‘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, and is a tutor at the Master Institute for Visual Cultures.
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 Art ≈ Research 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.org that intervenes in societal debates around cultural production.
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.
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?Read more
‘Well beyond their common characterisation as problem-solvers, designers have a role to play in materialising public engagement with collective concern’
‘As a result of my current research, I ask the students the questions “what is your work” and “what works for you.’
‘Performance is about engaging with versions of the self, stretching the gaze to see what others see when they look at you.’
‘To be able to research something thoroughly, you have to deeply engage, not just look at it from the outside.’
‘Doing research connects my practice with teaching; it strengthens and brings them closer together.’
‘The most difficult and empowering thing as an artist is to stay honest about my work and me. And I'd like to help my students to get there too.’
‘Disrupting our contemporary society can be a serious design goal.’