CCAN Classy Salon #1: CCAN's Launch event with Dr. Mick Mattys

The Class-Conscious Academics Network launch event took place on February 10th, 2022. Despite having to take place online, over 40 people attended the event! We received many responses from people about how much they recognised themselves in the stories of others, felt that their own experiences were acknowledged for the first time, became aware that their seemingly personal struggles were actually systemic and shared by many others, and already felt more at home at the university by being in this event where people can openly share these experiences.

The event was opened by the founder of the network, Dr. Jeroen Rijnders (lecturer Moral Philosophy, UU), who briefly introduced the network, its origin, members, and aims. Then, Dr. Mick Matthys (former associate professor and director Management and Communication Studies, UU) held a lecture on the history and key factors of first-generation, working-class, and migrant background students in the Netherlands, based on his new book ‘Rennen in de Buitenbocht: Sociale stijgers uit het (gast)arbeidersmilieu aan het woord over studie, loopbaan en identiteit’ (2021).



After a short break, Dr. Karthine Thiele (associate professor Gender Studies and Critical Theory, Media and Culture Studies, UU), Nina Köll (assistant professor Media Studies, co-founder Diversity Committee, University College Utrecht), Myrte Spaargaren (student BA Liberal Arts & Sciences and BA Philosophy, UU, student member Humanities Faculty Council), and Dr. Mick Matthys discussed their personal experiences as first-generation and working-class students and academics in relation to a ‘homecoming to a new home’ together with feelings of ‘disbelonging’ at university in a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Martin Blaakman (lecturer Political Philosophy, UU).

We wish to thank all the speakers and participants again for creating an environment together where everyone could openly share very personal experiences, support each other, as well critically reflect together.

ScienceGuide has written an excellent article about our launch event! It is wonderful to see class in academia being discussed on such a public platform. Have a look if you want to get more of a sense of the event.

If you want to (re-)watch the event, check out the video below! And follow this link to take a look at Dr. Mick Matthys' PowerPoint presentation.