Michel Hormes about his activistic graduation project for the Master of Education in Arts

Photo: Tessa Posthuma de Boer

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Michel Hormes, alumnus Master of Education in Arts: “Before I started my Master of Education in Arts, I primarily made my lessons intuitively. I had certain lesson objectives, of course, but I was less occupied with an underlying basis of social objectives. As a result of the Master, you also start reflecting more: what do you want to strive for? What do you think is truly important? That’s how Marloes Lambriex and I came up with our graduation project: It’s a small world after all.”

It’s a small world after all
“The project is aimed at the upper years of primary education and consists of three parts. Firstly, a preparatory lesson in which children indicate themselves which environmental issues they find important, and think about how they can present that in an experience. On the project day, they create that experience together with two artists, after which the children’s’ parents go through it. To conclude, each family chooses a sustainability challenge that they will do at home for two weeks.”

“Our project is somewhat activistic. All those soft ways to persuade people to behave in a more environmentally-friendly manner don’t seem to really work; a slightly firmer approach wouldn’t be a bad idea. We need to do something about the Earth. The world is becoming smaller and smaller. You notice that a problem there creates a very big problem here, and vice versa. It is very strange that environmental issues were already discussed hundreds of years ago and that not enough has been done about that yet. It is important that everyone, both young and old, becomes more aware of the fact that we only have this Earth, and that we need to look after it. Better to not go on holiday, better to eat less meat. I think that awareness, and especially a love of nature, are an important basis. And that arts education and nature education can really come together, much more than is now the case.”

“It’s possible to broach certain subjects via art in a deeper, but also more light-hearted, way than with a news report for example. One of those subjects is sustainability. People may also be tired of talking about it, or find it uncomfortable to think about it, because they have the feeling that they can do so little about it. You can become a bit desensitised to certain subjects, and with art you make that more tangible and concrete. That is the necessity of art: that you continue questioning and examining the world. And that you continue to be amazed, continue to see the beautiful things too.”

Humans of the Arts
There are approximately 3,000 students and 900 employees at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Everyone has his or her own story. Those stories, whether they are connected with study/work or not, are the main focus in Humans of the Arts. Interview by Koen Caris.