research project
24 november

kick-off event research project

friday, november 24th

Deze activiteit is in het Engels | This activity is in English

We are pleased to announce the upcoming kick-off event that will take place on November 24th at the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden. This event will mark the start of a research project recently awarded by the NWO, Dutch Research Council, Museum Grants program: Ecocritical Approaches to Landscape at the Fries Museum.

Since the 1990s, landscape is one of the main thematic principles for collecting modern and contemporary art in the Fries Museum. Together with the chair for art history and material culture, University of Groningen, prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Judith Spijksma, curator modern and contemporary art, Fries Museum, will carry out a research project on contemporary art and the depiction of landscape in the museum’s collection. By looking at artworks which use diverse materials to capture, interpret and recreate landscape, this research aims to shed light on current issues in contemporary art and museum practices.

The research project will be launched during a special kick-off event with various lectures on November 24th. Fill out the form below to sign up.

During the event, curator of modern and contemporary art Judith Spijksma starts with an explanation of the research project and offers some case studies from the Fries Museum collection. Lisa Klompe, project manager and initiator of the Fries Museum's "green team", offers an update on sustainability and related dilemmas in museum practice. Dr. Colin Sterling (University of Amsterdam) reflects on the museum as an ecological entity. He presents a number of case studies to show how this realization affects museum practice. Artist Saskia Noor van Imhoff, whose work is currently on display in the exhibition Seeds of Memory at the Fries Museum, talks about the project REST, a collaboration with Arnout Meijer. REST is set around a nineteenth-century farmhouse in the landscape of Gaasterland, in the southwest corner of Friesland. In their presentation on the (im)possibility of an ecosystem as a work of art, artist collective De Onkruidenier takes their project SWIET - SWIT as a starting point. SWIET - SWIT is an ongoing study of the infinite connection between sweet and salt in body and landscape. Anna-Rosja Haveman talks about the insights from her PhD research concerning artists who represent and question the Dutch coast in their work. As part of her dissertation, she will share her expertise on ecocritical art, with a focus on landscapes in Friesland and other Dutch regions. The program will come to a close with a discussion led by prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann, inviting participants and audience to reflect on the themes presented. Scroll down to read the biographies of all the speakers.

Date: Friday, 24th November

Time: 13.30 - 16.30h
Price: Free (Would you also like to visit the museum? Please reserve an admission ticket via our ticket page.)
Fill out the form below to sign up.

activiteiten > kick-off event research project



13.30 Walk-in
14.00 Introduction by Judith Spijksma, Fries Museum
14.20 Museums and Sustainability: Lisa Klompe, Fries Museum
14.40 Cultivating Museum Ecologies Otherwise: dr. Colin Sterling, University of Amsterdam
15.00 REST: Saskia Noor van Imhoff
15:20 SWIET/SWIT: De Onkruidenier
15:40 Reimagining the Terraqueous in Ecocritical Art: Anna-Rosja Haveman, University of Groningen
16.00 Discussion moderated by prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann
16.30 Drinks

biographies and abstracts

Judith Spijksma
Judith Spijksma (she/her) is the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. She is responsible for shaping both the collection and the exhibition program, with a focus on landscape, ecology, craft, and technology. Previously, she was a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Dordrechts Museum, where she initiated several solo exhibitions by emerging artists. From 2019-2021 Spijksma was one of the co-curators of Into Nature, a nomadic contemporary art biennial in the landscape of Drenthe. She is an active member of various committees in the field of the visual arts, enabling her to contribute to a thriving art scene.

Lisa Klompe
Lisa Klompe is a project manager at the Fries Museum and at the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics. Since 2022, she is also their first sustainability coordinator, a role through which she initiated the Green Team. Operating in both museums, the Green Team has high ambitions to promote sustainability as a core value. Lisa hopes to enforce a change towards a greener future not only within the walls of these museums but also outside of them. For instance, she participated in Julie’s Bicycle Creative Climate Leadership program. Julie’s Bicycle is a not-for-profit organisation working with the arts and creative industries to navigate climate change and broader environmental sustainability. In addition, she was invited as a speaker to share her expertise at organizations like Museumvereniging.

Abstract: In Lisa Klompe’s talk, the theme of sustainability in the context of museums will be discussed from various perspectives: local, national and international. Being an active member of the green team at the Fries Museum, as well as other organizations like the Museumvereneging and Julie’s Bicycle, Klompe will share her expertise on the current state of sustainability in the cultural sector. From a local perspective, she will focus on how an initiative to become more sustainable can arise from within an organization, for instance, her idea to create the green team and participate in the Koploper project. This project centers around establishing a baseline measurement of the current situation regarding sustainable and socially responsible business practices, aiming at offering necessary knowledge, tools and network. In addition, Klompe will share her knowledge on Creative Climate Leadership, a programme she was chosen for by Julie’s Bicycle, a leading nonprofit organization from the UK in the field of arts and culture. She now takes these learnings in her work as the museums’ sustainability coordinator, but also outside the walls of the museum. By developing her knowledge on sustainability through an international programme, as well as being a member of the working group on Sustainability and Museums at the national association Museumvereneging, she bridges all these powerful knowledge outlets at the Fries Museum, creating a more sustainable future.

Dr. Colin Sterling
Dr. Colin Sterling is an interdisciplinary researcher, writer and teacher specialising in heritage, museums and artistic research. Prior to joining the University of Amsterdam as Assistant Professor of Memory and Museums he was a post-doctoral researcher and UKRI Early Career Leadership Fellow at University College London. He received my MA and PhD from UCL Institute of Archaeology, and his BA from The University of Manchester. He took up his current position in the Department of Arts and Culture in January 2021. The research trajectory he has been developing over the past few years is broadly concerned with the intersections of heritage, museums and ecology. This research aims to bridge work in critical heritage studies, museology and the environmental humanities, with a core focus on urgent issues related to sustainability, climate change and the just transition. In 2023, he was awarded NWO pilot funding for a new project called Cultivating Museum Ecologies Otherwise, which aims to reconcile pioneering work in the environmental humanities with grounded museum praxis.

Abstract: Dr. Colin Sterling highlights museums as ecological entities. No matter how much they try to marginalize, eradicate, or suppress this fact, the work that happens inside museums always takes place within and against the broader web of life. This talk will sketch out what it means to think about museums in this way, and introduce a range of case studies from across the world to understand how this realization is transforming museum practice in different contexts. What is at stake in exhibiting and amplifying museum ecologies? How might an ecological view in this field help to shift perspectives and behaviours in wider society? To begin to address these questions I will discuss a new project that aims to map, visualize, and otherwise make manifest the varied ecologies that permeate museological worlds. Drawing on a range of theorists and empirical examples of museum praxis, the talk will underline the entanglement of art and culture with urgent debates around ecological breakdown.

Saskia Noor van Imhoff
Saskia Noor van Imhoff’s oeuvre examines systems, hierarchical structures, and ideas about collecting. While addressing the underlying dynamics that lead to decisions about what we keep for the future, and what we decide to dispose of, she questions the idea of a collection as a knowledge system and a mechanism that selects, differentiates, and classifies. She approaches these structures using a variety of media such as photography, sculpture and architecture, which merge into a whole in her installations. Saskia Noor van Imhoff lives and works in Amsterdam and Mirns (NL). Van Imhoff was awarded for the 2017 ABN Amro ArtPrize (NL), The Prix de Rome (NL) 2016, the 2012 Walter Tielmann Prize for Book Design (DE) and the 2008 Gerrit Rietveld Academie Prize (NL). She is represented by Gallery GRIMM (US, UK and NL).

Abstract: REST functions as a researchproject that asks the question: how to live in the Critical Zone? This “Critical Zone” (Bruno Latour) is a fragile landscape several kilometers thick where all life on and in the Earth takes place. The ecological crisis points to the limitations and boundaries of this area. The research centers around Mirns, a village in Friesland, consisting of an old farm and a 2.5-hectare plot of land. Many processes in this place transcend property boundaries (nitrogen, bird migration, poison), making the place intertwined with other locations in the Netherlands, Europe, or the globe. Next to a researchproject REST will be used as a institutional Project Zone were workshops, exhibition and talks can be held. We call it a “Project Zone” because projects, like the Critical Zone, are not confined by a defined space or time. They can take place both inside the farmhouse and in the surrounding area, and they can be either momentary or permanent. Natural rhythms like seasons, moon phases, and growth cycles may be necessary for these projects; therefore, they will occur infrequently and depend on what presents itself in the environment. This is a question that we cannot answer alone; it is a place where people, organizations, and educational institutions from various disciplines and with different knowledge, expertise, and experiences can come together to exchange knowledge, create work, and gain insights.

De Onkruidenier
Artist collective de Onkruidenier was founded in 2013 and the team consists of Jonmar van Vlijmen, Rosanne van Wijk and Ronald Boer. The collective investigates historical, cultural and potential transformations of nature and its potential to evolve humans. They do fieldwork – often in conjunction with audiences – collecting plants, the stories and histories associated with them. As ecosystem futurists, they speculate on aquatic culture to arrive at new interpretations of the relationship between humans and (urban) nature, both above and below sea level. An important role is played here by questioning systems that are usually taken for granted. In the development of their work, interactions with the public and experts such as farmers, residents and scientists create new stories.

Abstract: For 100 days, white pineapple strawberries, black rice, salt-loving potatoes, taro plants and all kinds of duckweed grew in the installation SWIET – SWIT (2022). Together with the staff of Fries Museum and volunteers, the Onkruidenier cared for this new ecosystem in the museum's entrance hall. What are the (im)possibilities accommodating an ecosystem as artwork within the walls of a museum? SWIET – SWIT is the Frisian edition of the long-term research project SWEET – SWEAT and took de Onkruidenier to landscapes in Friesland around Leeuwarden and Beetsterzwaag. For this floating work, de Onkruidenier zoomed in on the Skrins polders, a meadow bird area located in a drained channel of the mediaeval Middelzee estuary. The living ecology of SWIET – SWIT became a discussion piece where we explored how we can adapt to the changing landscape and climate. What will we grow and eat in the future? Can we adapt ourselves just like plants do? The work uses speculation as a tool to question the controlling human behaviour directed at the landscape here in the Netherlands. What do you encounter when developing and displaying an ecosystem in a museum? Sharing the experiences of the work SWIET – SWIT, de Onkruidenier will exchange their thoughts on the ecological challenges of the Frisian landscape.

Anna-Rosja Haveman
Anna-Rosja Haveman is a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University of Groningen. In researching the work of artists past and present who represent, question and reimagine the Dutch coast, she explores contemporary ecocritical art, through a combination of historical research and the organization of interdisciplinary dialogue. As well as curating exhibitions of contemporary artists at the Groninger Museum and Museum Kranenburgh, she has published articles in Dutch art journals and international academic publications. She has been awarded multiple grants for her ongoing research questioning the role of art in the current ecological crises.

Abstract: Anna-Rosja Haveman shares insights from her research on contemporary artists who represent, question, and imagine the Dutch coast. Artists who engage with landscape are not (only) interested in presenting a beautiful picture, rather, they query ideas about nature in their ecocritical practices. She will draw on several examples in her dissertation and artworks from the Fries Museum’s collection that represent ‘the terraqueous’: of being both land and water. 

Prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann
Prof. dr. Ann-Sophie Lehmann is Chair of Art History & Material Culture at the University of Groningen. Her research develops a process-based approach to art and visual material culture. In particular, she studies how materials, tools, and practices partake in the meaning making of art; how images and texts represent and reflect creative practices; and how knowledge about making engenders material literacy. Her approach is transhistorical and includes old and new media, ranging from oil paint and clay to aniline dyes and software.


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