‘You will hear from us’

New professorship will take action against exclusion

  • Alie Weerman, the new professor ‘GGZ and society’, wants an activist professorship.
  • Collaboration with the VU university of Amsterdam and academy of the arts (ArtEZ) has to provide for the development of ‘creative knowledge.’

Alie Weerman has been appointed as the professor of ‘GGZ (Specialized Mental Healthcare) and Society.’ The professorship will focus on topics such as personal recovery and the social functioning of people with complex problems: a mixture of psychiatric and other problems. Especially the connection between mental healthcare and with the recovery involved civil organizations.

Weerman considers those connections one of the biggest social challenges of this day and age: “People with psychiatric problems and addictions are not admitted to a mental health clinic as fast as they used to. They are mostly treated and guided at home. Self- direction is paramount. And the guidance is not just given by ambulatory mental healthcare teams and neighbourhood teams but also by housing corporations, police, churches, neighbours, family and friends. Social workers could do a lot. However, the professorship also focusses on for example nurses. There are connections between study programme Social Work, Nursing and other study programmes from the division Health and Social Work.’

Weerman: ‘We want to offer counterbalance against the sometimes, without any inhibitions, way of thinking: that you can do everything yourself and that empowerment and participation is an individual strength exertion. Not everything is feasible. Good health care employees can also handle the not feasible problems of the job.’

A big part of the job is reserved for experienced experts. ‘That is right. In the meantime experienced experts knowledge is recognized as an indispensable contribution: it is knowledge from the inside, from the experiences with poverty, debts, addiction, mental disorders etc. This knowledge is present with clients, family members but also with professional therapists and counsellors. Windesheim is the only university of applied science that trains students to become ‘Experience experts’ on Bachelor level. The professorship is responsible for the quality for the programs.’

Do organisations see their input that way? ‘We are with five big regional organisations (including Dimence, RIBW Overijssel and MEE) working to give experience expertise some space. We like innovation in the work field. We use this for example, in projects with domestic violence and divorce in open conflict.’

Weerman: ‘You will hear from us inside and outside Windesheim, for example with a Loesje poster *1 workshop, news items, interactive workshops, films, presentations, exhibitions and meetings. We are working on that with the extended ‘arts based’ research methods from the Social activist department of the Art Academy ArtEZ. With the expansion of doctor based research methods we will be working together with the Medical Humanities from the VU university of Amsterdam medical centre. We will stand for creative and artistic expression as knowledge development. (MH)

*1 A Loesje poster, is a well-known poster series with optimistic quotes.



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