“I had been working in the arts management and sponsoring lobby in Vienna for about ten years, when I decided to go back to university in 2011. In Vienna there’s a lot going on in terms of art and culture, but it’s very difficult to get a foothold in that field if you’re in your early twenties. And then I thought to myself: a proper education will probably be a good idea.
I was very happy with the broad curriculum of the bachelor's in Arts and Culture. I met a lot of interesting people and I did the honours programme and the MaRBLe programme. Through MaRBLe I experienced actual research. I was always curious as a kid, driving my mother crazy with questions. I still have a lot of questions and CAST really gave me the feeling I would be able to answer these questions in a proper way.
When I have some free time, I draw comics. I have this image of myself holding this little analytical toolbox and then going out into the world to answer questions in an impeccable and comprehensible way. That’s what CAST does in my opinion. It throws you into this big world of sociological research. Of course they can’t show you everything, but there’s this entry point and from then on you know where to find what you don’t know.
In the introduction lecture, Karin Bijsterveld said that in the future we would contribute to the human pool of knowledge. That’s when I was sure I was in the right place. Pursuing an academic career was now becoming a serious option. The programme teaches you how to formulate a question and choose the appropriate method and material to answer the question.
I hoped CAST would narrow down my interests, but there are still a lot of fields open. I can go back to the arts, but via the back door: conducting research on people who do art. But other fields, such as media or academics, are also an option. And finally there’s politics, haha, with such an education and a good background in history, philosophy, democracy. I’m not saying you need a university education to be a good politician, but it certainly helps. I see a lot of ideology and egocentrism at the moment.
I’m looking for a subject for my master's thesis and I hope to find something related to comics. They always told us: when you do research, do it about something that you’re really interested in, because you’re going to be stuck doing it for a long time. Our brain recognises pictures a lot better than text, so pictures and especially funny ones have a big influence on how people understand certain information. I started to illustrate quotes and anecdotes that I found interesting and wanted to share. For example Thomas Paine’s quote: ‘My country is the world and my religion is to do good.’ I like to discuss stuff that matters, in a funny way.
I think we might be the last CAST group that had the privilege to be lectured by Wiebe Bijker personally, a luminary in the field of science and technology studies. His work on the social construction of technology deals with the question of why technology looks the way it does. He introduced me to the idea of co-evolution between technology, science and society. I think I was ‘academically star-struck’ when I first shook his hand. To have someone that knowledgeable, taking you seriously as a student and really taking time for you is a big advantage.”
“I really try to explore different ways of seeing things and this research master enables me to widen my horizons.”
The programme showed me what it means to actually be a researcher