Update on independent external research by Bezemer & Schubad

4 February 2021

Bezemer & Schubad

Update February 4th, 2021

Dear students and staff of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague,

Last week we closed our hotline and the interview cycle. The Bezemer & Schubad researchers spoke to about 100 people, including students, ex-students, tutors, ex-tutors, staff and management, as well as parents of students.

We are extremely grateful for the valuable information that has been provided to us, both orally and in writing. The enormous involvement with the KABK became clear from all our the conversations. And thus, we are greatly aware of the big responsibility in carefully analyzing and writing down all the information that we have obtained.

The team of researchers is now starting this reporting process, and they will still use the whole month of February for this. In late February, or early March, Bezemer & Schubad will report to the Board of Governors. Information such as a date and a method of publication will be communicated shortly after by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors will of course also take further decisions on the basis of the findings stated in the Bezemer & Schubad report.

In the coming weeks, Bezemer & Schubad will also have conversations with persons who were mentioned several times in interviews or information provided in writing. This to get their reaction to the images/stories that have been sketched about them in the interviews and writings that we have received. These conversations will take some time to conduct.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the study for all the efforts they made. Without your input it would have been impossible to find out what is going on within KABK and how steps for improvement can be taken. We thank you very much for this.

Team Bezemer & Schubad

Past updates

Update 16 December 2020

Dear students and staff of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague,

We would like to give you an update on the state of our research into the social safety culture at your Academy.

We received dozens of applications for interviews with our researchers, from students, alumni, teachers, staff and management. These interviews are currently ongoing.

We are grateful to see that people are willing to talk to the researchers and share their information. Thank you for the time already spent in providing written information and making time for an interview.

We have heard that some find it difficult to start a conversation individually. Would you rather speak in a group with a researcher from Bezemer & Schubad?
That is also possible: let us know via researchkabk@bezemerschubad.nl if you do. But please do this before Friday 15 January 2021. The interview rounds close on Friday 29 January, in order to have enough time to write and deliver our report in February.

If you are hesitant about reaching out for an interview, we would like to encourage you to do so regardless, the results of a research like this can lead to transformative changes in the institution.

We would like to stress that this research is into the social safety culture and is focused on both the past and the future. It encompasses all those elements, small or large, that by itself or together make up the values, ideas, customs and social behaviors within the KABK.

What would you consider to be the core cultural values of the KABK at this moment? Do they serve you well in your development or wellbeing? What examples can you provide us with to help us understand what impact certain ideas or behaviors (or lack thereof) have had on you until now?

If you were to change ideas or behaviors from anyone within the academy, which ones would you like to change? Why? Which ideas, customs or behaviors would you like to introduce?

We also hear and read on social media that there are concerns and questions about our working method. We definitely take this to heart, and we want to let you know that we read these messages and will be and remain careful in our approach. Please know that we consider ourselves accountable to all staff and students at the academy. Do you have any questions about this? Please also send this directly to us via researchkabk@bezemerschubad.nl

We hope that there will be even more responses via researchkabk@bezemerschubad.nl in the coming days and weeks.. All information is welcome.

As mentioned before: positive experiences with studying and working at KABK, but also worries or just negative experiences. Only with a complete picture of all this can we write a good report with clear recommendations for improvement. So please contact us!

We hope you enjoy your Winter break and wish you a warm and empathic 2021!

Bezemer & Schubad

Update 20 November 2020

Beginning external research on social safety and culture at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK)

To share your story or information with Bezemer & Schubad please write an e-mail to: researchkabk@bezemerschubad.nl

Please read the original letter from Bezemer & Schubad

The email below has been shared with KABK students and staff on Friday 13 November

Dear students, teachers and staff,

It has become clear from feedback during classes, via email, in conversations and via social media that there is a strong sense of social unsafeness within the KABK. This has been disconcerting to hear for all of us. We immediately decided to take action by setting up an external hotline, which you were informed about on Friday. But that is just a start. Signals were missed and we have to learn to listen better. An independent investigation is part of this.

What are we going to do?

Research company Bezemer & Schubad will conduct an independent external research into the internal culture with regard to social safety. This investigation is commissioned by the Board of Governors, the body that supervises the director of the KABK and expressly concerns all parts of our academy, without exceptions. The director is not involved in the design and implementation of the research. The aim is to get a better understanding of the current situation and the extent of the concerns and complaints as described in various shared stories of (former) students, and to make recommendations for structural improvement. There are no taboos.

How is the research set up?

First, the research intent, questions and methodology are developed and recorded. This is supervised by the Board of Governors with active input from the Council of Representatives (DMR), in which students, teachers and staff are represented. In addition, the DMR is asked to set up a working group with a delegation of students, teachers and staff. The working group ensures that a representative group is interviewed by Bezemer & Schubad.

As indicated earlier, the research process is aimed at complete transparency. The intent of the research will be shared in advance via the KABK website, as are the conclusions and recommendations arising from the research and the next steps that we will jointly take as an academy. The investigation will start next week and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2021.

Concrete actions

As social safety is our top priority, we are not going to wait for the results in order to take action. We are therefore already addressing the points below. We understand if this feels insufficient, but know that this is just the beginning of a long journey to change:

  1. Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. We will act on this firmer. We have already stressed this point with the department heads and teachers. We also need your help. If you experience inappropriate behaviour, please report this to the (external) confidential advisor immediately: contact Janny Kamp of expert bureau Bezemer & Schubad. You can reach her at vertrouwenspersonen@bezemer-schubad.nl or call 088-1440200.
  2. Improve student representation. A number of important suggestions have already been made by the DMR: strengthening the role of the class representatives, more deliberations with the department heads, direct contact with the Director of KABK (also informally) and a general policy of openness and transparency. We will keep everyone informed about this.
  3. Start the search for a Diversity Officer this year.
  4. The team of academic counsellors will be expanded to a total of 4 FTEs, the DMR has recently agreed to this.

What’s next?

Does it end here? No, certainly not, because we feel an enormous urge to implement improvements quickly. We will do even more in consultation with you and especially thanks to your input. We would like to take action to make the KABK a safer place, so that we can indeed live up to our starting point that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated.

More information about Bezemer & Schubad can be found on their website www.bezemer-schubad.nl and attached.

More information about the Board of Governors and the organisation structure of the University of the Arts, The Hague is published here: https://www.hogeschoolderkunsten.nl/en/organisation/overview

Marieke Schoenmakers