Doctoral Students

Maya Rasker
Started in

Research summary

To what extent can literary writing strategies, such as fictionalisation, the application of poetry, or écriture automatique, contribute to, and support the process of creation in artistic practice? Through her PhD research, Maya Rasker will approach the question by focusing in particular on the notion of the ‘beginning’. Edward Said proposes, in Beginnings. Intention and Method (1975; 2012), that a beginning is ‘... the first step in the intentional production of meaning’. Based on her experience as a novel writer, Rasker has become increasingly aware of the importance of one’s autobiographical raw material as a source and a burden, at the beginning, for artistic production. To date, she has worked with the assumption that the real, or intransitive, beginning of a work of art 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, that every work of art tells or entails a story, and that the stories we tell begin with, and are intimately part of, the person of the maker / author. By means of writing letters to imaginary receivers who have given the above extensive thought (instead of standing on shoulders: to engage into a fictitious dialogue with the giants), Rasker seeks to investigate and explore the concepts that underpin the research question. Informed by this research and inspired by Roland Barthes’ Preparation of the Novel, the proposed output of Rasker’s research will be a lecture series for art students on the relationship between literary writing and artistic practice.



After a career as creative producer in the film industry, Maya Rasker (1965, Málaga) turned her ambition to writing; essays, journalism, theatre, scenario. With her prize-winning debut Unknown Destination (2000) she made her entrance in the world of literature. Her work is published in the United States, Spain, Russia, Germany, Hungaria and Turkey. In 2012 she completed her Master in Artistic Research (Universiteit van Amsterdam). Her thesis, on the position of the author after publication of the work, was appreciated with cum laude.

As guest lecturer at the Master Film in Amsterdam and other MA and BA art institutes, she designs and teaches courses on writing and (artistic) research, on the transformation of the autobiography, and on the notion of 'the beginning' in art production and research. Additionally, Rasker worked as Research Coördinator for the School of Media at the University of the Arts Utrecht between 2014 and 2016.


Individual projects

    • 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.