Out There, Right Now

WdKA for Everyone

Willem de Kooning Academy
Fri 5 Jun

In view of our understanding of societal and institutional racism and inequity, we want to share with you our perspective and our points of departure for an inclusive and equitable educational culture.

Who We Are:

Since re-inventing the curriculum to meet our ambitions, we are growing in our understanding that our community and the communities we serve are diverse in ways we have not yet successfully incorporated in our learning environment.
The WdKA is committed to creating an inclusive educational culture that aims to educate students to become new generations of artists and designers that shape an equitable and sustainable future through their capacity of creating collaborative transformative practices.

At the moment we have not met this ambition yet.

Earlier We Worked on:

  • from 2013 ongoing: Lectorate of Cultural Diversity
  • 2017: WdKA Makes a Difference, Research among others into the practices of admission processes
  • 2018: ‘Een Plek Aan De Tafel’ (A place at the table) a film about student experience with regard to diversity issues
  • 2018: Hiring Policy has been oriented towards a more diverse faculty: ‘We warmly welcome applicants from underrepresented minorities or non-conforming communities’
  • 2018-2019: Start of decolonisation of the Social Practices curriculum
  • 2019-2020: Curriculum Committee starts work on making the curriculum more inclusive
  • 2019: ‘There’s No Going Back’, A conference on activating strategies for ethical relational change within Fine Art Curricula
  • 2019: Sylvia Erlings is financed by HR’s ‘Werkplaats Inclisuvieve Pedagogie en Didactiek’ to do action-research within the Institute
  • 2020: Start of PhD Research ‘Not Getting It: a Study of Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Art and Design Education in the Netherlands’, by Teana Boston-Mammah, co-funded by WdKA and HR
  • 2020: Start of PhD Research ‘Raw Solidarity — embodied ways of undoing white-cisgender-heteronormative-patriarchy’, by Mariana D'Aboim Inglez Amaral Fernandes

The WdKA is aware that it needs to continue on this path and do more. Our curriculum needs to better reflect different ways of viewing and understanding the world, developing the critical frameworks for the difference of cultural- or socio-economic background, or for example difference of age, gender presentation or sexual orientation.

Diversity is also the leading factor in the development of our teaching teams. Our students benefit from the input of a diverse group of teachers that represent different perspectives.

More inclusive pedagogy is also an integral part of the ambition to be an academy that welcomes all who want to carve their unique way of being an artist, designer or educator. We are committed to continue on this path and do more.

Who We Want to Be:

We want to be an academy that is a safe, challenging and inspiring environment for all, we need to continue to build a better WdKA. One where everyone has space for their authentic self, no matter their background, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender presentation, age or beliefs.

We will critically review the different aspects of our curriculum and approaches. And we want to continue to empower our students to speak out where they see opportunities to educate others in ways that improve or critically engage with the curriculum. We all share responsibility for creating an inclusive education.

We want to make true on the promise of a truly diverse and inclusive WdKA. We understand that it is a journey that is not particularly easy, we are willing to seek out the discomfort to grow as humans and as a community. It will take time, and we need to do this together, we are going to need your help.

Black Lives Matter Piet Zwart Institute Solidarity Letter
Released on June 12, 2020

We see the world being potentially transformed by the massive popular resistance to racism and anti-black violence that has been prompted by recent displays of racist brutality. The master’s courses of the Piet Zwart Institute stand in support of movements for racial justice around the world and we hold ourselves accountable to address the urgent demands being issued through protests and community-led actions. We recognize that to stand in solidarity with this movement is to commit to doing the work of reflecting its aims of justice and equity within our educational and creative community. We must continue to support and empower diverse perspectives. We must deepen our commitment to making our resources more accessible to a local and an international student body. We must platform voices of resistance and amplify their work through our curricula and programming. And we will continue to engage in active and persistent dialogue and self-critique. We remain committed to manifesting the transformative change we hope to see in the world as educators, artists, and designers. Black Lives Matter.

Will you join us on this journey?

Do you want to express your thoughts or are you interested in participating in events, research and discussions? Please contact us through this email: wdka.communicatie@hr.nl.

Header image: Ossip van Duivenbode