More about the Beeldbrekers
The Beeldbrekers are bridging the gap between the Van Gogh Museum and a new generation of museum visitors.
The Beeldbreekers (ReFramers) are a group of young adult students and (young) professionals who dedicate their expertise to helping the Van Gogh Museum become more inclusive. What do they do in everyday life, and what motivates them to help the museum?
In my art, I’m always looking for ways of showing the outside world how much inner beauty we have, and how amazing it is to have a bicultural background. I try to show what a struggle it can be growing up in a society like ours, but also how much we bring to Dutch culture.
As a Beeldbreker, I want to pass on my vision to other young people like me. But I am also critical of museum culture as it stands. How can the Van Gogh Museum improve how it relates to us? A more diverse and inclusive team, exhibitions and programming can be the first step.
I enjoy passing on knowledge. I have a Master’s in Health Sciences from the VU Amsterdam, and am now training at the university to become a biology teacher.
My aim? To give pupils with a bicultural background a helping hand. I want to show them their options and give them hope for the future. I want to encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone and claim their place in society. I’m making a start in my role as a ReFramer, so that visiting a museum will soon be the most normal thing in the world for young people.
Art doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it’s fine for art to just be ‘fun’. It can evoke emotions or bring you new insights. I’m convinced that prior knowledge is by no means necessary. And that one person’s experience is just as valuable as another person’s.
As a Beeldbreker, I have the chance to make not only the art more accessible, but also the museum. I believe that creating dialogue and truly listening to each other are the most important conditions of connecting people. Joining forces is more effective if the forces that combine are unalike. And other people’s perspectives help to enrich your own. That’s why I’m sure that inclusion can really help us move forward.
I love art, which is why I focused on the art and culture sector during my Cultural and Social Development studies. I came to realise how important it is that different perspectives and stories are allowed to thrive in this sector. With the various backgrounds and interests of the Beeldbrekers, we’ll be able to take an authentic approach to giving these perspectives and stories the space they deserve.
I want to work with the Beeldbrekers to remove the barriers that put people off visiting a museum. I hope that we will find various ways of ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to discover and experience the value of art and creativity.
As a woman of colour in the Netherlands, I navigate my way through society differently. It’s a valuable perspective to have as a Beeldbreker. I hope to give young people like me a place and a voice at the Van Gogh Museum, so that they can experience the value and importance of art and museums in a way that suits them. We are the future, so I think it’s both very important and constructive that the museum is taking our views on board.
I have always wanted to help people, and I’m learning lots as a Beeldbreker that will assist me in this regard. And what’s really important is that with the ReFramers, I can develop my own voice and have my say.
I’ve always had a strong sense of right and wrong, even as a child. This is in part down to my bicultural background. It’s made me into the person I am today: someone who always speaks out against injustice and exclusion. My love of art inspired me to study art history at Utrecht University. I realised how much change is still required in the (museum) world. The role of Beeldbreker seemed like an excellent way of more effectively applying myself to effecting this change.
As a Beeldbreker, I want to use my knowledge of art, culture and socio-political matters to help make the Van Gogh Museum even more inclusive. Art needs to be accessible to everyone, and it is also important how and by whom the story behind the art is told.
I have been working as an occupational therapist with elderly patients for the last three years. I sometimes feel somewhat removed from clients who are more than 50 years older than me, but I am hugely inspired by their stories. There’s nearly always something that connects us as people. My clients have weaknesses, as do I, but my therapy naturally focuses on their strengths. The trick is taking the time to really get to know someone, only then can you make a personal connection with them!
I hope that as a Beeldbreker, I can play my part in reaching a more diverse audience and inspiring them with Van Gogh’s story. I want to focus on his personal story, alongside his artworks. I think that everyone can find wisdom and inspiration in his amazing works, and in the challenges that he faced.
My mother started taking us to museums when we were young, which helped me develop a keen interest in art and culture. I’m sad to say that lots of young people around me didn’t grow up with the same access to culture. I want to change that, by passing on my passion for art to the next generation of bicultural young people. In order to get there, I first need to make museums more accessible for them. Right now, there’s hardly anyone at the museum who looks like me. Not just visitors, but also people working in the offices.
I work towards inclusion, diversity, acceptance and equal opportunities. As a Beeldbreker, I hope to open the door to other people like me: someone with a bicultural background who tries to practise her religion. A door that’s wide open and that doesn’t need to be kicked in.
As a Beeldbreker, I champion diversity and inclusion. Terms like this are currently ‘hot and happening’ to lots of people, but to me, they are simply part of my identity. With my sharp tongue and even sharper pen, I will be fighting to ensure that the museum isn’t only part of the standard annual round of visits, but that it becomes a centre of cultural enrichment where everyone feels at home.
While studying Creative Business at university, I discovered my passion for creating content that appeals to everyone, that’s completely inclusive and accessible to all. Just like Van Gogh, I enjoy translating my creativity into visuals. He made exquisite artworks, and I like to travel to new places, camera in hand. I love finding creative ways of capturing everyone and everything I come across.
Stepping out of your comfort zone takes a lot of courage, but it enriches your life. You can busy yourself with what you already know, but if you are open to alternative perspectives of people with different backgrounds, you learn so much more! To me, it’s a bit like an ‘unlock a new level’ principle: you keep discovering new things, and you grow as a person. All of the Beeldbrekers have different backgrounds, and we bring a multidisciplinary perspective to what we do. We can only achieve the necessary changes if we work together.
I’m currently studying for my Master’s in Management, Policy-Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences, specialising in International Public Health. I’m also a member of DEGASTEN youth theatre company, and I enjoy my work for the Giving Back Students Community.
Diversity and inclusivity play a major role in both my work and private life. I enjoy discussions with my friends, family and colleagues, and have already organised several fruitful D&I sessions. Creating awareness and mutual understanding is always essential. You sometimes have to overcome uncomfortable, confronting obstacles, but that’s the only way to progress. And this discomfort often leads to a wonderful new situation, with people understanding each other better and coming closer together.
I want to help people who don’t feel like part of the majority by definition. I dream of a society in which people who are ‘other’ are not inferior. I see being a Beeldbreker as a great opportunity to introduce my ideas in the context of the museum, and to learn from other people’s perspectives.
When I visit a museum, a bunch of different questions often come to mind: ‘Should art always be nice to look at? Is art a fact, or an opinion? What makes art, art? And what gives value to an artwork?’. I now know that the story behind an artwork is what truly makes it interesting and valuable.
Van Gogh’s story is more than a century old, but still every bit as relevant today. People identify with his vulnerability and his desire to make art that would touch people. I also identify with this, and can’t wait to share Vincent’s art with other young adults, and to involve them with his story.
Being bicultural is the best thing to have happened to me. Different cultures have always fascinated me, and I think the similarities between the cultures are just as significant and valuable as the differences. I’ve been part of the education team at the Stedelijk Museum for more than four years, and I’ve always tried to keep a focus on diversity and inclusivity. And now I’m looking forward to doing the same at the Van Gogh Museum!
I’m in my third year of an Architecture degree at TU Delft, and I enjoy sharing cultural content on my own YouTube channel. I’ve made a series focusing on the first Turkish migrants, spread all over Europe. I’m also designing my own Tiny House, which I soon hope to move into. Van Gogh was committed to progressing and touching people with his art, and with my architectural and online creations, and my artworks, I hope to inspire and touch people too!
I’m Douaa Benzzine. I was born in Purmerend, and I grew up in Amsterdam. My parents’ roots are in Turkey and Morocco. I’m taking accelerated training for social work. My mother says that I made the most beautiful drawings and paintings when I was a little girl. Creativity is a way of release for me; painting allows me to express my frustrations and disappointments. Through chats with my mum, I learned that my uncle was also a creative person. He unfortunately died much too early, and his creative spirit was not always appreciated. So I see a link to the life of Vincent van Gogh.
As a Beeldbreker, I want to connect young people with art. And to connect the Van Gogh Museum with young people for whom museum visits and art are not a matter of course. I also hope to learn lots about the paintings on display at the museum, and to be inspired by them for my own work.