portrait Michiel (1)

Michiel van Iersel

Michiel van Iersel (1978) is an urbanist and curator working at the intersection of the arts, architecture, (urban) design and heritage. He started his career working for several visual arts organisations (Museum of Modern Art, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Art Rotterdam) and LAgroup, before co-founding cultural collective Non-fiction in 2008.

Non-fiction is a collective of people with a common interest in public values and cultural production. They collaboratively make exhibitions and publications, conduct research, (re-)activate spaces, and organise events with the aim to bring people and ideas closer together. Non-fiction curated exhibitions and public programmes for a.o. the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Nieuwe Instituut and Museum De Hallen Haarlem.

In addition Michiel co-founded De Verdieping (2010 - 2015), a temporary project space for experimental culture in an abandoned printing plant in Amsterdam, and the ongoing research project Failed Architecture, dedicated to exploring the causes, perceptions and representations of architectural and urban failures. Michiel was Curator of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) in 2016 and in the same year he was appointed as a Fellow at the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam.

Michiel studied Business and Cultural Studies at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Metropolitan Studies at the Humboldt-Universität Berlin. Currently he is guest lecturer at a.o. the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the Amsterdam University of the Arts. He is an active member of several (advisory) boards, amongst which the Curatorial Board of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, and the Selection Committee of the Dutch Design Awards, the Prix de Rome and DasArts.

Lectures at a.o. DAZ Berlin, Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, TU Delft, HEAD Geneva, Studio-X Amman, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona & TEDxRheinMain.

Articles and features in a.o. Archined, Domus, MONU, NRC Handelsblad, Time Out Magazine, Harvard Design Magazine, The Guardian and Yorokobu.


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From the Blog

Public programme on top of Amsterdam’s oldest building

Oude Kerk -platformThe Garden Which is the Nearest to God by Taturo Atzu (under construction)

From 26 June to 6 September, commissioned by the Oude Kerk, Japanese artist Taturo Atzu (formerly known as Tatzu Nishi) will be presenting a temporary platform on the roof of Amsterdam’s oldest building. He offers visitors a unique vista of the red light district while simultaneously giving access to an architectural domain normally hidden from public view. For ten weeks The Garden Which is the Nearest to God – a summery panorama terrace – transforms the roof of the Oude Kerk into an exhilarating attraction; its unorthodox function offering us new sights and insights. Troughout the summer Non-fiction will be curating a public programme, based on Atzu’s installation.

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By Michiel — Posted May 14, 2015 — 137 Comments

Contribution to New Farms for Expo workshop in Milan

Cascina Sant'Ambrogio in Milan

Cascina Sant’Ambrogio in Milan

This June, Non-fiction’s partner Michiel van Iersel will participate in the New Farms for Expo workshop, organised by New Generations, in which designers from over the world are going to collaborate on a vision of the reuse of abandoned in-urban farm houses, the Milanes ‘cascines’. This connects to the overall theme of the EXPO Milano 2015,”Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

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By Michiel — Posted May 12, 2015 — 136 Comments

New studio space

Oudekerksplein 9

The Non-fiction studio is now situated in one of the buildings attached to the Oude Kerk, the oldest building in Amsterdam in the heart of the historic inner city. You enter the space from Oudekerksplein. Our back door gives direct access to the church’s main hall. We are happy to share our studio space with strategy consultant and business developer Roel van Herpt and graphic designer Maarten Kanters.

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By Michiel — Posted April 3, 2015 — 158 Comments

Documenting six years of underground culture

photo 3

Situated on the Wibautstraat in the east of Amsterdam, Trouw was a nightclub, music venue, cultural space and restaurant housed in the former newspaper printing facility of several national newspapers. Trouw combined food, music and the arts, and was the first nightclub to receive the 24-hour permit from the city of Amsterdam. After six years of experimenting and over time slowly establishing itself as one of the top nightlife and cultural venues in the city and beyond, Trouw closed its doors on 3 January 2015.

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By Michiel — Posted January 4, 2015 — 469 Comments

Opinion piece on Domus website

Domus August 27

Read the whole article on the Domus website


By Michiel — Posted September 15, 2014 — 680 Comments

Opinion article in NRC newspaper

In an opinion article in Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, Michiel van Iersel responds to recent articles by Melle Daamen, the director of the Stadsschouwburg theatre in Amsterdam and member of the Council for Culture. Daamen criticises the cultural sector in the Netherlands for its inability to adapt to changes in society and to the funding cuts. In his reaction, Michiel argues that Daamen is overlooking and even excluding a new generation of artists and cultural producer who are constantly re-inventing the arts. Instead he should try to understand their motivations and actions.

The image below shows the original article (in Dutch). Screenshot via Blende.

NRC 2 september


By Michiel — Posted September 15, 2014 — 308 Comments

Included in new book ‘Reactivate!’

Reactivate! Innovators of Dutch Architecture

Although we’re non-architects, Non-fiction is included in the new book ‘Reactivate! Innovators of Dutch Architecture’, written by Indira van ‘t Klooster and published by Trancity*Valiz, together with a.o. DUS ArchitectsFABRICPowerhouse Company, Space&matter, Superuse Studios and ZUS Architects.

Find more information here.

We’re featured in the chapter that deals with ‘performative urbanism’ and our FloriadeRadar-app, showing local interaction on social media on a map, has been highlighted.

Bureau Europa in the city of Maastricht is devoting an exhibition to the book. In addition to the offices mentioned in the book, the exhibition will include several other offices, including Rietveld Landscape and XML Architecture Research UrbanismThe opening of this exhibition/manifestation will take place on June 8 between 17 – 19 hours at  Bureau Europa, Timmerfabriek, Boschstraat 9, Maastricht.  

Reactivate! portrait

By Michiel — Posted May 30, 2013 — 6,607 Comments

16 november: The Future Studio-symposium

On the role of the studio : past, present and future

Friday 16 November, 10:00 – 17:00, De Hallen Haarlem

De Hallen Haarlem and the Kees Verwey Foundation proudly present the symposium ‘The Future Studio’, in which the artist’s studio will be discussed from various angles and from both an historical perspective and with an eye on the future. With contributions by theorists, artists and other art professionals who will present their views on contemporary studio practices, the symposium aims to generate new perspectives on the future of the studio in all its diversity.

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By Michiel — Posted November 5, 2012 — 2,055 Comments