First prize ‘Best PhD Thesis’ and ‘Best Valorization’ OSL Awards

I am absolutely thrilled! 🙃 Over Christmas I heard I won two out of five categories in the OSL Awards, the awards our international (for the global Dutch speaking area) research school for Literary Studies hands out every year (Onderzoekschool Literatuurwetenschap). I am over the moon!

I won first prize in the category ‘Best PhD Thesis’ and ‘Best Valorization’ (how to make your research results useful).

You can find the jury’s lovely words below (in English).

This year’s jury consisted of OSL Board members Marguérite Corporaal, Ann Rigney, Frans Willem Korsten, Margriet van der Waal, Ted Laros and Miriam Meissner.

Best PhD Thesis

Kila van der Starre, Poëzie buiten het boek. De circulatie en het gebruik van poëzie, Utrecht University (online e-book)

  • This is a socially significant research topic that takes the function of poetry beyond book publications and highbrow academia, examining how people today (and in the past) experience(d) poetry, revalued it and reused it. Relevant works have been included in the theoretical scope. The quantitative research that has been conducted is exciting, and the ways in which issues of memory and heritage are brought into the analyses are refined.
  • The thesis is one of these studies that change a field in terms of orientation. Instead of considering the Dutch poetry landscape as a marginal literary field in which the happy few meet one another on small-scale festivals, Van der Starre convincingly shows that poetry is everywhere.
  • The thesis surprises and is innovative in disclosing areas where one would not expect poetry to be dealt with seriously, as when tattoos are a topic of interest when dealing with poetry. But the thesis is also innovative methodologically, as when Instagram poetry is studied extensively (not just on the basis of individual cases), or when the focus on how real readers deal with poetry is worked out systematically.


Best Valorization

Kila van der Starre, website

  • With her website and activities, Van der Starre managed to reach a national or transnational audience (if we include Flanders), with almost the full scope of media involved, including some really prominent ones, in an ongoing, interactive process between users who became participants. With her work, and impact, van der Starre has managed to change the poetry landscape of the Netherlands; not a small feat.
  • Van der Starre’s project is enormously simple and effective, based on citizen science (activity / participation) and crowd funding. Very well done that more than 200.000 viewers visited the site.
  • This project takes a clear and strong position in relation to literature education, explaining the worth and value of including alternative formats of literature in the literature education classroom as a means to create enthusiasm and interest in further literary reading. The impact of the research conducted for this argument in a non-academic context is evident. Following the discussions on the state of literature education in the Netherlands at the moment, it is clear that a more inclusive, less conservative approach to literature education is very much needed: one that takes seriously the importance of literature and reading (literature) as steps towards developing critical thinking skills and literacy.

The entire jury report and the other winners can be found here.