Social safety within the AHK: our reaction following the Pointer broadcast

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On Sunday, 1 October, the television programme Pointer focused on cases of inappropriate conduct in the past by teachers of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA). Even though we're aware of the cases, it remains deeply distressing to hear about the experiences of our former students. This should not have happened and it is completely unacceptable. We deeply value and admire the courage of the former students who returned to us a year and a half ago to share their experiences. It is also good that they shared their story with Pointer to draw attention to this issue.

The CvA has cooperated on this episode of Pointer because we want to be transparent about past incidents and aim to contribute to the awareness surrounding social safety. 

We think it is important to emphasize that within the AHK, no undesirable behaviour should go unspoken or unchallenged. Socially unsafe situations, transgressive behaviour, abuse and intimidation are unacceptable. It doesn't fit who we want to be, how we want to teach and collaborate; our university of the arts must be a safe environment for everyone.

We are aware of the responsibility to create and maintain this environment. It is necessary to have our structures (such as regulations, codes of conduct, complaints procedures and committees, confidential advisors) in place and visible. But more importantly, attention to social safety must remain inextricably embedded in the culture of our university. That is why we continuously discuss social safety with lecturers and other staff members, for instance in (didactic) training courses, performance interviews and theme meetings. This is an ongoing process. We aim to educate and equip students with the skills to establish boundaries in their professional lives, enabling them to practice their craft without fearing any form of overstepping or inappropriate behaviour.

Last year, we decided to launch an independent survey at all AHK academies on perceived social safety. This survey is now being conducted. The results of this survey will provide us with tools to ensure a better safe and open culture within our university of the arts.

We are deeply concerned that there have been situations where boundaries were crossed. We invite former students and former staff members who have experienced inappropriate conduct or an unsafe situation at the AHK and wish to discuss it, to share their experiences with us. If you would like to make use of this, please let us know via, and we will get in touch promptly. Of course, every report will be treated carefully and confidentially.

On behalf of the Amsterdam University of the Arts
Annet Lekkerkerker en David van Traa, Executive Board

On behalf of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam
Okke Westdorp, director

More information

Read more about sociale safety within the AHK