About Us

Meet the members of the Rotterdam Popular Music Studies (RPMS) research group. 

  • Portrait of Pauwke Berkers
    Pauwke Berkers

    Academic lead

    Pauwke Berkers is Full Professor Sociology of Popular Music at the department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests focus mainly on inequalities in popular music, but his academic curiosity often lures him away into topics like awkwardness, well-being, resilience. Anything that is fashionable, basically. He is co-lead Arts, Culture and Creativity in European University Alliance UNIC.
  • Julian Schaap in record store
    Julian Schaap
    Julian Schaap is assistant professor sociology of music. While broadly interested in culture, media and the arts, he mainly studies how preferences for culture and media – music specifically – relate to people’s positions in the social world. In other words: how music brings us together (or closer to ‘ourselves’), or how it reinforces inequalities and drives us apart.
  • Kristina Kolbe
    Holding a PhD in Sociology from LSE, Kristina is an assistant professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam’s ESHCC and a Fellow at LSE International Inequalities Institute. Her research spans social inequalities in the arts, music production, diversity discourses, urban multiculture, and care politics in creative work. She holds a VENI grant from the Dutch Research Council and an Early-Career-Fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation.
  • Portrait of Frank Kimenai
    Frank Kimenai
    Frank Kimenai is an independent consultant specialized in the creative industry in general and popular music in particular and an external PhD candidate at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He is currently conducting research on the resilience of music ecosystems, where he combines his formal education as an ecologist with 20 years of experience in the music sector.
  • Yosha Wijngaarden
    Yosha Wijngaarden
    Yosha Wijngaarden is assistant professor Media and Creative Industries at the Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Driven by insights from sociology, geography and organisation studies, her research focuses on two main topics. First, on work practices of musicians (and artists more broadly), including how they work and where they work. Second, on how these practices translate into earnings and earning inequalities.
  • Portrait of Thomas Calkins
    Thomas Calkins
    Thomas Calkins is a lecturer at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Arts and Culture Studies department. Along with teaching courses in methods, his research spans the creative industries, the production and consumption of culture, and cities. He uses multiple methods to explore the linkages between music, digitization, and spatial inequality.
  • Wessel Coppes
    Wessel Coppes
    Wessel Coppes is head of Pop and part of the management team at Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam. Wessel worked as a manager and advisor at various governmental organizations and subsidy providers. His research focuses on popular music in the context of higher music education institutes. He is currently finishing his dissertation at the department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Portrait of Femke Vandenberg
    Femke Vandenberg
    Femke Vandenberg is an assistant professor of Audience Research at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. Her research focuses on music consumption, the live music experience for various cultural audiences, and its capacity to bond and divide people. She is particularly interested in the effect of digitalization on these processes.
  • Portrait of Michaël Berghman
    Michaël Berghman
    Michaël Berghman is assistant professor of sociology of art and culture at the Department of Art and Culture Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on cultural taste and perception in the domains of visual art, product design and popular music and how these are patterned along social lines.
  • Petrica Mogos
    Petrică Mogoș
    Petrică Mogoș is a PhD candidate and lecturer at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. His research navigates the intersection between neoliberal politics in post-communism and Eastern European cultural and knowledge production, with a focus on the Romanian music sector's transition from socialism to capitalism. Among other things, he is involved in editing and publishing magazines such as Kajet Journal and The Future of, as well as books and printed volumes through Dispozitiv Books.
  • Portrait of Britt Swartjes
    Britt Swartjes
    Britt Swartjes is a researcher at Boekmanstichting, a knowledge institute for arts and cultural policy in the Netherlands, and a PhD Candidate at the department of Arts and Culture Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research engages with sociological approaches to work and inequalities in the music industries, specifically focusing on the production of popular music festivals.
  • Timo Koren
    Timo Koren
    Timo Koren is an assistant professor of Cultural Economy at the University of Amsterdam. His research interests lie at the intersection of Cultural Studies and Urban Studies, focusing primarily on the night-time economy, in particular cultural production, social inequalities, music genres, and regulation.
  • Kim Dankoor
    Kim Dankoor
    Kim Dankoor is an independent media and hiphop researcher, and an external PhD candidate at the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at Utrecht University. Her research explores how American and Dutch adolescents and emerging adults perceive ideals of gender-appropriate behavior, physical appearance, and mate desirability in commercial rap, and how it relates to their self-images. She also explores the on-the ground gatekeeper's role of women strip club dancers in the commercial rap world.
  • Miguel Neiva with fiddle
    Miguel Neiva
    Miguel Neiva is an external PhD Candidate at the Arts and Culture Studies department. His ongoing research focuses on the role of club culture in the well-being of LGBTQI+ youth in Lisbon and Rotterdam. His publications have delved into creative entrepreneurship and cultural policy at the EU and local levels. Besides academia, he worked for 8 years at music, film, and nighttime advocacy organizations in Germany.
  • Virgo Sillamaa
    Virgo Sillamaa
    Virgo Sillamaa is an external PhD candidate at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University, Rotterdam with his research focus on how and which ideas and discourse shape music policy making. With 20+ years of experience in the music sector, he is currently serving as the research coordinator at European Music Exporters Exchange and in Creative Europe projects “Europe in Synch” and “Better live”.
  • Didier Goossens
    Didier Goossens
    Didier Goossens is a guest researcher at the Arts & Culture Studies department. His research examines how local identities are articulated and negotiated in metal music and culture, focusing on areas such as Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Dutch-speaking Low Countries. Next to this, he is a researcher at VI.BE, the central point of contact for artists and the music industry in Flanders and Brussels.
  • Robbert Goverts
    Robbert Goverts
    Robbert is criminologist and sociologist at the sociology and public administration department at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In his research he focuses on Dutch rap music and what this genre means in the daily lives of the people who listen to it.
  • Jelena Beočanin
    Jelena Beočanin
    Jelena Beočanin is an anthropologist conducting PhD research at the Department of History, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research explores how hip-hop culture and music can establish emotional practices and styles of enacting resistance and activism in postcolonial port cities. In her dissertation, popular culture studies meet historical studies of emotions, diversity, and migration.
  • Antonia Becker
    Antonia Becker
    Antonia Becker studied medicine in Frankfurt (Germany), and is an external PhD candidate at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam. As part of the research group ‘music as medicine’ and in collaboration with the RPMS group, her research focuses on the effect of music and social background characteristics in relation to music, pain and other healthcare-related conditions.
  • Gracielle Fonseca Pires
    Gracielle Fonseca Pires
    Gracielle Pires works as a lecturer at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Metal, gender inequalities, media, and critical discourse analysis are the main components of her academic work. She is currently interested in researching various genres within Popular Music, and the implications of power and difference in musical scenes and contexts.
  • Guilherme Giolo
    Guilherme Giolo
    Guilherme Giolo is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) where he researches media and popular culture, with a particular focus on cancel culture. Guilherme’s research on internet culture and digital participation has been published in First Monday, Continuum and World Leisure Journal. Guilherme also researched internet memes for a year as a researcher at KU Leuven (Belgium).
  • Emy van der Valk Bouman
    Emy van der Valk Bouman
    Emy van der Valk Bouman is a medical doctor and an external PhD candidate at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam. Within the ‘ErasMusicLab’, she focusses on patient- and music-related characteristics in healthcare. In her studies, she is working on multiple collaborative projects with the RPMS group on socio-cultural background and music against pain.
  • Julia Peters Research Master SCMA Alumni
    Julia Peters
    Julia Peters is a cultural sociologist currently working at the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In collaboration with the Erasmus University (ESHCC) and the Erasmus Medical Center (Muziek als Medicijn), she leads an experiment exploring the effects of classical and pop concerts on the physical, mental and social well-being of a socially diverse audience.
  • Jenn Clempner
    Jenn Clempner
    Jenn Clempner is a HE Curriculum Lead for Artist Development in the UK, and an external PhD candidate at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. Her PhD focuses on culture and pedagogy in higher popular music education (HPME), impact on student wellbeing, with a lens on female experience. Her wider research interests include BEDI in HPME, excellence in HPME and gender inequalities in the popular music industry.
  • Portrait picture of Koen van Eijck
    Koen van Eijck
    Koen van Eijck is a full professor of cultural lifestyles at the department of Arts and Culture Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests include cultural taste patterns, aesthetic experience and the impact of the arts on health and well-being.
  • Martijn Mulder, researcher at ESHCC.
    Martijn Mulder
    Martijn Mulder is a researcher in live music, events and leisure at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. In 2023, he defended his dissertation on the ecosystem of live music at Erasmus University (POPLIVE). Martijn is a senior lecturer at the Leisure and Events department of RUAS, author of the book Leisure!, works as an advisor in the cultural sector and sits on the board of pop venue Mezz.
  • Portrait of Niels van Poecke
    Niels van Poecke
    Niels van Poecke is a postdoctoral researcher at the department of Medical Oncology at Amsterdam UMC, where he co-develops the research line ‘Contingency, Culture & Oncology’. Currently, he works on a project investigating the affordances of music in meaning-making practices of young adults living with incurable cancer. His has a background in sociology and philosophy, and expertise in a range of (participatory) qualitative research methods.
  • Background ESHCC
    Chris Thompson
    Christopher Thompson is a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Swedish Research Council. He specializes in popular music and the processes of memory and commemoration. His current project is on archivalization and music heritage in the American South through the lens of the Southern Folklife Collection.

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