Launch: Creative Humanities Academy

Contribution by Jente Hoogeveen MA

Creative Humanities Academy

Despite all the tense shoulders, stiff necks and square eyes, there are also advantages to online university life. Free reading tips in the background, nice prints on the wall and, not to forget, pets. Today I talk to, in total: three cats, one dog, Prof. Nanna Verhoeff and Prof. Iris van der Tuin. Together we form the core team of the Creative Humanities Academy (CHA). A new platform and network within the Faculty of Humanities that stimulates and facilitates collaboration between researchers and creators.

To the public

"The idea arose from the faculty's request to develop projects for Education for Professionals," founders Verhoeff and van der Tuin explain. "The faculty receives many questions from the cultural sector about workshops, lectures and reading lists, as well as requests for long-term guidance within artistic projects and consultancy for secondary education. These questions regularly disappear somewhere within our organisation, or the same people pick up these questions over and over. We wanted to make this more visible, streamline and also develop."

Verhoeff and Van der Tuin decided to adapt the current public model: "On the one hand, people can still come to us for an occasional lecture or for contract education, but we also bring the university to the public. This allows us to develop projects and trajectories in direct response for questions for which no format exists yet. This broadens and enriches what we offer, but is also very valuable for our own work. We benefit from an open and inspiring relationship with the field we are researching."

Do you have an innovative idea? Would you like to try out new forms of working? Join CHA

Prof. Nanna Verhoeff en Prof. Iris van der Tuin

The CHA Community

Of course, Verhoeff and Van der Tuin are not developing these new formats alone. The launch of CHA is a celebration for the core team, but above all an invitation for colleagues to come and collaborate with and within the Academy.

Verhoeff: "Within CHA's Labs, as a researcher or lecturer, you can develop new working formats, concepts or methods with students, peers as well as professionals in the cultural field. CHA offers the creative space for collaboration, debate and experimentation. Hereby the invitation: do you have an innovative idea? Would you like to try out new forms of working? Do you have a specific target group with whom you want to collaborate, but are unable to find them? Join CHA."

For simpler forms such as a lecture, the Academy looks for the right person for the right question.

Van der Tuin: "To the outside world, the university is a complex organisation. The questions you receive often depend on the department in which you work. Since I switched from MCS to P&R, I have received specific philosophy questions, but that doesn't mean that this is my only expertise. It requires an insider's perspective to link a question to the right person. CHA offers a point of contact for the cultural sector and it also gives us the opportunity to expand our own network".

Leadership in Cultural Artistic

One of the first collaborations of CHA is a new (Dutch) learning programme together with the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG): Leadership in Cultural Artistic (LinC A).

Van der Tuin: "After LinC for Business there was a need within USG for a programme more focused on artistic leaders and creators. Because CHA is part of Education for Professionals, we are highly visible to other faculties and that is how Drs Paul Adriaanse and Drs Marjolein Verhallen came into contact with us. From February 2021, a fantastic in-depth programme on creative design, critical concept development and leadership is on the agenda."

The establishment of the CHA is a good example of how universities want to generate impact from their core scientific tasks. This is exactly what we are going to do in LinC A: a programme for artistic leaders in the cultural field in which we share knowledge and develop new insights together.

With the curriculum the team hopes to bring alumni, many of whom end up in the arts and culture sector, back to university, but also to appeal to a new audience. And that applies to the entire Academy.

Verhoeff: "CHA is intended for colleagues within our entire faculty, our current students and alumni, and we aim for a network throughout the entire cultural sector: from larger institutions such as museums and theatres, to more bottom-up initiatives and independent makers."

Start in corona times?

Verhoeff: "It is indeed a special time to start. But the cultural sector is always on the move. It is precisely now that we can learn a lot from the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves. This time perhaps explicitly requires new ways of thinking and working. And to develop the resilience of both culture makers and academic researchers. This period shows that the university and the cultural sector are closer together than we sometimes think. We all share this time. No one is above it or outside it."