A few words from Eleonora Psenner

Could you introduce yourself briefly? Tell us a few things about your background, studies, and general interests.

My name is Eleonora and I come from Südtirol (Italy), an autonomous and multi-lingual Alpine region at the border to Austria. In the past I have worked in the ambit of documentary film, in the cultural- and performing arts sector, as an event manager with a tourism association and in the field of applied research studying creative industries and intercultural community-building in the context of regional development and at European policy level.

I hold a BA in International Communication with the University for Foreigners in Perugia, a MA in International Event Management with the University of Brighton and a MA in Innovation and Organization of Culture and the Arts with the University of Bologna. I have always loved to visit different places and explore how people live and interact, and some precious experiences abroad have shaped my personal and professional path over time: a memorable high school year in Pennsylvania, a year with a dance academy in Munich, the exchange semesters in Malta and Sapporo during my studies, my outgoing program in Brussels with my previous job as well as recurrent stays in Barcelona – a city which, next to my home town Bolzano, has always been very dear to me. In September 2021 I moved to Leipzig to start my CORAL-ITN project, and it has been a very enriching journey so far and full of surprises.

How was your moving to your new home? How are things going for you in your new place?

Right at the beginning of my stay in Leipzig I got involved in the activities of the Saxony Association for Cultural- and Creative Industries (SACCI) and I could participate at various workshops and meetings taking place in different – mainly peripheral – sites of Saxony. This allowed me to spend some time with my new working colleagues and to gain first insights to the local context, namely the networks and actors of the creative industries in Saxony. From October onwards I started the regular meetings with my academic supervisor of the University of Leipzig – Institute for Geography while attending a set of academic seminars and PhD colloquia organized by the Leipzig Graduate School. For the evening hours and weekends the city of Leipzig offers a lovely combination of vast and beautiful city parks and a multitude of surprising street events, that made my arrival phase in the new home very pleasant and completed the very positive first impression. I occasionally also met up with my friends Yue and Danai, the other two Leipzig-based ESRs, and we enjoyed some nice dinner & chat time together.

The very friendly and committed group of creative hubs experts invited to the two-day brainstorm workshop “RaumKomplizen” for the revalorization of the Old Storage Building in Zwönitz (Erzgebierge) together with Christian Rost and Claudia Muntschick of SACCI, with final recommendations pitch to the city´s mayor, 17-18.09.2021. Foto by Eleonora Psenner.

You are preparing for your Work Package meeting, how is your work going?

At present I am busy with the literature review for my PhD project: first, I set up the literature plan starting from the three research strands that I had introduced during the first CORAL meeting in October; next, I identified some transversal themes for further orientation before selecting the initial literature. Thanks to the exchanges with my academic supervisor, and after attending a steering group meeting for the report on „Places of Cooperation and Innovation in Central Germany” on behalf of SACCI, I collected some further inputs along the way that, finally, helped to adjust the overall approach to the literature design. For the next Work Package meeting I plan to sort out and fine-tune my ideas to be able to provide a clear overview of the work in progress while keeping refining my overall working hypothesis.

Could you share with us some key insights/ “aha moments” from your work so far?

Have you ever thought how much the places in which we work and live shape our habits, mindsets, and visions? The question on what a place does with us and with our personal as well as collective imaginaries, and how we, on the other hand, impact on a place by shaping our environment, consciously and subconsciously, has triggered my interest already for some time; the fieldwork for my MA thesis with the University of Bologna, for instance, brought me from Berlin to Bogotá investigating how networks of social- and cultural organizations, including coworking spaces, could be enforced to have a positive impact on disadvantaged neighborhoods. Although moving into new research areas over the past years, I realized during my meetings with my CORAL PhD supervisor that among all the initial exciting ideas I presented for my current study at the beginning, it was still the meaning of the place in which creative hubs are embedded and the conflicts arising within the surrounding neighborhoods that kept being of core interest to me. In practical terms this meant to radically trim my initial “conceptual tree” trying to depict a more confined and clearer field of studies. At the same time, it also became clear to me that this process of “trimming” is far from over…

My dear SACCI team at conclusion of two intensive event days in occasion of the BETA Conference in Plauen (Sachsen), 28-29.09.2021.

What do you expect from the WP meeting?

My interest for the research on Creative hubs as drivers for change in peripheral business ecosystems: a comparison between Germany and Austria“, originates from previous investigations on the role of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in a regional development perspective. The research topic is, however, still in constant evolution and what triggers my PhD study most at present is to understand better what motivates people to leave or return to places undergoing structural changes, what conflicts arise within a community when hosting a creative hub, and how networks of creatives can contribute to leverage change and transformation of places and their respective community. The upcoming WP meeting offers a “safe playground” to share new developments of my PhD idea within the CORAL team. Furthermore, I am also looking forward to hearing about the progress of my research fellows, the other ESRs: many different backgrounds and focus points of research come together, as well as the fact that they are all, like me, exposed to a new living and working environment, which may have triggered unexpected changes of their projects too.  For me this get-together and those to come represents therefore a highlight, a source for inspiration and exchange among our group.

Share Eleonora’s journey

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive news about the project

We will only contact you with information related to CORAL-ITN. Your personal data will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Regulation (EU) 2016/679.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955907.