New book on the emergence of creative concepts "indispensable" for professionals in the cultural sector

"We benefit from an open and inspiring relationship with the field we are researching." So say Prof. Iris van der Tuin and Prof. Nanna Verhoeff on the occasion of the launch of the Creative Humanities Academy, a new platform and network within the Faculty of Humanities that encourages and enables collaborations between researchers and makers. The platform has been in existence for a year now and offers various programmes for professionals, including the successful course Leiderschap in Cultuur Artistiek.

A new book by the two researchers will be published this month: Critical Concepts for the Creative Humanities. More of a dictionary really, which is closely intertwined with the activities of the Creative Humanities Academy and Continuing Education

Our book attempts to capture the much-needed reflections of theorists of culture and of makers.

Prof. dr. Iris van der Tuin. Foto: Ed van Rijswijk
Prof. Iris van der Tuin

Iris: “Today’s world is a world of fast circulation of omnipresent texts and images. Often, these texts and images are also commercialised, even under the name of science or with the help of well-meaning and non-governmental funders. It is hard to notice anything at all in this world as we hop from one claim or click to the next, and can hardly come to a stand-still for reflection. Reflection we need so much in order to see, think, make, and act.”

Artists, designers, creative directors, curators, and academics want to work from an engaged and entangled criticality toward more hopeful futures."

Profile picture Prof. Nanna Verhoeff
Prof. Nanna Verhoeff

Nanna: “The contemporary field of arts-and-design, just like in cultural enquiry today, seems to be working more and more - or more explicitly so - with theoretical and philosophical concepts. This means that new concepts are invented to give a language to today’s phenomena. Or concepts with a history are implemented anew: activated and actualised in the present, in order to both understand the complexities of our world, today, but also to open up our thinking and help us speculate about better futures."

A positive response from professionals

The concepts featured in the dictionary include concepts such as Affect, Care, Contingency, Failure, Speculation and Unlearning. The participants of the first edition of Leiderschap in Cultuur Artstiek, a course for artistic leaders, makers and curators in the cultural and creative sector, were enthusiastic about the book, which already exists in an online version.

Paul Adriaanse

Paul Adriaanse, Director of Continuing Education for the Faculties of Law, Economics and Governance plus Humanities: "Iris van der Tuin and Nanna Verhoeff have written a standard work on the rich background of the emergence of creative concepts with Critical Concepts for the Creative Humanities. It is an indispensable book for every professional who is active as a maker or artistic leader in the cultural field or is excessively interested in the creation and interpretation of 'creativity'."

Between No-Longer and Not-Yet

During Dutch Design Week, Kazerne in Eindhoven used the above lemma to shape an exhibition. This was the idea of Annemoon Geurts, creative director of Kazerne and one of the students in Leiderschap in Cultuur Artistiek.

Iris and Nanna: "What happens in the studio, just like what happens in the lab, happens in a space in-between. There is not yet a finished piece of art that can overcode the definition of what is art, what is creativity. It is 'art in the making' and creativity as a messy practice, as painful struggle and happy light-bulb moments, and as true and deep collaboration of humans, machines and materials that is being studied and reflected on.

What Kazerne has done by choosing Between No-Longer and Not-Yet as the title for their exhibition of design works is combine the study of the laboratory - the study of truth and technicality - with the study from the studio standpoint - the study of art and creativity."

Join the online book presentation 

During the online book presentation on 18 November - after a short introduction by Van der Tuin and Verhoeff - three speakers will respond to the book. First, Kiene Brillenburgh Wurth, Professor of Literature and Comparative Media at Utrecht University. Second, Odile Heynders, Professor of Comparative Literature at Tilburg University. Third, Trine Friis Sørensen, curator and coordinator of the MA Curating at Aarhus University in Denmark. Together, they will further explore what it means to work with critical and creative concepts. 


  • Title: Critical Concepts for the Creative Humanities
  • Authors: Iris van der Tuin, Nanna Verhoeff
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • ISBN: 978-1-5381-4773-3