Eliza Steinbock is Assistant Professor in Cultural Analysis at Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society. They lead the NWO Smart Culture project “The Critical Visitor: Intersectional Approaches for Rethinking and Retooling Accessibility and Inclusivity in Heritage Spaces” (2020-2025). The Critical Visitor investigates how heritage institutions can achieve inclusion and accessibility within their organization, collection, and exhibition spaces that meets the breadth of demands placed by today’s “critical visitors.” Fifteen heritage partners collaborate on activities to develop language and tools that dismantle intersecting oppressions, forms of exclusion, and marginalization. The project asks, “How can initiatives in the Dutch cultural sector become more intersectional, in the sense of developing multi-issue approaches to inclusion and accessibility?” The research team is comprised of Steinbock, two hired PhDs at LUCAS, Hester Dibbits of the Reinwardt Academy/Erasmus University and Dirk van den Heuvel of TU Delft. The PhDs will spend time embedded in partner institutions studying how heritage and identity operate, and the consortium will convene through the research formats of Field Labs (evaluative on site sprints), Archival Interactions (artistic research with archives), and a Queer Salon (seminar series with intersectional groups).
Previously Eliza researched contemporary transgender (self) portraiture in the wider field of visual activism with an NWO Veni grant. The book project is based on ethnographic research and interviews with trans-identified cultural producers based in Toronto, Berlin, Cape Town and Johannesberg. The project was concluded with the international conference “Art & Activism: Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis,” held at the Volkenkunde Museum (13-15 Dec. 2017, Leiden).
Eliza is involved in critical diversity issues at Leiden University through coordinating the minor Gender and Sexuality in Society and Culture, being a member of Leiden University Diversity and Equality Network (LUDEN), and serving on the Klankbordgroep Diversiteitsbeleid (KBGD). Nationally, Eliza serves as a member of the advisory board for the Queering the Collections Network and for the NIAS-Lorentz program, and on the education council for the Netherlands Research School for Gender Studies (NOG). Eliza’s professional international service includes being the co-editor with Susan Stryker for the book series ASTERISK: Gender, Trans-, and All That Comes After at Duke University Press, a managing editor at Museums & Society, section editor of Art & Culture for TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, and a member of editorial board for Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affective Inquiry. Eliza also regularly contributes to exhibitions as a curator or as a consultant on concept/text.
With a training at the University of Amsterdam’s Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (PhD 2011), Eliza’s interdisciplinary perspective brings them to a wide range of visual culture mediums like film, digital media, photography and museum display, with a special focus on dimensions of race, gender and sexuality. Cutting across these preoccupations is the question, How do varying frameworks of visuality shape social understandings of bodily difference?