What could ArtEZ do to reach out? Recommendations audience of ‘How about Love? In the Wake of the Nashville Statement

Friday January 25th we organised How about Love? In the wake of the Nashville Statement. A group of people came together to listen, share stories, thoughts, experiences and strategies. During this meeting we asked the audience the following question:

If we talk about how to respond to ‘actions’ such as the Nashville declaration and other statements/actions that diminish the rights of certain groups of people (such as the LGBTQ-community but also other minorities), the question arises:

What could ArtEZ do to reach out and to create respectful conversations not from anger but from love? How can we take care and build a safe community for people regardless of their background (such as gender, culture, social background, colour etc.)? To support people from the LGBTQ-community and all other minorities, and make them feel welcome and feel at home?

These were the recommendations people who joined the meeting gave back to us:

Start a collective/joint movement; even if it is small to begin with.

Invite and welcome people from outside of ArtEZ – also the people who make us feel uncomfortable.

Don’t forget there is love.

Start a Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network.

Make Article 1 important.

Use creativity to increase awareness and safety.

More gender neutral language.

Gender neutral toilets.

Maybe more frequent support groups (not sure if needed).

I feel all departments and teachers should start and continue spreading the message: learn from each other as equal people.

Make it known what the proportion of LGBTQ/non-LGBTQ teachers we have in ArtEZ.


Non-gender confirmative dance classes.

Non-gendered toilets.

Use this tipping point to create an ongoing conversation and work with Allies and partners online/offline.

How not just talking to the group who knows?

Is safety shared?

Encourage students to speak about positive and negative experiences about LGBT issues, in and outside of ArtEZ. But also don’t blame students when they come from backgrounds that exclude/do not recognize LGBT in their communities, to let them speak about their situations and give room for inner change. Let them also feel safe, and show how important inclusion is for every one > to create room for real awareness, not forced.

It meant a lot for me to see that ArtEZ put up the rainbow flag in reaction to the Nashville statement. This was enough for me to see ArtEZ as a safe space for me.

A year ago I attended a precourse at ArtEZ. I felt comfortable with the genderless toilets, when I started studying here this school year I was highly disappointed with the re-gendering of the toilets! As a gender non confirming individual I don’t want to be faced with a male/female separation when I want to use the toilet. I wonder, why was the improvement taken back? When will the toilets be open for everyone?

It might be a wrong/different answer for this question, but, as an international student I often feel a separation or isolation from Dutch communities. It is often difficult to get the local information or even school information because it’s in Dutch. In terms of ‘offline’ communication, it is also frustrating for me to communicate with Dutch since our culture is very different but we are not usually aware of/caring for the differences of culture.

To be aware of the freedom you have and how can you use this? I see love as animating force. the power that sets all good and creative in motion. Love is that makes the proton, neuron and electron dance. Uncatchable like wind, powerful like wind. Use it, do love. And in this doing many of our constructed binary opposites – problems will evaporate.

Poem by João da Silva

Studium Generale organized an event on 25 January 2019, in response to the Nashville Statement, the pamphlet against gay marriage in which it is suggested that homosexual feelings can be ‘cured’, and the signing thereof by a number of Christian Dutch people, including SGP leader Kees van der Staaij. We discussed how to respond to such a statement. As an individual, artist and as an institute. This poem by João da Silva was read during the meeting.


Rest little voice of the past
And I will put you to sleep, little voice of the past
And rest you will find, little voice of the past
When rest arrives at this present.

One moment, little one,
The voice of the past will rest in you
When the present becomes little rest
And the voice of the past speaks to you, softly
When the past no longer is a part of then
But little rest in today.

Rest little voice of the past
And I will put you to rest within the present of me
As I listen, little by little, to voice of little past
Of little body
Of little voice of rest.

Rest little voice of today
In the past of the body
Resting in little room
Filled with little voices of today.

I will put you to rest in tomorrow,
Little voice of the past,
For now there is no rest in the body,
Now there is no rest in today.

Rest little voice, rest
And I will put you to rest, side by side,
Little by little, now and then,
Little voice of the past
And I will muffle you
Little voice of the past
With cotton pads of rest.

Little voice of today, rest,
As I breathe the echo of past
As voices of now arrest the rests of you
Passing through the remains of me.

As I voice the word of rest
As I arrest outside of me the rests of today
And today no longer is than longer is the past
As I rest in echoes of resting
Within the littleness of me
Beyond the breath of life


As I rest
As you rest, little voice
Grasping for breath
To become two voices
Or maybe three
Within body of no rest.

Rest little voice of silence, rest.



Dr. João da Silva is a queer movement artist and educator with a background in Experimental Dance, Choreography, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Theatre Studies. Currently he is senior lecturer and research fellow at ArtEZ University of the Arts.


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