Doctoral Students

Maya Rasker
Started in , PhD degree awarded in

Research summary

To what extent can (literary) writing strategies contribute to and support the process of knowledge creation and understanding in artistic practice? What are the epistemological possibilities of writing in an academic context? Through her PhD research, Maya Rasker approaches these issues.

Based on her experience as a writer, in particular as a novelist, Maya became increasingly aware of the importance of one’s own biographical raw material as a source, the beginning, for artistic practice and research. She worked under the assumption that the real, or intransitive, beginning of a work is where the ‘self’ enters the work, with multiple implications for what follows in terms of process and outcome. This research will address and problematize this assumption.

By writing an ‘academic novel’, which encompasses a fictional narrative of the research process and extensive annotations, Maya sought to investigate and explore the concepts underpinning her research. The driving force is her view that writing as an art form, in addition to a formal form of transfer, can deploy various kinds of thinking that can broaden and deepen the research.



Maya Rasker wrote essays for Dutch newspaper Trouw before making her debut as a novelist with Met 'onbekende bestemming' ('Unknown Destination', 2000). The novel has been awarded the Gouden Ezelsoor (bestselling literary debut) and the Vrouw en Kultuur Debuutprijs. The English translation was nominated for the prestigious Dublin Impac Literary Award. Next to a commissioned theatre play ('Collateral Damage', 2002), she wrote 'Rekwisieten' ('Props', 2003), 'Xenia' (2005) and 'De vleugels van Ikara' ('Wings of Ikara', 2008). Translations of her work appeared in the United States, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Russia, and Hungary.

A professional in writing and educating, Rasker is a strong advocate for the position of writing as an art form and as a source for critical and poetic understanding. As an educator, researcher, and course designer she was affiliated with, amongst others, the Master Film at the Amsterdam University of the Arts and the School of Media at the University of the Arts in Utrecht (HKU). At the University of the Arts in The Hague, Rasker is thesis supervisor at the ArtScience Interfaculty and leads academy-wide courses on writing and (artistic) research.

From 2010-2012, she followed the research master Artistic Research at the University of Amsterdam. An adaptation of her graduation project was later published as 'A Letter to Foucault' (in: Artistic Research and Literature, 2019). Intermittent publications include A writer’s oscillations: Beginning as mediating space between origin and destination (text, 2018) and 'On Fiction and Forensics: A Classroom Investigation on Writing Artistic Research (and what are those Footnotes doing there?)' (Lectorate Art, Theory and Practice, 2022). Raskers dissertation 'Woord en wetsteen. Beschouwingen over schrijven op het snijvlak van kunst en wetenschap' ('Word and whetstone. Perpectives on writing at the intersection of art and academia', 2022) will appear in an English translation in 2023. Please visit Rasker's dissertation page for more information.


Individual projects


      As a spin-off of her PhD research, Maya Rasker developed a course on the possibilities and intricacies of the humble and generous footnote.…

      Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (NL)
    • A Letter to Foucault

      Maya Rasker publishes 'A Letter to Foucault' in 'Artistic Research and Literature', edited by Corina Caduff and Tan Wälchli, published by Willem Fink…

    • A Writer's Oscillations

      Maya Rasker publishes 'A writer’s oscillations: The beginning as mediating space between origin and destination' in TEXT Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2.