Introducing an intern: Adéla Foldynová

Adéla Foldynová (1986) is originally from the Czech Republic. She studied Humanities and Liberal Arts at Charles University in Prague. Currently she is doing a master program at Maastricht University in the field of Arts & Heritage. In Prague she worked for several art institutions like the National Gallery, DOX Centre for Contemporary Art or Kampa Museum usually for their education departments with a focus on the audience development. Besides working for already established institutions she was part of team launching a project called UMakArt/You Make Art which aimed to introduce young and fresh Prague art scene to teenagers and young people in general in engaging and appealing way. Another project worth mentioning was an international series of elementary school workshops called Futurama which were designated to open the topic of the communistic past of countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary to those who were born after the end of the totalitarian regime though they still might be influenced by the shadows of the past.

She is interested in public involvement in arts and culture in its broadest sense. Besides this she, as a originally village girl, is always fascinated with cities, the way they function and evolve, in this case the question of a heritage in modern and ever-changing cities has been always compelling for her.

You have studied a bachelor of Liberal Arts at Charles University in Prague. Now you are doing a masters of Arts and Heritage at the Maastricht University. Why did you decide to move to the Netherlands? And what are the differences between the educational systems in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands?

Already during my bachelor studies I did an exchange program in Maastricht which was, to me, a continual party as it always is with all the exchange programs. With this memory in mind I returned back to the Netherlands after finishing my bachelor to find out that doing master in the Netherlands in not completely the same as doing exchange program. But, honestly, I am more than happy with the decision I have made. I am learning a lot, meeting great people and having good time here in the Netherlands.

Czech education seems to me more traditional. Charles University was founded in the 14th century, it was a great honor for me to study there, but sometimes you could trace some medieval practices there. The relationship between student and professor is usually more hierarchical and formal. Here, in the Netherlands I am still shocked when my Dutch teacher is sending me an email with smiley faces, asking me how I am doing and encouraging students to call him or her by the first name. Besides this, the process of transmitting of knowledge in the Czech educational system is rather more fact and figures based. In the Dutch system, on the other hand, discussions and personal/subjective opinions are essential. The Maastricht system called Problem Based Learning is a sophisticated approach which however may drive you crazy sometimes, mainly when you are a person who tries to make his or her life problem-less not problem-based.

None of these approaches is better than the other, it is just simply different and I am happy I have experienced both and I can benefit from it.

We always have difficulties describing our own practice to outsiders. How did you find out about us, and why did you decide to apply for this position? Could you describe our work in one sentence?

My teacher from the UM advised me to apply for the internship for Non-Fiction since she knew I was looking for an internship but I was not able to articulate what I actually wanted to do (a bit of art, but not really, rather culture in general, maybe the question of heritage, or rather modern cities, something you call audience development, actually everything but sport and chemistry, bla bla bla…) So after such a confusing description she probably thought Non-Fiction was a perfect match for me.

Besides that I remembered Juha’s name from the time when I was writing my bachelor thesis on the topic of museum night + colonization of time in postmodern world + democratization of (art) museums (as you can see being torn apart between different topics is my hobby) and he as an organizer of the Amsterdam n8 he provided me with some insight into that event.

Describing the work of Non Fiction? That is pretty tricky! Give me some more time to do it just in one sentence… For now let me use one paragraph:

Aldous Huxley said that “(t)he trouble with fiction… is that it makes too much sense. Reality never makes sense”. I believe Aldous would be happy how Non Fiction can be close to the reality and master its senselessness. (Haha, if it seems to you to be a nonsense, please understand that I have already spent around 30 minutes on answering this particular question)

Now that you have been here for a few weeks, could you say what you are hoping to get out of your period here?

I basically hope to get some insight into how an organization as Non-Fiction can bridge different institutions/artists and approaches, what are the possibilities and limits…Last but not least I am really enthusiastic to get to know more about Amsterdam’s culture and art scene. 

Last question: is there anything you could advise us to do to improve our practice

Answering “no” would be too easy, right? So, as I have already proposed, we should wash windows in our office ( This will enable us to have a brighter perspective.