Hanneke Oosterhof After studying history and Dutch language and literature in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, I spent some years teaching these subjects at secondary school. I eventually swapped teaching for the museum sector, in which I worked from 1978 to 2013 – until 1996 as curator of the Marialust Historical Museum (the later Apeldoorn Historical Museum), and then as Head of Presentation and Collection and curator of industrial culture at the Dutch Textile Museum (TextielMuseum Tilburg).
In 2001 I graduated in cultural studies at the Dutch Open University, with a thesis on the life and work of the female decorative artist and painter Agathe Wegerif-Gravestein (1867-1944). In 2018 I was awarded a PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology for an interdisciplinary biography of the urban-planning architect Lotte Stam-Beese (1903-1988). I am currently working as a freelance researcher on a biography of the artist Erwin de Vries (1929-2018).
The research I have carried out, the exhibitions I have organised and the publications I have written are in the fields of social history, art and cultural history, and women’s history (now better known as gender studies). My PhD studies made me keen to do more biographical research. What I enjoy most is writing the life story of a committed artist or designer: someone who does creative work and whose life mainly took place in the twentieth century. I like to look at how artists’ or designers’ lives and work influenced each other, how their ‘signatures’ evolved, and how they lived their lives.
(Photograph of Hanneke Oosterhof: Willem van Rooij)