October 12 | #MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve

Event information

  • Type: Theatre and dialogue
  • Date: October 12 (Friday) 2018
  • Time: 17:00 – 18:00 (doors close at 16.55)
  • Location: Erasmus Paviljoen Theatre (directions) Woudestein campus Rotterdam
  • Registration: Free. Spots are limited! Registration is recommended.
  • Contact: contact@egsh.eur.nl

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The Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) has invited The Actor Society (Het Acteursgenootschap) to re-enact cases of harassment in academia, all based on real life experiences at EUR and other universities. After the play, different academic stakeholders and the audience will discuss what you can do if you find yourself, your colleagues or members of your team in such situations.

Harassment in academia is of all times, but it has been made urgent by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement. Many of us think academia will provide a safe, sensible and intellectual environment in which #metoo behaviour is absent. Fortunately, it often is but evidently it sometimes isn’t. Through the play, the Graduate School seeks to create awareness of harassment in academia – which tends to impact young researchers or support staff in particular – while also exploring individual and institutional ways to address these issues and create a safe working environment.

About The Actor Society
Het Acteursgenootschap is a theatre company that creates theatre for science. It is well known for its play on integrity in science (the ConScience App). It has performed #MeToo scenes for the Dutch Association of Female Professors, and produces customised plays. The Learning Curve has been made at the special request of the dean of the Graduate School, Professor Liesbet van Zoonen.


16.30    Welcome reception
Doors close at 16.55
16.55    Welcome by Graduate School Dean Professor Liesbet van Zoonen
17.00    Theatre play
17.30    Panel/audience dialogue
18.00    Drinks

About the play

The Learning Curve is a 30-minute theatre play about sexual intimidation and abuse of power in the university context. It’s both humorous and bleak, and is written to be followed by a discussion led by a moderator.

Developed from scenarios originally performed as #MeTooAcademia for the Dutch Network of Women Professors, it has been specially commissioned in an expanded version by the Erasnus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH).

The play is fictitious but is based on interviews recently published in Science Guide, as well as confidential interviews conducted in the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

The story
Suzanne De Jong is a talented second-year graduate student. When her promotor returns from sabbatical she’s delighted. The internationally renowned Professor Loek Dekker is amusing, approachable and inspirational. But during a conference in Berlin Suzanne encounters a darker side of the famous academic. And when the great man doesn’t get his way the consequences for her become catastrophic. Where can she turn for help?

Expert panel

Moderator: Ingeborg van der Ven
Journalist and former editor at ScienceGuide.nl
In November 2017, Ingeborg started an investigation into experiences of (sexual) intimidation in academia. She conducted interviews with dozens of women, conducted policy research and had discussions with administrators and interest groups, which resulted in three piece article series on ScienceGuide.
Part one: “He is a professor and you are just an associate.”
Part two: "Dan blijkt dat de macht de macht beschermt"
(Dutch only)
Part three: "Onacceptabel, al ben jij de koning van de afdeling" (Dutch only)

Prof.dr. Victor Bekkers
Dean Erasmus School for Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB)
Chair Supervisory Board, Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH)

Prof.dr. Hanneke Takkenberg
Professor of Clinical Decision Making, Erasmus Medical Centre
Chief Diversity Officer, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Prof.dr. Antoinette de Bont
Professor of Health Care Management, Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management

Martin Blok
Confidential counsellor, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Laurie Slegtenhorst
PhD candididate at the Department of History at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)
PhD officer at the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)