#MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve

October 12, 2018  |  #MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve

The Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) has invited Het Acteursgenootschap (The Actors Society) to re-enact cases of harassment in academia, all based on real life experiences at Erasmus University Rotterdam 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.

The Learning Curve is a 40-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 (LNVH), it has been specially commissioned in an expanded version by the Erasmus 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).

Suzanne De Jong is a talented second-year graduate student. When her promotor returns from sabbatical she’s delighted. The internationally renowned Professor Loek Roden 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

  • Ingeborg van der Ven (MODERATOR)
    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.
  • 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 candidate at the Department of History at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)
    PhD officer at the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE)

Date: October 12th, 2018
Location: Erasmus Paviljoen Theatre
Duration: play (40 minutes), discussion (30-60 minutes)
Writer and director: Tony Maples
Actors: Suzanne Spliethoff, Loek van den Wijngaard and Elske Rollema
Moderator: Ingeborg van der Ven

ScienceGuide wrote a retrospective on the event
(Dutch article)