Monday 29 March 2021, 17.00 - 19.00*
Zoom link

The Bezemer & Schubad report makes it very clear that fundamental change is needed to improve the way things are done at KABK. This needs to happen in every aspect of the institution, from budgets and contracts to interpersonal relations and communication to the approach to education and research. An art academy should be a place that everyone feels safe to be in, so that they can focus on taking risks with their work. What if KABK was a haven in which staff, students, and tutors felt supported in their endeavours, and heard and seen when things needed to be adjusted or fixed?

Speaking of the need for adjustment and fixing, this message follows a series of discouraging online meetings (for staff and students) with the University of the Arts Board of Governors. They brought us talk of ‘chocolate letters’ but no transparency; an assurance that the B&S report ‘would not be put away in a drawer;’ but no plan for how it would be acted upon and rolled out; and an invitation to contribute our ‘bottom-up’ ideas and input (thanks!); but no means of contacting them or how we would be remunerated for such labour. Clearly this board is out of touch not only with the dominant contemporary concerns and debates in the arts and beyond (that a new director might not identify with a single gender for example), but also with day-to-day life experiences at KABK.

We are Alice Twemlow and Martha Jager and we represent the Design Lectorate and, to some extent, research throughout the KABK community. We love KABK—the ambiguous sculptures in the corridors, the graffiti in the bathrooms, the cheeky memes, the talent, the moodswings, the beige mushy lunches that we know are good for us.

We want to ensure that the next chapter for #ourkabk is bold and bright. Full of the experiments and failures, outcomes and processes, the guts and intuition as well as the strategy and research of art and design in all its multiple manifestations and non-manifestations. There is much work to be done to build a socially safe and non-precarious space in which everyone can be as feisty as we need to be. Research is not excluded from such work.

We believe the primary question right now, apart from how best to support the students in this turbulent time, is: What other models of governance/institutional care might be better suited to the particular situation of an academy of art and design and the KABK in particular?

The Research Club usually takes place (online at the moment) on the first Wednesday of each month. It is open to anyone in the KABK and Leiden University research community (tutors, heads, (research) staff, workshop supervisors and PhD candidates).

But at this moment of crisis, we would like to open the floor of our next Research Club to anyone who would like to voice ideas and concerns; to grieve, to celebrate. Whatever.

Won’t you join us?


Alice and Martha

Monday 29 March 2021, 17.00 - 19.00*
Zoom link

*To make room for all voices to be heard we will prolong this meeting with another hour in the case of many attendees.

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