Open! Academy

Other Voices, Other Views

Lauren Alexander, Niels Schrader

July 20, 2018artist contribution,

Other Voices, Other Views is an academic research project led by Lauren Alexander, Maarten Cornel and Niels Schrader and executed by third-year Graphic Design students from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK), with guest tutors Ramon Amaro, Femi Dawkins and Kelly Walters. The project invites students to closely examine their own racial, cultural and gender identities aiming to critically rethink how established norms have come into being. In the Netherlands, years of colonial rule have meant that race and economic exploitation have been central to society and we recognise that work needs to be done to undo damages of the past. Putting the decolonial writings of Gloria Wekker, James Baldwin and many more into practice, students were encouraged to identify and research racial bias vis-à-vis different sectors of Dutch society by means of an interview format.

The Frayed Edges of Efficiency

Auke Lansink, Carolina Valente Pinto and Zuzanna Zgierska
in conversation with Ramon Amaro, Danae Io, Dr. M. Birna van Riemsdijk and Marc Schuilenburg
16:52 min

The video The Frayed Edges of Efficiency brings together the opinions of four specialists in algorithmic discrimination. During the interviews Ramon Amaro, Danae Io, Dr. M. Birna van Riemsdijk and Marc Schuilenburg explain the hidden biases in machine learning, and argue how software that is used for predictive policing, racial profiling and voice recognition is everything but neutral. The interviews conclude with the suggestion that the first step towards a solution to potential discrimination is ensuring that agency and accountability is inherent in the tools we have developed.

Intergalactic Conversations with Afrofuturists

Khrystyna Kordunian and Peter van Langen
in conversation with Airich, Raul Balai and Femi Dawkins
24:21 min

Intergalactic Conversations with Afrofuturists is a series of interviews with the artists Airich, Raul Balai and Femi Dawkins who share their experiences, and discuss how the complex notion of Afrofuturism relates to their art practice. We learn that to avoid perpetuating stubborn stereotypes, Afrofuturism should not only define an aesthetic or fixed identity but rather a positioning or way of thinking.


Rully Irawan and Samuel Rynearson
in conversation with Woody Brunings, Leon Donnars and Harm Peter Smilde
19:21 min

Hazyland brings together the voices of fellows and experts around the theme of Indorock, a music genre created in the Netherlands in the rock and roll era of the 1950s. The interviews with Woody Brunings, Leon Donnars and Harm Peter Smilde focus in particular on the creative work of the Tielman Brothers, who are seen as the pioneers of Indorock. The video critically discusses the use of terminology rooted in ethnicity such as ‘Indorock’ questioning whether such naming perpetuates racism.

How Much Do Basic Needs Cost?

Verena Hahn
in conversation with Jan Burda and Jennifer Kölber
18:14 min

In her video, How Much Do Basic Needs Cost? Verena Hahn interviews two recipients of the German ‘Hartz IV’ benefit programme, who are coping with the challenges of life on a low income. Rather than solely addressing economic discrimination, Hahn prefers to present the interviewees Jan Burda and Jennifer Kölber as role models with positive views on life, even if they are severely limited by minimal financial means. She consciously decides to meet them in their own surroundings, making the specifics of their lives more relatable.

A Place to Belong… Am I Coming Home?

Dominika Fojtíková and Samantha van Roosenbeek
in conversation with Reggie Baay, Bonnie van Dam, Joop Pelt, Babiche Sipkens, Rob Sipkens, Freek Stoltenborch, Ine Stoltenborch, Nicky Stoltenborch and Lin Ven
28:08 min

In A Place to Belong… Am I Coming Home? Dominika Fojtíková and Samantha van Roosenbeek set out to discover what constitutes identity by conducting intimate interviews with former ‘Buitenkampers’ and their families. Buitenkampers is the name given to Dutch Indonesian victims of the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in the 1940s, few of which remain. The generational interviews reveal how individuals deal differently with their heritage and develop new priorities and reflections about self-identification within Dutch society.

Between the Deep Sea and the Desert

Kate Banar, Kin Mun Chong and Nina van Tuikwerd
in conversation with Sophia Attigui, Michael Hauwerts, Michiel Heemskerk and Willem van Weelden
19:54 min

Between the Deep Sea and the Desert is a series of interviews in which Kate Banar, Kin Mun Chong and Nina van Tuikwerd discuss identity-forming factors like culture, origin and nationality with fellow students. Writer and researcher Willem van Weelden guides the viewer through the process of human settlement and questions if the contemporary methods of classifying space and time are up for revision.

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

Jonathan Cho and Rhodé Tavenier
in conversation wit Rachaël Millenaar
5:00 min

In an interview with family relations psychologist Rachaël Millenaar, Jonathan Cho and Rhodé Tavenier question how it could be possible to relate to others, without bias. According to their interviewee, we are all guilty of prejudice, she suggests observation and acknowledgement to heighten our awareness of these issues. This visual essay combines intimate and confronting visual exploration providing suggestions for an alternative gaze.


Full list of all students who participated in Other Voices, Other Views: Artúr Andrási, Katsiaryna Banar, Leith Benkhedda, Marc van den Berg, Kylièn Bergh, Louis Braddock Clarke, Martijn Brakenhoff, Mariam Darchiashvili, Linsey Dolleman, Dana Doorenbos, Manon Féval, Dominika Fojtíková, Armands Freibergs, Verena Hahn, Jan Husstedt, Céline Hurka, Rully Irawan, Bohwa Jang, Rebecca Joly, Sophia de Jong, Pien Kars, Christina Kordunian, Risto Kujanpää, Peter van Langen, Auke Lansink, Fien Leeflang, Kin Mun Chong, Greta Radzevičiūtė, David Ramalheira, Samantha van Roosenbeek, Evy van Schelt, Samuel Snyder, Cato Stigter, Yeon Sung, Rhodé Tavenier, Nina van Tuikwerd, Carolina Valente Pinto, Daniel Vojtisek, Alfonso Yordi Martinez, Rossi Yotova and Zuzanna Zgierska.

Lauren Alexander (1983, ZA) is a designer and artist. She teaches in BA and MA Graphic Design at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) and in 2019 she was a member of the KABK Research Group chaired by Alice Twemlow. Her collaboration with designer Ghalia Elsrakbi (1978, SY) initiated in 2009 has informed her practice and teaching. As Foundland Collective Lauren and Ghalia explore under-represented political and historical narratives by working with archives via art, design, writing, educational formats, video making and storytelling. The duo critically reflects upon what it means to produce politically engaged work from their position as non-Western artists working between Europe and the Middle East. Foundland Collective was awarded the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship for research in the largest Arab American archive in 2015, the outcome of which was presented as a video installation at Centre Pompidou in Paris (2017) and their short video, ‘The New World, Episode One’ premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival (2018). The duo have lectured and exhibited internationally including at ISPC, New York, Ars Electronica, Linz, Fikra Biennial, Sharjah and Tashweesh Feminist Festival, Cairo and Brussels. Their work has been shortlisted for the Dutch Prix de Rome in 2015 and Dutch Design Awards in 2016.  

Niels Schrader (1977, Caracas, VE) is a concept-driven information designer with a fascination for numbers and data. He is founder of the Amsterdam-based design studio Mind Design and member of the AGI – Alliance Graphique Internationale. Next to his design practice Schrader has been lecturing at the Delft University of Technology, ArtEZ – Academy of Art & Design in Arnhem and Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam. Since January 2013 he is co-head of the Graphic Design department at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. In his work, Schrader plays the role of both a mediator and a designer. He considers communication to be an interactive process that requires participation through questioning. See further: