Academy Job Shadow Days report

Karin Hofmeester at the Academy Bureau

Karin Hofmeester visits Mieke Zaanen 

On Tuesday 18 July, Karin Hofmeester, Senior Researcher and Deputy Director of Research at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) was present at part of the weekly staff meeting, at a consultation session on internal communication within the Academy, and at a meeting about fundraising.

'I’ve already been to the Trippenhuis many times. I’ve held meetings in the old Tinbergen Hall, and I used to be a member of the Committee for the History and Culture of the Jews in the Netherlands (it’s now part of the Menasseh ben Israel Institute). But my recent visit gave me a better understanding of what goes on there and of all the different things that the Academy does. The staff meeting, for example, allowed me to find out more about the work of the various heads of department. I think they have a very varied and differentiated range of duties. I also noticed that there are a lot of female heads of department – that’s rather different at the IISH!'

Fundraising and sharing knowledge

'I also found out more about the Academy’s new fundraising plans. More money means more freedom to fund research which at first sight may not seem to produce much or that seems to be out of the ordinary, but that can in fact be extremely innovative. Sharing knowledge is extremely important, but it requires the right approach and organisation, including between the Academy’s institutes. To be honest, I can’t really see myself going to a lecture at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, but short pitches by various researchers would be very interesting. The communication between the Academy’s Bureau and the institutes is essential for such knowledge sharing.'

Part of the Academy

'I do feel like I’m part of the Academy, but I don’t really think about it on a weekly basis. For example, I hadn’t heard about the new structure of the Society which was launched early this year. The Humanities Cluster (the HuC) – with the IISH, the Meertens Institute, and Huygens ING – feels closer where I’m concerned. When I access the intranet for the whole of the Academy, I tend to think ‘Just what am I doing here?’. And the Academy’s staff newsletter? Quite honestly, I hadn’t actually noticed it in my inbox…

I do think that the Academy’s Bureau has become increasingly open recently, that more open structures have been created. I can imagine that that will also be beneficial for the relationship between the various institutes. Exchanges such as these can help strengthen relationships and wake people up.'

Essence

'My visit with Mieke was more fun than I’d expected. She’s someone who really listens. She wasn’t only genuinely interested in my research at the IISH but also in the large collection of data that’s housed there. Not everybody finds that equally interesting, but the collection is essential for carrying out research, in just the same way as the collection of fungi at the Westerdijk Institute. Both need to be conserved properly and under the right conditions. It’s nice that Mieke understands how that works.'