Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Centre for Applied Research on Economics & Management

Capturing the Imaginary: Students and Other Tribes in Amsterdam

Seminar organized around the PhD thesis of Nuriá Arbonés Aran


CAREM is delighted to invite you to the seminar we are organizing around the PhD thesis of Núria Arbonés Aran: ‘Capturing the Imaginary: Students and Other Tribes in Amsterdam’. With this seminar we want to share and celebrate a productive and inspiring research cooperation prior to the official defense which will take place after the summer break.

During the last decades students have become a target group for cities like Amsterdam. They are addressed as the talented forces that cities need in order to face increasing global competitiveness, a force which itself is represented as giving cities their dynamic edge. This (now predominant) discourse in institutional city and educational communication instrumentalizes students as revenue sources, as ‘clients’ of tertiary education or the ‘end products’ to be delivered to business life and the market place. More nuanced or subtle research on urban management, city marketing, places, images, reputation, identity and feelings of belonging among young adults have often been drowned out by this trend, and remain in the realm of academic research literature without direct practical application. 

‘Capturing the Imaginary’ wants to contribute to operationalize insights into student identities, urban images and city/educational marketing and management communication. Instead of harping on the discourse of managing and increasing the positive image of Amsterdam, this thesis aims to give insight into a more realistic and first-hand way of capturing current images of Amsterdam as shared by cohorts of young adults. Accordingly, its primary sources consist of a compilation of heterogeneous, existing (‘real-life’) material, produced by young adults as a part of their cultural communication rather than being especially generated for this research.

Eventually, and on the basis of the findings, this thesis provides insights into how to develop a more sustainable and substantiated positioning of Amsterdam and its educational institutions as the hospitable and tolerant city, in which young adults can actually have the possibility of becoming a better version of themselves.    

The seminar is free to attend and lunch is included. For more information please contact: Mirjam de Swart (m.b.e.de.swart@hva.nl) 

09.00-09.30 Coffee and registration
09.30-09.40 Opening by Willem Baumfalk, Dean of the School of Economics and Management
Welcome by Núria Arbonés Aran

Part I: Ideal projections of contemporary cities in the Western world
09.40-09.55 In search of the ideal student city - Willem van Winden
09.55-10.10 What is an image? The nature of images and their role in contemporary life - Joep Leerssen
10.10-10.25 What is someone like you doing in a place like this?
Núria Arbonés Aran

Part II: Experiences of identity-forming in a city such as Amsterdam

10.25-10.40 Ego Faber, starting a new life in Amsterdam
Maurice Seleky
10.40-10.55 ‘Doofpot’: A wake-up call - Gideon ‘Gikkels’ Everduim

Coffee break

Part III: Capturing imaginaries in future urban research
11.15-11.30 An inventory of reservoirs and a history to be rewritten
Emile Jaensch
11.30-11.45 A Bachelor’s thesis on the Zuidoost: towards the rehabilitation of the term ‘Bijlmer’ Lodewijk Jurgens
11.45-12.00 Living in Amsterdam Zuidoost as an international student: A Research Journey - Jay Jung
12.00-12.15 Windows to the world - Lawrence Hasselbaink
Doing research in a city such as Amsterdam: Comparative Research in Barcelona - Enric Ordeix


The seminar will end at 1.00 p.m.

Willem van Winden is a professor at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He is an expert in the field of urban and regional economic development and strategies. He has been involved in numerous international studies and projects in these fields, commissioned by cities in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and by organizations such as the OECD and the EU.

Joep Leerssen is a comparative and cultural historian. He is Academy Professor of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. He served as director of the Huizinga Institute (Dutch National Research Institute for Cultural Studies) from 1995 until 2006. He held the Erasmus Lectureship at Harvard University in 2003, was awarded the Spinoza Prize in 2008, and appointed Academy Professor by the Royal Netherlands Academy in 2010. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bucharest (2014).

Núria Arbonés Aran is the founder and leader of the IVCF City Marketing in Europe programme hosted by Urban Management in cooperation with the CAREM research centre. As a member of the Knowledge Economy of Amsterdam research group, she is currently working on the further development of research focused on Amsterdam Zuidoost. Núria has completed a PhD trajectory at CAREM and hopes to successfully defend her dissertation after the summer break.

Maurice Seleky is the author of the novel Ego Faber, for which he received the BoArte Culture Prize in 2011. Next to his writing Seleky works as a communications consultant at Novel Creative Consultancy and is frequently active as a moderator of public events. He is also founder and host of the Jonge Schrijversavond, the annual talkshow about new literature in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.

Gideon ‘Gikkels’ Everduim is a Dutch rapper who wrote the song Doofpot. He is also the founder of the political party Bijlmer Style and is social entrepreneur. Emile Jaensch is member of the Executive Committee, Amsterdam Zuidoost and has held multiple portfolios. Since 2007, he has proven his role as a driven and ambitious public servant, administering the portfolios of: Public Works, Urban Development & Housing (incl. tourism), Land Management, Labour & Employment, Traffic & Transport as well as Sports & Recreation.

Lodewijk Jurgens is a Bachelor’s student in Urban Management and Public Administration at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, he is currently completing his Bachelor’s thesis on image and representation in Amsterdam Zuidoost, hosted by the Knowledge Economy of Amsterdam research group, based at the CAREM research centre. He became involved in the topic while taking part in a minor in City Marketing in Europe during the first semester of this study year.

Jay Jung is a Bachelor’s student in Business Administration at the Hanyang University of Seoul, Korea. Jay has almost finished a study year abroad in Amsterdam. After participating in the minor in City Marketing in Europe during the autumn semester, he became involved in the Knowledge Economy of Amsterdam research group. He lives in student housing in the Zuidoost and is working on his Research Journey on the area.

Enric Ordeix is a full-time professor in CSR and Public Relations at Blanquerna School of Communication at the Ramon Llull University (Barcelona) where he also acts as Public Affairs Officer. He has a PhD in Communications and the Humanities and was awarded the Excellence Prize 2014. He is coordinator of the journal Trípodos and has been involved in numerous international research projects.

Gepubliceerd door  CAREM 23 juni 2015