The life of a PHD candidate

By Suki de Boer

As external PhD candidate at VU University Amsterdam, I research how art professionals who work for multinational corporations write about the art-related activities of these corporations and how this affects the public image of art in a corporate context.

I’m actually not an alumnus of the VU. In 1999-2000 I received my Propaedeuse Communication Sciences from Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen. Eventually I graduated from Radboud University Nijmegen in the so-called ‘onderzoeksvariant’ of art history. My thesis was about a social systems theory approach towards a work of art by Hans Haacke, which was placed on a public square and finally was bought by an insurance company.

After that, I briefly worked as an assistant art curator and had a stint in an architecture office doing their PR. Next, I had a look behind the scenes of the international cultural policy at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I also exhibited some of my own art in Grand Rapids, Jakarta, Istabul and The Hague.

Currently at droog design I coordinate projects, organize public events, co-curate and curate exhibitions, supervise design interns and write texts. Droog started in 1993 as an anti-statement with a down to earth design mentality that opposed the high style and form-based world of design. With a human touch Droog explores new frameworks, alternative ways of thinking and design mentalities. Currently its focus to develop a model for a future city based on dreams and desires of citizens. On this topic Droog creates discourse and dialogue through research, exhibitions, collaborative local projects, writing, talks and debates.

Re-dreaming the Street’ (2016-2017)                 ‘Social City’ (2015)                                                 ‘Big Balls in the Plastic Soup’ (2015)

I coordinated the Droog project ‘Re-dreaming the Street’ (2016-2017) which we did in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Via a micro workshop T-shirt making we asked residents how their ideal street would look like if they had say.
I interviewed curator Alfredo Brillembourg (with in the back Yaolan, our former design intern) at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture in Shenzhen (China) 2015. There Droog presented ‘Social City’ (2015) which won the Peoples’ Choice Award.
I hosted the public event ‘Big Balls in the Plastic Soup’ (2015) and curated the accompanying ‘micro-exhibition’ at Hôtel Droog.










Last year I participated on my own behalf in the first cohort of Across the Board, a long-term platform for the development of culture through cross-disciplinary exchange by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. For this, I wrote an essay on the need for new kind of models for public-private partnerships (PPP) in the cultural sector, and idea which I also  presented in the booklet of Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA) – Amsterdam Science & Innovation Award 2016. After my dissertation I will focus more on PPP in the cultural sector.

This week I was asked to teach a course next year of the Master ‘Kunstbeleid en Kunstbedrijf’ at Radboud University Nijmegen.

Here are some snapshots of what I did recently (click on the links):


video ‘Construct Me’ (2015)                                   ‘Mercade Arte e Design‘ (2016)                           ‘Designer do Ano

Droog’s ‘Construct Me’ exhibition at Salone del Mobile 2015 in Milan (Italy)
I installed and wrote texts for the Droog exhibition ‘From Screw to City’ at Mercade Arte e Design 2016 in São Paulo (Brazil).
We were honoured as ‘Designer do Ano’, and I gave a design lecture.








droogurbangreenpopup#’ (2017)                   ‘Design Column #8 Beyond the Senses (2014)

I curated the exhibition ‘droogurbangreenpopup#’ (2017) at Hôtel Droog.
I installed the exhibition ‘Design Column #8 Beyond the Senses (2014) at Hôtel Droog.










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