'Towards the end of my Master's, I already began looking for the promoters of my next project, the PhD'
'Reflecting on my different transitions, that took me in the course of time from being a principal ballet dancer at Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam, to a Research Master's student, to a PhD student, to my current teaching position at the UvA in the German department, I realise that those were all quite smooth. Probably due to the fact that I had a lot of luck, but also because I knew the requirements that were necessary to advance. Like in any other career one needs a sort of underlying long term plan or aim, that makes one take certain decisions and choose for certain paths. That’s why I took chances when they came, structured my work and most important, had a passion for what I was doing at the time. Perhaps those aspects are all still old relicts from my previous career as a ballet dancer.'
'During my two years as a research scholar, I already knew that I wanted to finish my study with a PhD. Because of the limitations of my external subsidy from the Omschooling Dansers Fonds I knew also, that I had very little time to do so. Research Master's and PhD could all together not take longer than four and a half years. This meant I had to focus from the beginning on and had to conceive a more or less clearly outlined research field at a quite early stage. By accident I had gotten acquainted with the work of the German writer W.G. Sebald, whose special approach to history, messianic hope and interconnectivity both provided a wide range of research possibilities and had a certain actuality – the subject was hot and I could refer to a big Sebald discourse going on at the time including different disciplines like history, literary studies, art history, philosophy etc. His work interested me a lot, so I considered digging deeper and making Sebald my research subject for a longer period of time. This passion for my subject was a very important part to advance fast in my study.'
'Towards the end of my Master's, I began already looking for the promoters of my the next project, the PhD. Luckily I already knew more or less what I wanted to write about, I wanted to stay with Sebald. At the same time I already started with assistant teaching jobs, so I would also gain experiences in the didactic field. Very soon chances to take over some official courses in our department came along. I enjoyed the work a lot and found it a very fruitful balance between my hours behind the desk and in front of the classroom. The last push to finish off the project came from an ad in the paper: the UvA was looking for a teacher. To be able to apply, I first had to give a definite deadline for my PhD, set a defence date and prepare an opened class that I would be judged from. Even though this period might have seemed at times quite stressful, I am very happy that I took the opportunities that were given to me. At the moment I have a temporary job at the UvA for three years. If I can stay on after that time, I can so far only hope for. But to strengthen my position though I invest at the moment any free minute I have to write articles, appear at congresses and develop a research proposal for an NWO funding.'