Response of the Royal Conservatoire to online accusation

Following a recent article in NRC about the inadmissible private behaviour of a visual artist, who is also an alumnus of the Royal Academy of Art, an Instagram account has been set up in which perceived abuses and examples of (alleged) inadmissible behaviour in the art sector and higher art education are shared.

This account includes an anonymous accusation against one of our teachers. The report shows similarities with an article in the magazine Vrij Nederland about 6 years ago. In that article, the matters now reiterated were presented somewhat differently, with an important difference that no name or names were mentioned.

At the time, we investigated, based on the article in Vrij Nederland, whether there was any question of the aforementioned criminal acts or unacceptable behaviour. This appeared to not be the case. But that does not make these specific manners an unspeakable subject, on the contrary.

At the Royal Conservatoire, the safety of students and staff members and the integrity of the educational process are paramount. These are described in a Code of Integrity updated in 2015. There is also a Complaints Committee, a Confidential Advisor and a Student Counselor. No messages have reached us from these three forums that could once again substantiate the anonymous accusation.

Students and staff members who are victims of unacceptable behaviour deserve our support. But also those for whom it would appear that certain accusations are unjustified. I call on those who would like to bring concrete matters forward to do so, with all confidentiality to be observed by us, through the Counselors Office, the Confidential Advisor, the Complaints Committee or the Personnel Department. Find the contact details via the website of the University of the Arts.

In addition to these official channels, Diversity has been an important topic for a number of years. For example, the Royal Conservatoire has a Diversity Adviser and a Diversity Committee. With the development of this policy area, all issues related to it, including behaviour patterns, are brought up for discussion.

We hope that with these steps the KC will further contribute to the safety and well-being of everyone who is part of our community.

Henk van der Meulen
Principal of the Royal Conservatoire