Codarts provides its students with time, space and coaching so that they can develop themselves to become artists, leaders and coaches in an inspirational environment. A safe learning and working environment for all the students, employees and teachers forms an integral part of our educational system. At times, achieving these goals and providing an optimal environment may create tension. Eagerness and safety, setting boundaries and spreading wings, developing an individual behaviour and style and always treating each other with respect can be at odds. It’s all part of the game, but we are nevertheless aware of the risks and vulnerabilities involved.
The right balance between providing safety as well as the possibility to shift boundaries lies at the core of Codarts’ learning environment. Our study programmes are characterised by individual coaching and intensive collaborations between students and teachers and among students themselves. Literally and figuratively, we come into close contact, which is exactly why we need transparent agreements, proper procedures, and a continuous discussion about social safety.
There have been some signals that this balance is under pressure. These concerns issues that as such may occur within any organization that is deeply involved in society. However, as this touches upon the very core of our educational efforts, we are extra vigilant and feel that we have to address these issues in an even more constructive and structural manner. And, Codarts being a Rotterdam university, we will put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.
Heeding these signals about social unsafety from within the organization, we have commissioned an external bureau to initiate a broad exploratory inquiry with the musical departments. The goal of this inquiry is to give students and employees the space to report unsafety and transgressive behaviour and make it more open to discussion.
Building a Safe and Lively Learning and Working Environment
We place great value in the outcome of this inquiry, but we will not wait for the results to continue building a safe and lively learning and working environment. A new programme team will work on further establishing transparent agreements, such as a code of conduct including sanctions. This team will also critically examine our way of working, our teaching methods, and the atmosphere we create.
We want a learning environment where everyone feels safe and welcome, while also experiencing space and inspiration. This is challenging, yes, but very necessary. The focus is on the sort of culture and learning environment that befit high-quality professional art education in 2023. How to achieve this at Codarts and how to hold on to it? Together with our employees, teachers and students we will come up with an answer to this over the coming period. Because we believe we can do this at Codarts.