‘How to…. portray a professor?’

Exhibition (30 January to 30 March) around the Aula (VU Main Building) and debate (25 February).

01/30/2020 | 4:33 PM

How to portray a professor? poster‘How do we want to portray our professors in 2020? Let us know what you think!’

What constitutes a good professor portrait for the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam? This question is the subject of the exhibition and the debate ‘How to portray a professor’, organised by the WO&MEN@vu network in collaboration with VU Heritage and Collections. Does this involve a painting, a photo or a film? Is it abstract or figurative? Do we see an individual or a team, a researcher or a lecturer? We are eager to hear what students and staff think about this issue. To give you some inspiration, the exhibition also presents a selection from the VU collection of professor portraits.

Older white men… portrayed very formally, often in a gown
Most of the professor portraits owned by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam depict older white men – portrayed very formally, often wearing a gown. These portraits were mostly painted in the 20th century, beginning at the time (around 1920) when the first generation of VU professors went into retirement. They were painted by many different artists (well-known and less well-known) in various styles, ranging from very detailed to almost abstract.

At the exhibition, you can get an impression of the diverse ways a person can be portrayed. You will see a traditional painting of the first female VU professor, Gezina van der Molen, as well as many male professors, portrayed in various ways: in their working environment or as a teacher; in a gown or in a more casual suit. In addition, there are modern photo portraits of recent VU professors (both men and women).

What appeals to you? Could things be done differently, better?
What appeals to you? Could things be done differently, better? How can we ensure that portraits communicate the spirit of the university? You can give us your opinion and/or present your own example at the exhibition, or during the debate on 25 February 2019. The results will be transformed by WO&MEN@vu into recommendations for the acquisition of new portraits. These recommendations will then submitted to the Executive Board.

Workshop and debate
On 25 February, prior to the debate, you can also take part in the ‘Critical Viewing’ workshop. Working in small groups and accompanied by a professor, you will discover all the different elements that are visible in a painting, and what these evoke in viewers. During the subsequent debate, Ruard Ganzevoort (Chief Diversity Officer and Dean of the Faculty of Religion and Theology) and Liselotte Neervoort (Curator of Academic Heritage), among others, with moderation by Hilde van Wijngaarden (Wo&Men@vu and Director of the University Library), will engage in discussion with each other and with the audience about the future of professor portraits at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Entrance is free of charge, but please register in advance via the following links:
Registration for workshop and debate (limited number of places) (starts at 3.00 pm in front of the Aula in the VU Main Building): How to... portray a professor workshop
Registration for the debate only (starts at 4.00 pm in 3D, on the VU campus): How to... portray a professor debate

WO&MEN network
WO&MEN is a network of VU staff members who work to improve equality between men and women at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. They do this by organising events and through help, consultation, coaching and mentoring. If you have any questions or ideas, please contact the network at women@vu.nl.

How to…. portray a professor? Workshop | Date: 25 february 2020 | Location: Main Building, Aula | Time: 15.00-16.00

How to…. portray a professor? Debate | Date: 25 february 2020 | Location: W&N building, 3D | Time: 16.00-18.00