Impression of the Day of the Teacher-Researcher 2024

The AHK Research Centre organises the Day of the Teacher-Researcher every year. This day is open to all researchers within the Amsterdam University of the Arts (AHK), regardless of which phase their research is in or their level of education. The theme this year was ‘Learning Together Across Difference’, with Professional Doctorate candidate S†ëfan Schäfer as curator.

Read the comprehensive programme here.

Lunch and introduction

We began the Day of the Teacher-Researcher 2024 with a joint lunch in the IDlab. Stella Blom, head of the AHK Research Centre, then welcomed everyone, after which the project leader of the day Maartje Hermsen talked about how research is organised at the AHK and how the Research Centre supports this. Curator S†ëfan Schäfer gave a short introduction on the theme ‘Learning Together Across Difference’ and the layout of the room. The professors Rosa te Velde and Laura Cull subsequently invited us to find our place in the room and enter into conversation with each other through questions like ‘Where do you feel at home?’ and ‘What is an important source of knowledge for you?’.


Six inspiring presentations

The programme itself was divided into three parts, each with two presentations. This structure resulted in a varied range of presentations, which was a good reflection of the wide variety of research conducted at the AHK. 

In the first part, which focused on ‘zooming in and zooming out in relation to body and discipline’, teacher-researcher Rose A. Akras gave a presentation about her research 'Mapping Movement Research Classes based on Somatic Movement'. She has developed a visual mapping method to map out her lessons and embodied experience with students at the AHK and to make the anatomy of movement clear. She subsequently enabled us to experience that bones have a clear shape but are not hard, cold, or immovable parts of the body. In contrast, it is living tissue that also contains liquid and soft elements. Additionally, muscles are encased by fascia, a connective tissue containing a gel-like textured 'ground substance'. This enables the tissues to smoothly glide along with each other.   

After that, Amit Gur presented his PhD research ‘Form and Material in Visual and Auditory Perceptions’, supported by a lecture, visual presentation and musical excerpts. In this interdisciplinary research, he creates auditory analogies for the visual phenomena of form and structure. In his presentation, he showed and let us hear how we can understand form based on its outlines and structure based instead on boundlessness. To enable us to understand that you can also compose on the basis of structure instead of form, he first demonstrated the difference with the aid of images before allowing us to hear the difference. 

The second part dealt with ‘Transmission of and learning in a transcultural and interspecies context’.
Rafael Reina Camara presented his research and the broader international research project 'Transcultural Transmission of Musical Knowledge’, supported by musical excerpts. In this presentation, he showed how learning from and with different cultures can contribute to the creation and performance of new music, for example within the Carnatic music tradition from South India.

After that, Marit van Dijk gave us a glimpse into her research project 'Thinking with Birds', in which she is researching the (changing) rhythms and habits of four species of birds in Amsterdam: the rose-ringed parakeet, the rooster, the grey heron and the mallard. She is researching this with varying groups of participants in workshops in the city. Today, she enabled us to experience a bird’s perspective with the aid of bird periscopes.

The last part delved deeper into the theme ‘artistic practices and/or activism in relation to education’. Nathalie Roos presented her individual doctoral programme 'To Throw Oneself into the Fray', which occupies a place at the intersection of artistic activism, social and political participation, arts and civic education, and empirical research. She also shared the results of her current research into the arts and civic project 'Dealing with the Real Stuff’, in which pupils from a secondary school in Amsterdam examined activist art and engaged in artistic activism.  

This part was brought to a close by Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos, also known as Taka, who will be starting his Professional Doctorate at the AHK in May. The central question of his research project is: How can ‘drag mothering’, with its different practices, constitute a form of pedagogy for promoting more empathic, social and creative relationships in the context of subcultures and arts academies? He did various exercises with us, including a drawing exercise, in order to think more freely about self-expression and how we can guide students therein.

Impressions of visitors

Fifty people took part in this edition of the Day of the Teacher-Researcher. Over the course of the day, a number of them shared their impressions of the day and their motivation for participating.

Hans Nieuwenhuijsen, teacher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA): ‘It was a really good day. I saw many different things and spoke to many different people. I think that it’s now a lot clearer which options there are for conducting research at the AHK, and that was the reason I came here.


Nancy van Asseldonk, teacher at the Reinwardt Academy: ‘I am engaged in research myself within the education sector and curious about what colleagues are working on, but I’m particularly interested in making the connection between research and students. At present, I often use photography for this.’


Rose A. Akras, teacher-researcher at the Academy of Theatre and Dance: ‘I found the similarities and the parallels between the presentations very interesting; they really gave me some new ideas.’


Marieke Veldema, Service Burau (SB) project communications adviser: ‘Research is an important arm of the AHK, which I need to remain informed about as an employee of the SB’s Communications department. After seeing the reports and aftermovie from last year, I felt like I had really missed out on something, and I wanted to be there today, come what may. I would also advise my colleagues who are not directly involved in research, but who are, for example, involved with interdisciplinarity, to take part in this in the future.’


Stella Blom, head of the AHK Research Centre: ‘I am extremely happy about the level of enthusiasm the participants/attendees brought to the event, and with the meticulous organisation and variation of the day, as well as the unexpected encounters. Those are things that I want to carry over to the next edition of the Day of the Teacher-Researcher.’


Tanja Vranic, subsidy adviser at the Research Centre: ‘It was really great and interesting to hear that the participants here are curious about how research is organised at the AHK and how they can link up with colleagues. This is precisely what we want; that there is greater awareness about what the Research Centre and the research groups do, because there is so much happening and it is still barely visible.’


Vivianne Rodrigues de Brito, teacher-researcher at the Academy of Theatre and Dance: ‘I’m here because I’m going to be conducting research myself for the first time and am curious about how colleagues tackle that.’ 


David Keuning, Policy Adviser Research and Education at the Academy of Architecture and Policy Adviser at the Research Centre: 'First of all, I find it extremely enjoyable to see what kind of research is taking place at the AHK in general. I found many stories interesting, such as Amit Gur’s story and the architectural aspect in his presentation, or Nathalie Roos’ story, in which she described how secondary school pupils perceive the lessons they receive.’


Amit Gur, teacher-researcher at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA): ‘For me, the day was about passion. I thought it was an inspiring day, due to the encounters with people who follow their passion for research in all its forms.'


S†ëfan Schäfer, curator of the programme and Professional Doctorate candidate at the Academy of Theatre and Dance: ‘I didn’t know what to expect, but it exceeded my expectations in any case. Inspiring to see what other people are occupied with, how different they are and how they work in a different way.'


Kelly de Wildt, research communications adviser: ‘I started working this week as research communications adviser, partly for the Research Centre (RC), so it’s really nice for me to experience an event organised by the RC straight away and to see the connection. I thought the Day of the Teacher-Researcher was a surprising, inspiring and interactive day packed with new insights and the perfect balance of diverse presentations and research projects.'


Double interview with Gina Sanches and Annebel Huijboom

Annebel, teacher-researcher at the Reinwardt Academy:  ‘The invitation via the research group made me curious, given that I am also engaged in research, in my case into a medical topic in the field of heritage, namely breastfeeding in day-to-day practice. The AHK is known for arts and performance, but heritage occupies a less prominent place therein perhaps and I think it’s interesting to see where we stand in that regard.’

Gina, teacher at the Breitner Academy and researcher in the Arts Education research group: ‘I didn’t know that about you; I’ve learned something new! I also heard about this through the research group, and because I started a research project about arts education in January, which also addresses whether you can see education as an art form, I was triggered by the description about the movement and the interactive exercises in the programme. I also hope that I can use some of this in my own research, such as how you collect data.’

Annebel: ‘The latter also applies to me; that you are not so much going to exchange anything substantive today, but rather exchange experiences about how you deal with it all.’