This page provides details about my research interests, my approach to research and my current projects. I also share some information about my research genealogy, previous work and future research plans.
My broad research areas coalesce around the experiential, symbolic and political dimensions of cultural consumption, and the historical transformative dynamics of the arts market. I work on topics that concern the politics of aesthetics with a particular focus on participatory art, non-institutional creativity and their contribution to social change. More recently, I started looking at the genealogy of the performing/spectacular body and embodied/arts-based epistemologies.
Art, aesthetics and spectatorship have been researched within a range of different disciplines. My business background has motivated me to study art consumption from a marketing perspective concentrating my attention on the art consumer. Within the business disciplines, mainstream marketing, management and economics examine the arts as economic commodities for individual consumption; the cultural experience is viewed as a pure market good that is exchanged within a market system comprised of art producers, distributors and consumers with clear needs and capable of pursuing their self-interest in a rational way. However, my research approach takes a sociopolitical perspective; it appreciates art as a socio-cultural practice of communicative potential. In this sense, art and culture have a social and political role to play.
This socio-cultural perspective defines my disciplinary, ontological and epistemological orientation. My research work lies in the nexus of recent progressive interpretive/cultural/critical branches of marketing, such as Interpretive Consumer Research, Consumer Culture Theory (CCT), Transformative Consumer Research (TCR) and Macromarketing, which examine marketplace phenomena and consumption from a sociocultural, experiential, symbolic, ideological, macro-structural perspective, as opposed to psychological or purely economic explanations. In this vein, consumption experiences are explored empirically in everyday contexts and are interpreted through the conceptual lens of philosophy, sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.
Typically, my work is phenomenon driven, aiming at understanding and developing conceptualisations that originate from philosophy, sociology, cultural theory and theories of aesthetics. I usually amalgamate literature from marketing and consumer research, cultural studies, art history and performance studies, as well as cultural policy and management to contribute to theory development for consumer research and cultural scholarship. Methodologically, my research follows an interpretive/hermeneutic (qualitative) approach to examine empirically the lived experiences, perceptions, behaviours and narratives of art consumers/spectators, art participants and performers and to connect individual experiences to marketplace phenomena and broader market structures, institutions and systemic transformations.
Research Work, Current Projects, and Writings
My work lies at the intersection of cultural studies, consumer research and art/performance studies, aiming to contribute to the ever-growing progressive marketing tendencies that examine the experiential, symbolic and political dimensions of consumption, and the historical, socio-cultural, transformative dynamics of markets.
My current research concerns art consumption, the aesthetic experience and the politics of spectatorship focusing on participatory art practices and the relationship between art, identity, politics and social change. More specifically, I examine phenomena of art production, art consumption and spectatorship with the aim to understand how consumer participation in artistic self-expressive practices and audience involvement in symbolic experiential consumption affects subjectivity, intersubjective relationships, spatiality, broader social structures and ideologies.
My current work examines the role of participatory aesthetic experiences in urban life, the relationship between consumer-led cultural events and spatial consumption, and the motivations, characteristics and impact of interactive forms of performance art. More specifically, in my Ph.D., I examined grassroots artistic practices in urban everyday consumption settings in Athens, Greece during the crisis period. In this context, I also explored the role of creative social enterprises in market structures and experiences.
Recently, I have turned my attention to the genealogy and marketability of the body; in my future research, my goal is to explore how embodied market-based experiences influence the construction of the self, to study the historical constitution of the performing moving body, and to better understand how embodied/arts-based research methods could contribute to marketing theorisations.
My academic and research endeavours come as a continuation of my life experiences, pursuits and dreams. Since my very early years, I have been involved in the arts and have experienced the richness of the aesthetic world. I come from Greece, a country known for its history, culture and heritage; hence, I grew up attending theatre performances, taking piano lessons, watching films and dancing ballet on a daily basis. My involvement in the arts as a child inspired me to professionally study ballet and to perform on stage for several years. However, having spent a significant period of my life in a studio, rehearsing, performing and dancing for an audience, I realised that what would give more meaning to my intellectual and practical pursuits was to move beyond my personal experience as an artist and try to understand what the audience, the spectator, the art consumer benefits from the aesthetic experience.
This orientation and curiosity towards the art consumer was also reinforced by my academic background and practical expertise in marketing. Combining a consumer-centred mentality together with a great passion and belief in the power of art, I focused my efforts on exploring how we can make the arts more available and relevant to a larger part of the society . My wish was to understand how the arts could be accessed by a wider audience and enrich more peoples’ lives. To delve deeper into questions and theoretical speculations around the democratisation of the arts, I continued my academic studies concentrating on cultural policy, cultural management strategies and arts marketing practices. My goal was to examine how cultural organisations could contribute to audience development for the arts and how policy could engage more communities into artistic programmes. Therefore, when I completed my postgraduate studies, I started working with a range of cultural institutions, non-for-profit organisations and arts companies designing audience development strategies and implementing arts community projects. I wanted to work with people, who had limited access to the arts, understand how they perceive cultural resources, how art impacts their lives and how their participation in the aesthetic experience might benefit them. This is when I recognised the need of the sector for scientific knowledge, theoretical tools and empirical research that could provide insights on how art consumers and spectators experience the arts. This is when I decided to start a PhD that would enable me to concentrate on conceptually driven and empirically evidenced research aiming at enriching my knowledge horizons, expanding my theoretical understanding and obtaining primary data that could shed some light into the nuances of audience participation in the cultural domain and its relation to identity projects, societal concerns and cultural democracy aspirations.
My research work is the outcome of my lifelong art experiences and art-stimulated contemplations, readings and pursuits, an honest faith in art’s emancipatory potential, numerous discussions around art production and consumption in today’s society, and my more recent empirical research endeavours to examine participatory forms of art. Although it’s almost unrealistic to demonstrate the tremendous impact that art can have on individual narratives, on our common lives, on our urban environments, on institutional arrangements and on structural formations, I hope that I will keep researching and being involved in inspiring discussions on how the arts might positively contribute to overcoming our everyday struggles and to systemic social transformations.