Art and Science in Amsterdam
The Opening of the Academic Year of the Faculty of Humanities
The collaboration between Art and Science was the central theme of this year’s opening of the academic year of the Faculty of Humanities.
Prior to the opening, outgoing Dean Prof. Frank van Vree handed the Deanship over to his successor, Prof. Fred Weerman.
In his farewell address, departing Faculty dean Frank van Vree reflected on the course charted by the Faculty under his leadership. He discussed three key observations that, in his view, could and should determine the Faculty’s agenda for the coming years.
The first of these was summarized by the timeless slogan, ‘quality over quantity’. According to Van Vree, it is of utmost importance that we critically reflect and thoroughly discuss the implications of quality over quantity in order to solidify the foundation of future education and research policy. Building on this base, teamwork will become, if it does not do so already, the central pillar of future developments in education and research. On this point, Van Vree called on all lecturers and researchers to work together to exchange their many differing qualities to the benefit of their respective fields of expertise. In order for this to succeed, Van Vree proposed a final concern in need of critical reflection, autonomy. Autonomy, according to Van Vree, in the context of the “management of research by national and international governments and companies,” and in the need to push back against “the tide of excessive and overreaching regulations and control that currently pervade education.”
The theme of this year’s opening was the collaboration between art and science. Inaugurated in April of 2016, the newly formed Amsterdam Institute of Arts and Sciences is a unique partnership that intrinsically embodies this ethos and brings Amsterdam’s leading education and research institutes, the VU, HvA, AHK, Gerrit Rietveld Academie and UvA together under one roof.
In his introduction, Faculty Research Director Prof. Thomas Vaessens spoke of the historical ties between the city’s institutes of higher education in the field of the fine arts, a tradition that will now be embraced and advanced by ARIASnl with the ultimate aim of playing a leading role in the promotion, exchange and strengthening of (scientific) research in the field of the arts.
Vaessens: "By working closely with our neighboring higher education institutions, museums and heritage institutes, I see ARIASnl as part of our commitment to anchor the Faculty’s research and teaching firmly into the city of Amsterdam.”
Vaessens’ introduction was followed by a series of talks by researchers of the various partnering institutions. Dr. Jeroen Boomgaard of the Master’s programme Artistic Research - a collaboration between the UvA and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie - spoke of scientific research in the arts, while his colleague Patricia Pisters from the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and recent PhD graduate Paula Albuquerque reflected on the challenges and opportunities of pursuing a doctorate in the arts. The evening’s talks were concluded by Michiel Schuijer, a lecturer at the Convervatorium van Amsterdam, and South African jazz musician and Conservatorium student Vuma Ian Levin, who respectively discussed research in the field of music.