Interview with Matilde Ferrero, PhD Visiting Student

Matilde Ferrero has been doing research as a Visiting PhD Student at ESHCC since September 2023, coming from the Cultural Economics program at Università Magna Graecia in Italy. In this interview, her PhD colleague, Tze-Ning, explores Matilde's experiences and research journey at ESHCC, as well as her plans for the future.

Would you like to share what’s your project here? And what brings you here?

I was advised by my supervisor in Italy, Michele Trimarchi, to conduct research as a visiting scholar at ESHCC in Rotterdam. Michele, being familiar with Arjo Klamer, a prominent cultural economist at Erasmus, suggested this collaboration. Given that my research revolves around the art markets, Michele introduced me to Mariangela, whose initial research interests aligned with my field. This network and shared interests are the driving forces behind my decision to deepen my research topic here.

In Rotterdam, the focal point of my thesis shifted towards the exploration of artist-run spaces and the reasons behind their emergence in the art market scenario. Specifically, my project adopts a dual perspective in examining artist-run spaces. On one hand, they are scrutinized as relatively contemporary manifestations within the art market, where groups of artists choose to separate from the exclusive dynamics characterizing the traditional art market structure. They establish their own venues, target young and new audiences, and shape avant-garde markets to engage in experimentation and gain recognition as artists. On the other hand, these bottom-up initiatives are analyzed through the lens of the labor market within the creative industries. This analysis extends to relevant literature on knowledge commons and grassroots movements, elucidating the processes by which these initiatives take shape, institutionalize their activities, and often transition into non-profit organizations, commonly as associations, in the specific context under consideration (Turin, in Italy).

How would you describe your stay in Rotterdam, the Netherlands? In terms of work or life here, do you come up with anything that you would like to share with us?

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Rotterdam, particularly thanks to the meaningful exchanges I had with professors and colleagues. At ESHCC, grabbing a coffee at the machine on the 8th floor seemed to be synonymous with flourishing and making significant advancements in research. Colleagues showed genuine curiosity about my current research, my past experiences and future plans. Over the four months, I gained valuable insights through intense discussions with some of my colleagues.

What will be your next step?  

I am currently back in my hometown, Turin, collecting data for the case study I selected for my project: Associazione Bastione, an artist-run center in Turin. As the project nears completion in the coming months, my intention is to continue my research at the university. I am open to residing in either Italy or the Netherlands. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn if you come across any opportunities!


About Matilde

Matilde Ferrero is doing her PhD in Cultural Economics at Università Magna Graecia, in Italy, with the supervision of Michele Trimarchi. From September to December 2023, she has been in Rotterdam at ESHCC, to attend classes and work on her research with Mariangela. She comes from Italy and currently living in Turin, where she has been working with “Fondazione Santagata for the Economics of Culture”; besides, she has an Art History (BA) and Cultural Economics (MA) research background. Matilde’s thesis concerns artist-run spaces’ development, seen from the perspective of emerging artists’ role and needs in the labor market.

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