Aminata Cairo and Rosa te Velde to form the Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts research group

The Executive Board of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK) has appointed Aminata Cairo as lector and Rosa te Velde as associate lector of the new Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts research group. This AHK-wide dual research group that will start on 1 August is being established by the Executive Board to accelerate research into social justice, inclusion and diversity in the arts. Social justice and diversity in the arts are topic that occupy a prominent place in arts education and in the professional field, and in the vision of the AHK they must also come to the fore more forcefully in research.

As dual lectors of the Social Justice and Diversity in the Arts, Aminata Cairo and Rosa te Velde will – together with teacher-researchers, students and knowledge network – initiate, develop and conduct practice-oriented research that contributes to the creation of an inclusive arts and culture sector, including art courses and arts education. Bert Verveld, chairman of the Executive Board, about their appointment: ‘Diversity and social justice are two of the most important themes in the current arts practice and will remain so in the coming years. This is an important key objective in the current and future strategic plan. More research in these fields is not only relevant to the arts field, but also to our study programmes that educate to that end.”

Annet Lekkerkerker, member of the Executive Board and Diversity & Inclusion portfolio holder, responds: “We are proud that with Aminata Cairo and Rosa te Velde we are recruiting two renowned researchers for whom thinking about, researching and creating social justice and inclusion in education and the arts is of the utmost importance. The research group will be an important driver of this theme, within our university and within the arts.”

About the lectors
Aminata Cairo currently works as an independent consultant and researcher in the field of diversity and inclusion, and in that capacity advises various higher education institutions and organisation in the Netherlands in the fields of inclusive leadership and inclusive education. She was previously, among other things, Lector Inclusive Education at the The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Diversity Officer at Leiden University, Associate Professor of the Anthropology Department at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and she was involved in numerous research projects in the fields of anthropology, diversity and creating inclusive and safe learning and working environments. She has a wide range of publications about diversity and inclusion to her name and is involved in various non-commercial foundations and organisations as an adviser and board member. In 2016, she was knighted in the Order of the Palm for her contribution to culture by the government of Suriname. In 2018, she was nominated for ‘Lector of the Year’.

Rosa te Velde is a freelance researcher, designer and lecturer. The Decolonial Summer School of Rolando Vàzquez and Walter Mignolo, in which she participated in 2016, was a determining factor for her work and thinking. She edited the book Vistas of Modernity: Decolonial Aesthesis and the End of the Contemporary (2020) by Vàzquez. Her book Schetsen voor de toekomst: herinneringen aan een gebouw (Sketches for the future: memories of a building) was recently published, an investigation into segregation, gentrification and ‘the politics of forgetting’ in Amsterdam Nieuw-West, which was commissioned by the Dutch arts centre de Appel. She initiated and coordinated Hear! Here!, an experimental listening and dialogue platform that strives to encourage a culture of dialogue for students and staff of the Gerrit Rietveld Acadmie and Sandberg Institute. She is currently conducting research into ‘design’ and ‘material culture’ as Research Associate at the Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (National Museum of World Cultures) and teaches at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague and ArtEZ in Arnhem.