It was only a month ago that our friends and colleagues announced their temporary withdrawal from the professional enterprise, installed an ‘out of office’ reply, recommended summer reading lists on Facebook, posted evidence of their travels or confessed how much they enjoyed an existence without aim or ambition…
Usually, summer creates a healthy ‘hole’ between two seasons, allowing us to recharge our batteries and take a little distance from our habitual modes of operation. But this year, the need to be involved never seemed to stop; throughout the month of August, critical articles on the main Dutch/Belgium publishing platforms created heated debates, already setting the agenda for urgent issues in 2017-18: the socio-political relevance of theatre (Bregje Maatman in Theaterkrant), the solidary ethics of a new generation (Anoek Nuyens in rekto:verso) and the acknowledgement of blind spots and white privileges (Tunde Adefioye in rekto:verso).
For us who work at DAS Graduate School, it is a constant challenge to position the academy within current developments and at the same time ensure that we offer a learning environment for individuals with very various questions and needs. More than ever, we are aware that education, with its ‘slow motion’ and values outside of the market economy, has the responsibility to be responsive and provide space for experimentation and risk, for critical thinking and resistance, for imagining things otherwise. But does this already “politicize education for contemporary, neoliberal, postcolonial and globalized migration societies”, as Nora Sternfeld says?
Let’s be modest: DAS Graduate School might not yet be, or even aspire to be, a a fully politicized institution, but we are blessed with a place that allows us to exercise hospitality. We are determined to expand the school’s possibilities for research and education, and consciously operate in the midst of an intercontinental community that confronts us with an exciting diversity of perspectives and desires. So what more can we wish for the new season than that we have the confidence to continue our joint efforts under one roof and that you have the curiosity to visit, witness or even participate?
Like any other art institution, we obviously couldn’t restrain ourselves from starting at full speed. This week we are welcoming two new groups of first-year students for DAS Theatre and DAS Choreography; we are in the process of developing a third Master’s programme, called DAS Creative Producing, with artistic director Gwenoële Trapman (and a preliminary module running from September to December); we expect a new call for the Local School research group and for our Third Cycle programme, Third!; we are offering our first public events within and outside of the school as parts of the DAS Choreography seminar, the Flemish and Dutch theatre festival, and the Veem 100-day House for Performance (please check the agenda for details); and last but not least, we are proud to acknowledge that DAS Graduate School has become the home of a marvellous crowd of students and researchers.
Welcome Thais di Marco, Ruairí O'Donovan, Su-Mi Jang, and Benjamin Kamino, Brogan Davison, Rodrigo Batista, Billy Mullaney, Ira Brand, Ingrid Vranken, Samara Hersch, Max Gadow, Ana Vilela da Costa, Tobias Kokkelmans, Nienke Scholts, Emke Idema, Andrea Bozic, Rose Akras, Anne Rooschütz, Thomas Spijkerman and Liesbeth Koot. Suzanne Tunca, Edith Kaldor, Julien Bruneau, Emilie Gallier, Alice Chauchat, David Weber-Krebs and Agnese Cornelio. In the end, it is you who make DAS Graduate School happen. We are delighted to share our space with you, and to collectively welcome our peers, colleagues and audiences. Let the season begin!
by Marijke Hoogenboom, also on behalf of Barbara Van Lindt, Gwenoële Trapman and Jeroen Fabius, DAS Graduate School