CROWDCUL welcomes Alice Demattos Guimarães

CROWDCUL welcomes brand new PhD student Alice Demattos Guimarães. Here she shares her excitement about starting her work at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences in Bergen.

It was a typical Scottish morning, on a Friday, the 20th of November 2020, when I received Professor Mæhle’s email informing me that I was chosen for the PhD position in “Alternative Finance as Responsible Innovation in the Culture Sector” at HVL, embedded in the CROWDCUL research project. As much of a cliché as it sounds, it was indeed a dream come true.

I will not forget this day anytime soon. I cannot precisely say when my “circular” interest in economics, cultural practices, and urban development became central to my professional aspirations though. Still, my passion for these fields and their (inter)correlation fostered my academic career since 2012 when I was deciding which bachelor degree to apply for.

Whenever I face the “about me” exercise, I advocate that the position we hold in society, inevitably, determines our life experiences and our way of interpreting the world and producing knowledge when in academia. Therefore, my spotlight and motivation towards research is very much tied to my personal trajectory. To talk about myself, I always go back to my primary education in a Waldorf school in the city of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, where I was born and raised. The Waldorf pedagogy strives to develop intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in a holistic approach, emphasizing imagination and creativity. Hence, I grew up surrounded by arts and culture.

Moreover, the disparities that characterize my region influenced my decision to choose a major in economics, aiming to address regional and global inequalities. I grew up surrounded by social injustice, while occupying a privileged space. I have always been very aware of my luck in being bestowed with a wonderful family who raised me with every possible chance to be accepted to be a PhD student today.

This fellowship is another step towards my Pollyanna childhood dream of helping the world to be a better and more beautiful place, with a strong personal belief in the power of arts and culture to achieve this common utopia. Since the very beginning of my bachelor’s I have been involved with various research projects at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. I believe that research is one of the main instruments in creating a more sustainable and democratic future, in which cultural (re)production is a transformative motor for socioeconomic realities.

I am very happy and excited to take part in CROWDCUL and I cannot wait to finally start the fellowship. I say finally because COVID-19, again, plays a role here: the pandemic, which has of course impacted every level of society, also interfered in my process of getting started. However, as it has particularly damaged the cultural sector, this innovative research project gains even more relevance (and urgency) in debating alternative models to tackle the nature of arts funding in time of enormous societal upheaval.

If this global pandemic is a moment of transformation and every transformation is, essentially, a cultural project in which socioeconomic values are to be changed, perhaps the discussion on the financial burden of cultural-artistic activities can be replaced by the comprehension of the intrinsic, yet intangible, value of culture and arts within society. The increasingly popular mechanism of crowdfunding for sustaining artistic-cultural practices urgently deserves deeper investigation. I am delighted to add to this multidisciplinary international research.

As this post intends to share a little about who I am, I cannot end without telling some facts that are huge part of my journey. As already mentioned, I am a Brazilian, a (gran)daughter, a sister. I am an eternal Waldorf student. I am a believer and a dreamer. I am passionate about travelling, and this led me to an undergraduate semester abroad in California, an Erasmus Mundus master’s, and a time spent in Mexico where I became a professional diver.

I am a world citizen and, as much as I love my Latin roots, the sad fact that research in Brazil has been receiving less and less recognition brought me to Europe, where I became a master in Global Markets and Local Creativities by EMJMD between the UoG, UB, and EUR. I have been an intern, manager, partner, and project officer. I am starting to be a lecturer. If there is any further curiosity regarding my professional achievements or my academic productions, there is plenty of information out there.

I am Alice Demattos Guimarães, a new PhD student at HVL, looking more than forward to contributing to the CROWDCUL project!

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