Academy Job Shadow Days Report

Marijn Molema at the Academy Bureau

Marijn Molema, project coordinator and historian at the Fryske Akademy, shadowed Jacqueline Maenhout, digital communication advisor at the Academy Bureau.

Marijn visits Jacqueline

How did it go?

It was intensive, interesting and instructive. And great to see Jacqueline again. She visited us last week and we really clicked. She has broad interests, and so do I. So we’re a good match.

What did you expect?

I’d hoped to get a glimpse of the Academy’s processes. I wanted to learn more about what the Academy Bureau is and what it does.

What did you do?

I attended the communication team meeting. Of course, I knew that the Academy had a whole organisation underpinning its primary process, conducting research. But it was only after attending that meeting that I realised how wide-ranging its work is, for example in the area of communication. It ranges from coordinating the various science prizes to organising educational projects at primary schools and managing relationships efficiently. The Academy really does play a pivotal role in explaining science and scholarship to the Dutch public. I knew that, of course, but it’s all become much more tangible to me now.

What else?

Jacqueline arranged a meeting for me with Erik van de Linde. He’s the Academy's strategic policy advisor and I was curious to know how he promotes the interests of science and scholarship in his position. Well, I left the meeting practically gasping for air. It’s all so very exciting. Who are our stakeholders? How do we deal with uncertainties? When do we take a stand, and when not? What do political developments mean for our organisation? It was fascinating to hear what an old hand like Erik has to say about all this. And very instructive for me as a research coordinator.

Did you talk to anyone else?

Last week, when Jacqueline shadowed me, we talked about a symposium that we’re organising in 2018 on the past, present and future of the dairy industry in Friesland. Jacqueline said that I should talk to Hans Sittrop, the team leader of the Academy Events Department. He and I sat and talked for a good half hour and he gave me a load of tips, for example on how to make the sessions more interactive.

Marijn (photo) talked with Hans Sittrop about the organisation of events.

What was his best tip?

To give the public good feedback after the symposium ends. Let them know what you’re going to do with their comments and suggestions.

Did you have a busy afternoon?

Yes, because I also attended a ‘Briefing’ on diversity policy and inclusivity in research. ‘Briefings’ are half-hour meetings attended by all the Academy Bureau staff. We sat in small groups and thought about what we wanted the diversity steering committee to know.

Would you take part in the Job Shadow Days again?

Definitely. I think it’s a very good way to broaden your horizons. It’s interesting to see what’s going on elsewhere in the Academy network that I’m part of.