Supervisors: Willem Schinkel and Michelle Teran
“Not getting it”: a study of diversity and inclusion in higher art and design education in the Netherlands is the title of the PhD research by sociologist Teana Boston-Mammah.
The aim of this study is to examine how institutional selection processes impact diversity and inclusion in higher art and design education. While selection practices start at the entrance I hope to show in my research that this process continues throughout the four-year student cycle.
Diversity and inclusion are pressing and challenging issues in higher education where they are often a matter of urgent policy initiatives this is less so for higher art and design education. Recent Dutch government statistics from Culture in the Picture 2016, however show that only 8% of those graduating from art school have a ‘non-western’ background. The why this maybe so lies at the heart of this four-year research programme. I will start by investigating – in order to understand – how and why diversity is problematic at the Willem de Kooning Academy, after a two-year period I will carry out comparative research at other art and design schools in the Netherlands. My interests lie in observing how social practices are socially constructed in the current situation. More specifically, in my research I will focus on how institutional selection processes are constructed within specific settings. To study institutional selection processes, I take a tripartite approach: beginning with selection practices, then I will explore curricular and pedagogic choices and finally I will consider sensemaking – how both staff and students make sense of experiences and events in their specific setting.