Currently, I am an Associate Professor and Head of Research of the department of Public Law & Governance (Tilburg Law School).

I studied Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. After that, I worked as a consultant for Cap Gemini from (1999-2002). Then, Erasmus University Rotterdam hired me to study governance culture (PhD). In January 2008 I moved to Tilburg University. In 2012, I was one of the organizers of the 7th conference for Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA, 300+ participants). I also acted as the research coordinator and later as a member of the management team my department (2014-2019).    

Over the last years, I have been a project leader on various projects, including an international research project on smart urban intermediaries and on civil servants work practices. 


My research focuses on the work practices employed in the governance of public challenges. I have studied the practices of civil servants, police officers and intermediaries (we have also called them exemplary practitioners and best persons). In addition, I have studied storytelling in local government and at the police. Furthermore, I specialize in interpretive analyses, narrative and frame analysis in particular, and in ethnographic fieldwork. I have published about my research and about methods in a broad range of journals across the social sciences, including Public Administration Review; The American Review of Public Administration; Organization Studies;  Organization;The British Journal of CriminologyLocal Government StudiesPlanning Theory; and Media, Culture & Society


In the Public Administration Bachelor I teach a course in Organization Science. The rest of my teaching focuses on doing (qualitative) research. I teach a beginner’s course in Qualitative methods for the Public Administration bachelor students and an advanced course in qualitative analyses for the join Research Master in Public Administration and Organisational Science. I am also co-teaching a course on conducting research for the Netherlands Institute of Governance (PhD candidates from political science and public administration). Finally, I am involved in methods courses for PhD candidates at the Tilburg Law School.  



Between 2017 and 2020 we studied the work of smart urban intermediaries (SmartUrbI project) in urban neighborhoods in four European cities: Glasgow, Birmingham, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. This project was funded through Urban Europe. It was a collaboration between four universities and the Danish Town Planning Institute. In addition, we worked with eighteen partner organizations. Our report can be found here. In 2020 we also conducted project on the way intermediaries make their work sustainable in five Dutch cities for NWO. A report in Ducth can be found here. This research is embedded in TiREG at the Tilburg Law School. In 2019 we finished a collaborative project with the AenO Fonds Gemeenten, The ministry of Internal Affairs, International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and six municipalities. The report can be found here


Smart urban intermediaries project:  


Top publications

  1. From Policy “Frames” to “Framing” - Theorizing a More Dynamic, Politi…

    van Hulst, M. J., & Yanow, D. (2016). From Policy “Frames” to “Framing”: Theorizing a More Dynamic, Political Approach. The American Review of Public Administration, 46(1), 92–112.
  2. Storytelling, a model of and a model for planning

    van Hulst, M. J. (2012). Storytelling, a model of and a model for planning. Planning Theory, 11(3), 299-318.
  3. From what to where - A setting-sensitive approach to organizational s…

    van Hulst, M., & Ybema, S. (2020). From what to where: A setting-sensitive approach to organizational storytelling. Organization Studies, 41(3), 365– 391.
  4. How do frontline civil servants engage the public? - Practices, embed…

    Blijleven, W., & van Hulst, M. (2021). How do frontline civil servants engage the public? Practices, embedded agency, and bricolage. American Review of Public Administration, 51(4), 278-292. [0275074020983805].
  5. Understanding extended narrative sensemaking - How police officers ac…

    van Hulst, M. (2021). Understanding extended narrative sensemaking: How police officers accomplish story work. Organization, 1-24.

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