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The ASCA Summit 2021 will focus on the ways in which we garner attention for our research by intervening in public debates, nationally and internationally, as well as on how we mobilize our research as part of various forms of activism.

Event details of ASCA Summit 2021: ASCA Academics in the Public Arena
Date 4 November 2021
Time 10:00 -16:00

Communicating the outcomes of our research and ensuring its “valorization” or “social impact” is considered an increasingly important part of our role as academics. Valuing these activities is also central to the new “recognizing and rewarding” (erkennen en waarderen) framework that has been espoused by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This framework aims to facilitate a diversity of academic career paths and to move away from a system that asks all academics to excel at everything. But what exactly does “good” science communication, valorization or social impact entail and who gets to determine this? And to what extent does seeking to “valorize” our research or gear it towards having “social impact” align or conflict with academic freedom or with using our research in activist ways, especially when certain forms of activism are considered controversial by the state or parts of the public? As became clear in the context of the Covid pandemic and was also discussed recently in a two-part program at Spui25 (Van wantrouwen tot bedreiging / From distrust to threats), some contributions by academics to public debates – whether part of activism or not – are not welcomed and may even lead to academics being threatened. How can we navigate public spheres – in the Netherlands and elsewhere – that seem to be getting more and more hostile to academic research and expertise in general? And how can ASCA, the university and organizations like the KNAW support researchers whose academic and/or activist work garners hostile responses? At the summit we will discuss these questions and others related to how we operate in the public arena in two panels, the first oriented more towards the Dutch context and the second more towards other national and international contexts.


9:45 Welcome with coffee/tea

10:00-12:00 Panel I, moderated by Jaap Kooijman

  • Yolande Jansen (Associate Professor of Social and Political Philosophy & Special Professor for the SocratesFoundation at VU University)
  • Emiel Martens (Assistant Professor of Film and Visual Culture, Founding Director of Caribbean Creativity, CoDirector of the Expertise Centre Humanitarian Communication & Impact producer at Gasten in je Gezicht / Dudes in your Face)
  • Eva Meijer (Postdoctoral Researcher, Writer & Artist)

12:00-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:30 Panel II, moderated by Esther Peeren

This panel will start with a screening of Aylin Kuryel’s short documentary A Defense (16 minutes):

In 2015, hundreds of academics signed a petition in Turkey, asking the state to put an end to violence inflicted upon Kurdish people. Academics for Peace have been criminalized and put on trial with the charge of terrorist propaganda. A Defense portrays one of the Academics for Peace while preparing for her upcoming appearance in court in 2019. A psychodrama is put on stage in a house, where the person is both the state, the judge, the academic and the cook. It's a self-portrait on the violence and absurdity of the ways in which the state sneaks into the house of an academic, forcing her to adjust her words, body and gestures.


  • Sruti Bala (Associate Professor of Theatre Studies & Member of the Collective International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India – InSAF INDIA)
  • Selçuk Balamir (ASCA PhD Graduate, Lecturer at WdKA, CoDeveloper of Climate Games and Shell Must Fall & Co-Initiator of the housing projects NieuwLand and de Nieuwe Meent)
  • Aylin Kuryel (Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Analysis, Artist & Filmmaker)
  • Noa Roei (Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Analysis & Chair Gate48: Critical Israeli’s in the Netherlands)

4 November 2021, Compagnietheater (Kloveniersburgwal 50)

This will be a hybrid event, so you can also attend on Zoom –

If you want to join the lunch, please register by sending a message to Eloe Kingma