Executive Board president Bert Verveld receives royal honour at AHK farewell ceremony

Bert Verveld receives the royal honour from deputy mayor Touria Meliani | Photo: Jonathan Andrew

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Bert Verveld received a royal honour at his farewell ceremony as president of the Executive Board of the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK) on Thursday 23 February. He was appointed Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau and received the honour from deputy mayor Touria Meliani. Bert Verveld was honoured for his unwavering commitment to providing opportunities for young people in society, strengthening the position of women in higher education and his pioneering role in promoting the further professionalisation of practice-oriented research in higher (art) education.

The departure of Bert Verveld brings an end to a period of eight years during which he was the figurehead of the AHK. With this, he also draws the curtain on an extensive career of over 40 years in higher education, in which he worked, among other things, as General Director of the University of Groningen for many years and held prominent positions in national and international networks in higher education. During the official farewell ceremony, he was praised by the speakers as a unifier, a driving force and an approachable executive officer, who managed to realise the ambitions of organisations with vision on the future and an eye for people.

The farewell programme began with a symposium ‘Doorwerken’ (Continuing to work), which focused on the knock-on effect (impact, transformative power) of practice-oriented (artistic) research. This was one of Bert Verveld’s key objectives during his period as president of the AHK Executive Board. In this symposium, the research groups of the AHK presented examples of what it means to have a knock-on effect in their research into social issues. Their presentations were preceded by a keynote speech from Omar Ferwati from the London-based socially-engaged research collective Forensic Architecture.

Even though Bert Verveld’s active executive career has come to an end, he will not sit idle after his farewell. The title of the symposium can therefore be interpreted – with a nod and a wink – in two ways.