Doctoral Students

Maya Rasker
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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 will approach these issues by focusing on the notion of the ‘beginning’. Literary scholar Edward Said proposes, in 'Beginnings. Intention and Method'(2012 [1975]), that a beginning is "… the first step in the intentional production of meaning".

Based on her experience as a writer, in particular as a novelist, Maya has become increasingly aware of the importance of one’s own biographical raw material as a source, the beginning, for artistic practice and research. To date, she has worked with 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 means of writing an ‘academic novel’, which encompasses a fictional narrative of the research process and extensive annotations, Maya seeks to investigate and explore the concepts that underpin 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.



After a career in the film industry, Maya Rasker (1965, Málaga) turned her ambition to writing essays, journalism, theatre, and scenario. With her prize-winning debut Met onbekende bestemming (Unknown Destination, 2000), she made her entrance into the world of literature. Her work is published in the Netherlands, United States, Germany, Spain, Russia, Hungary, and Turkey.

In 2012 she completed the research master Artistic Research (Universiteit van Amsterdam). The thesis, on the position of the author after the publication of the work, was appreciated cum laude. As lecturer and writing tutor at the Royal Academy of the Arts, The Hague, and other MA and BA art institutes, she designs and teaches courses on writing as a means of doing research, on the transformation of the biography, and the notion of ‘beginning’ in art production and research.

A professional in writing and educating, Maya is a strong advocate for the position of writing as an autonomous art form and as a source for critical and poetic understanding, both in art schools and in academia.


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.