Lectures and debate

Follow the leader?

Groningen, the Netherlands

Lectures and debate | Follow the leader?

Lectures and debate: Follow the leader? [in English]

What is ‘cultural leadership’? The last couple of years there is a lot of talk about this term, referring not only to the ways museums, concert halls, festivals and theaters are managed, but also to the ways in which culture and the arts could offer alternative forms of leadership now that our political leaders are so often failing us. During this afternoon, we will discuss how the arts could have an actual (social/political) influence: could a festival be a political arena? In what way can artists and curators address social and political issues, mobilize an audience, and approach them as more then mere consumers? Do we even want them to?

Our guests:

Mark Yeoman was an actor and freelance director in England until he followed his wife to Groningen. Currently he is the artistic director of the Grand Theatre in Groningen and artistic director of Noorderzon Performing Arts festival.

Thijs Lijster is professor Philosophy of Art and Culture at the University of Groningen. He has written Onder Filosofen with Jan Sietsma, was coeditor of De Nieuwe Duitse Filosofie (The New German Philosophy, 2013), and De kunst van Kritiek (The Art of Critique).

Lijster won several awards: in 2009 he received the ABG/VN Essay prize, in 2010 the Dutch/Flemish Prize for Young Art Criticism, and in 2015 the NWO/Boekman dissertation award. In 2016 he published some of his essays on cultural philosophy in the book De grote vlucht inwaarts (2016). His work is published frequently in magazines such as De Groene Amsterdammer and Filosofie Magazine.

Pascal Gielen is professor cultural sociology at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA).  In 2016 he received the Odysseus Grant of the Flemish Scientific Fund for excellent international research. With this grant he instituted the interdisciplinairy Culture Commons Quest Office which does research about the conditions of sustainable creative labour in different urban contexts.  Gielen is also editor in chief of the international book series Arts in Society

Julian Hetzel is a performance maker, musician and visual artist, who is currently based in Utrecht. He develops works along the intersection of theatre, music and media that have a political dimension and a documentary approach. In an interview with Robbert van Heuven, Hetzel says: ‘There is so much material in the world that I could never make up myself.”

Hetzels works are produced and presented internationally. Hetzels most recent performance Schuldfabrik is presented at Noorderzon. Schuldfabrik is a very hip soap shop where artist Julian Hetzel sells soaps that are made from human fat. You can visit this curious shop at Noorderzon and even buy ‘“Self – Human Soap” - made from people for people’.

Schuldfabrik is a co-production of Noorderzon, Steirischer Herbst (Graz) and SPRING (Utrecht) presented in the framework of the European network NXTSTP.

The American Meiying Wang was the right hand of festival director Mark Russel at the New York festival Under the Radar. Currently she is festival director at the Without Walls Festival.


In collaboration with | Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

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