I am a political theorist and urban sociologist by training, and today, mostly work in the interdisciplinary field of urban cultural geography. I am interested in the many different forms of political agency and activism in urban space. In other words, I am excited about the places, faces and forms ‘the political’ can take in urban politics and space. In my work, I often focus on the role artists and cultural workers play in processes of urban development, change- and place-making. I approach challenges of urban power, (in)equality and segregation with a lens of conflict – assuming that conflict and tensions are necessary (yet not necessarily a problem) to enact politics. But let’s go back a bit.
After graduating from high school in 2008, I pursued an interdisciplinary double diploma degree in Public Administration (B.A.) at Westtfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and European Studies (B. Sc.) at Universiteit Twente, NL. During my undergraduate studies in, I spent a semester abroad at Sciences Po, Lille, France. I conducted a three-month internship in Santiago de Chile and travelled to the The Hague, Taiwan and Beijing, China as leading student delegate of the World Model United Nations (World MUN) conferences. I finished my B.A. with an honours thesis on Simone de Beauvoir’s novel Les Mandarins, examining different conceptions of freedom via an analysis of the novel’s male and female characters.
Following my passion for existentialist and feminist philosophy, I completed my M.A. in Political Science with a specialization in Political Philosophy at Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada, on a full academic scholarship. In the Canadian academic context, I was first introduced to critical scholarly activism against settler colonialism and petro-capitalism. I completed my M.A. with a major research paper (MRP) conceptualizing the figure of a public intellectual at the example of Simone de Beauvoir’s literary and political writings. The thesis has been published as a book chapter called Beauvoir as a ‘Public Intellectual’ Fusing Ethics and Politics into Responsibility in the bilingual volume Simone de Beauvoir. Lectures actuelles et regards sur l’avenir / Simone de Beauvoir. Today’s readings and glances on the future.
After finishing my graduate studies, I moved to Berlin and found myself working my first full-time job in the strategy consulting firm Institut für Strategieentwicklung – an invaluable time in which I learned so much about Berlin’s contemporary art scene and the art of Powerpoint presentations. Together with my boss Hergen Wöbken, I co-authored a mixed-methods national study on Germany’s contemporary and a book chapter on artist networks in Berlin. Attending uncountable meetings, gallery and exhibition openings , I gained a preliminary insight into the difficulties, yet ongoing attempts between Berlin’s cultural administration’s and different artistic scenes to initiate dialogue about funding mechanisms. From this diffuse atmosphere, first ideas for my Ph.D. project about arts activism in the city emerged in autumn candlelight at my breakfast table. With support of a full doctoral scholarship from the Green-inclined Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, and affiliation with the interdisciplinary urban research center Center for Metropolitan Studies, I started the transformative endeavour called Ph.D. (2015-17). This experience has taught me the healing effects of good colleagues turning into good friends & vanilla ice cream with Nutella.
After my Ph.D., I served as postdoctoral fellow, lecturer and Guest Professor at the Faculty for Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt (2017-19), and postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty for Arts & Design at Bauhaus University, Weimar (2018/19).
My dissertation has by now been published with Routledge as monograph Agonistic Articulations in the ‘Creative’ City – On New Actors and Activism in Berlin. In 2019/20, I worked as a postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, under supervision of Eugene McCann, focusing on what I call ‘the politics of public art’ at the example of public art projects (esp. murals) in Vancouver’s neighborhoods of Chinatown and Hogan’s Alley. Starting in October 2020, I am working as Assistant Professor in (Cultural) Geography at Radboud University, Nijmegen, in the Netherlands.
I am enthusiastic about feminist HipHop, vogueing, the queer straight magazine, honest and mindful people, craft beer and (at least two scoops of) ice cream.