KABK Board of Governors adopts Bezemer & Schubad conclusions and recommendations in full

"Tough report translated into an action plan for a safer and more transparent culture".
Harro Knijff, Chairman Board of Governors

The Hague, 23 March 2021 - The Board of Governors of the University of the Arts The Hague today published its findings following the independent external cultural research conducted by research agency Bezemer & Schubad (B&S) at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK). The Supervisory Board will adopt all conclusions and recommendations in full and, in consultation with the Participation Council, is expected to appoint an interim director for the implementation of the recommendations shortly.

On 2 November last year, the Board of Governors commissioned B&S to conduct an investigation into the current procedures and internal culture surrounding social safety within the KABK. Within that framework, the researchers received input from 168 people from all parts of the academy and beyond. The report reveals a wide range of issues surrounding internal culture and social behaviour. At the same time, the researchers note that no basis for strong Me Too accusations can be found in concrete facts.

"On behalf of the full Board of Governors, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the research," says chairman Harro Knijff. "It shows an enormous involvement of everyone and gives a comprehensive overview. The conclusions are firm and indicate that there is a lot going on in the area of internal culture and social behaviour. We feel responsible for this. We very much regret that signals have been missed and that there are feelings of social insecurity. We therefore take the recommendations very seriously and want to start working on them as soon as possible. Transgressive behaviour - in any form whatsoever - is unacceptable."

Now that the current director Marieke Schoenmakers is leaving, the Board of Governors is expected to announce an interim director shortly. He or she will be tasked with drawing up an action plan together with all sections of the academy and implementing concrete improvements for staff and students. In the meantime, Henk van der Meulen will take over the director's duties. He is director of the Royal Conservatoire and also vice-chairman of the Board of Directors.

Harro Knijff continues: "In recent years there has been a strong focus on the professionalism and quality of the organisation. Something we can be proud of given the national and international reputation of the academy and the positive external evaluations. However, the report clearly shows that too little attention has been paid to the social and emotional well-being of both staff and students. This also applies to the development of the culture within the academy. That culture still appears to be less transparent and open than it should be. The research has unequivocally shown that there is dissatisfaction within the KABK. Together with the whole KABK community we are going to change that. We trust that everyone within the KABK will make a positive contribution to realise the necessary cultural change together."