”, Amsterdam Alternative, #27, Nov-Dec, p.3.

Olma, S. (2019) “Cultural Production and Emancipatory Social Changearrow”, in: Making and Breaking, Caradt Online Journal, vol 1.

Olma, S. & Reed, P. (2019), Making and Breakingarrow, Caradt Online Journal, vol 1.

Olma, S. (2019) “Ideology and the City: De Zwijger as An-aesthetic Interfacearrow”, Amsterdam Alternative, #24, May-June, p. 5.

Olma, S. (2018), Art & Autonomy: Past – Present – Future, Rotterdam: V2_.

Olma, S. (2017), Art and Autonomy: Past, Present, Future, Rotterdam: V2_.

Olma, S. and Reljic, T. (2017), Cities of justice: Reclaiming Valletta from the Market Forces of Gentrification, Malta Today, November 13.

Olma, S. (2017), For the Scene Needs Changing: Notes on Paul Segers’ Comradeship with Time,” Paul Segers The Scene Needs Changing, Eindhoven, Onomatopee.

Olma, S. (2017), In Defence of Serendipity, Audio Book: Audible.

Olma, S. (2017),  In Defence of Serendipity. The Silicon Emperor is Wearing No Cloths, arrowThe Conversation (Australia), June 13.

Olma, S. (2017), Raum für Müssiggang und Spinnerei – Für eine Radikale Politik der Innovation,” ChangeX, 4. April.

Olma, S. (2017), Using Usership: A (Hopefully) Useful Introduction, In Erik Haagort et. al. Usersip, Breda, Avans University of Applied Sciences.

Olma, S. and Altena, A. (2017), Serendipity, Sagacity, Politicsarrow, V2_ Blog.

Olma, S. (2016),  University as Übungsraum. In: Higher Education and the Creative Economy: Beyond the Campus,
London, Routledge.

Olma, S. (2016), Autonomy and Weltbezug. Towards an Aesthetic of Performative Defiancearrow,
Breda, Avans university of Applied Sciences.

Gerritsen, M. (Eds.) and Olma S. (Eds.) (2016), From Data to Dada,arrow Breda, MOTI Museum Of The Image.

Gerritsen, M. (red.) en Olma S. (red.) (2016) Beeldcultuurkrant van Dada naar Data, Breda, MOTI Museum Of The Image.

Research Group: Cultural and Creative Industries

The research group Cultural and Creative Industries investigates the role of artists and designers as creative innovators and drivers of social and economic change. Affiliated researchers analyse the cultural and creative industries from a critical point of view and examine the conditions under which timely forms of aesthetic expression and social connectedness can actually take place within the precarious reality of this field. What economic models are required by artists and designers to create a meaningful practice within the aesthetic, social, and economic intentions of the cultural and creative industries? What skills sets are required for those artists and designers who don’t just want to follow movements, but actually shape novel social and economic models of the future?

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‘‘How will our graduates make a living without selling their soul?’’

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‘As a result of my current research, I ask the students the questions “what is your work” and “what works for you.’

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‘How can we disrupt the notion of being human while staying true to being humane?’

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‘How do we live together, how do we work together? How do we give shape and form to ‘being together’ in the broadest sense?’

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‘Interested in human behaviour as the basics underlying the way we design and innovate our society and economy.’

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‘Within my practice I create spaces for introspection while exploring ethical dilemmas. ’

Renée van Oploo arrow

‘Disrupting our contemporary society can be a serious design goal.’

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‘Performance is about engaging with versions of the self, stretching the gaze to see what others see when they look at you.’

Philippine Hoegen arrow

‘Consumers are creatures of habit. If we want them to break routine and live sustainably, we have to do more than just offer sustainable alternatives. ’

Estelle Nieuwenkamp arrow

‘To be able to research something thoroughly, you have to deeply engage, not just look at it from the outside.’

Bart Stuart arrow

‘Doing research connects my practice with teaching; it strengthens and brings them closer together.’

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