#MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve

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, Het Acteursgenootschap 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. Different academic stakeholders and the audience can discuss what you can do if you find yourself, your colleagues or members of your team in such situations.

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 PhD-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?

Writer and director:
Tony Maples
Actors: Suzanne Spliethoff, Loek van den Wijngaard and Elske Rollema
Duration: play (40 minutes), discussion (30-60 minutes)

ScienceGuide wrote a retrospective on the event
(Dutch article)


  • November 4th 2020 – NWO-NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel
  • September 29th 2020 – NWO-NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Yerseke
  • September 21st 2020 – NWO-NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel
  • May 19th 2020 – Platform Research Ethics and Integrity – Maastricht University
  • May 14th 2020 – Amsterdam Law School, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Amsterdam Business School, Amsterdam School of Economics – University of Amsterdam
  • April 21st 2020 – Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC) – University of Amsterdam
  • April 7th 2020 – Faculty of Science – University of Amsterdam
  • April 2nd 2020 – Faculty of Humanities – University of Amsterdam
  • March 12th 2020 – Taskforce Diversity & Inclusion – Utrecht University
  • February 25th 2020 – VU University
  • February 6th 2020 – Diversity Day – Wageningen University & Research
  • January 23rd 2020 – WISE-network – TU Eindhoven
  • December 9th 2019 – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW)
  • December 6th 2019 – VU University
  • November 14th 2019 – Challenging poor behaviour in Academia – University of Groningen
  • October 2nd 2019 – European Gender Summit, Quality Research and Innovation through Equality – KNAW/LNVH/VSNU/Ministerie OCW
  • July 8th 2019 – Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Juni 17th 2019 – Delft Women in Science – TU Delft
  • May 10th 2019 – University of Groningen
  • April 2nd 2019 – Eurodoc, Brussels, Belgium
  • February 11th 2019 – The Role of Leadership – Diversity & Inclusion Office – Erasmus MC Rotterdam
  • October 12th 2018 – Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) – Erasmus MC Rotterdam