Mariangela Lavanga, PhD

Assistant Professor

Biographical Note

Mariangela Lavanga is Assistant Professor in Cultural Economics at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) - Erasmus University Rotterdam. She lectures in the International Bachelor in Cultural Studies (IBACS), the Pre-Master Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship, and the Master in Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship. Her expertise lies in the analysis of the interrelations between cultural/creative industries and cities. She focuses on fashion and design-oriented firms, their business and growth models, and internationalization strategies; fashion and design fairs/events as intermediaries and temporary clusters. Mariangela holds a PhD in Communication Economics / Cultural Economics from IULM University in Milan, a MSc in Urban Management from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and a BA-MA in Economics from Bocconi University in Milan. Her PhD thesis "Cities and Culture. Policies for a Sustainable Urban Development based on Culture. Case studies: Rotterdam and Tampere" develop a comparative analysis of two European cities - Tampere in Finland and Rotterdam in The Netherlands - with respect to the effectiveness of their cultural policies and strategies as tools of sustainable urban (re)development. Between 2006 and 2010, Mariangela was post-doc researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). At the UvA she collaborated in the project "Places and their Culture. The evolution of Dutch cultural industries from an international perspective, 1600-2000" financed within the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO) program ‘Urbanization and Urban Culture’. Mariangela has 15 years of academic and professional experience as a researcher, lecturer and consultant. She has provided research and consultancy services for government authorities, foundations and organizations across Europe. 

Current research interests

Mariangela is particularly interested in the role of intermediaries and curatorship in the creative industries, in particular in the fashion and design industries. New intermediaries and new processes of valuation challenge the position of the traditional intermediaries. However, despite digitalization cultural intermediaries are still needed for mediation between cultural production and consumption.

In doing so, she is working on:

  • The role of intermediaries in the fashion industry, in particular fashion fairs and concept stores (Why trade fairs are still important? Are online fairs substituting the physical fairs? What is the role of trust in design exchanges, that is in decisions involving risk and uncertainty?)
  • Entrepreneurial practices of independent fashion designers in the (slow) fashion industry (What are the entrepreneurial practices of independent fashion designers? What are their decisions in terms of where to produce and how? What strategies do they use to enter the market? What are their key intermediaries?)

Current research project

Funded by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research)

NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and CLICKNL (The Dutch Creative Industries Knowledge and Innovation Network) have granted Mariangela Lavanga (main applicant - Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Nana Adusei-Poku (co-applicant - Hogeschool Rotterdam) a Creative Industry - Knowledge Innovation Mapping (KIEM) funding for the project “Behind the scenes in Dutch fashion; Bridging the gap between independent fashion designers, craftsmen and fashion intermediaries”.  The aim of the project is to provide a first exploration of the entrepreneurial practices of independent fashion designers in relation to local production systems (the practices between independent fashion designers and local craftsmen) and intermediation processes (the practices between independent fashion designers and intermediaries) from both a cultural economic perspective and a cultural sociological perspective. Erasmus University Rotterdam and Hogeschool Rotterdam partner with MARGREETH OLSTHOORN, Van Rijthoven Holding, NOT JUST A LABEL, Willem de Kooning Academy, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Het Nieuwe Instituut to analyse the case of Rotterdam-based designers. Among the deliverables are series of meeting with the partners, a round table and a final symposium for a broader public, a shop-in-shop and a final report.

The project has been kicked off in January 2015 at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen at the last day of the exhibition "The Future of Fashion is Now". Mariangela Lavanga has co-organised together with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Willem de Kooning Academy and Kenniscentrum Creating 010 (Hogeschool Rotterdam) the symposium "Behind the scenes - The Future of Fashion in Rotterdam"