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July 13, 2021

‘My fourth year was all about being on the move’

Jolijn Amorison enrolled on Theatre in Education at ArtEZ in Zwolle at the age of eighteen. Now, four years later, she is graduating. How did she experience those years? And what will she do next? 

Jolijn and her fellow students are graduating this year fourteen strong. At twenty-two, she is one of the youngest. ‘I started the course with a fairly blank mind at eighteen. I didn’t really know what I wanted to study and then finally chose this, under the motto of: we’ll see what comes of it. I especially did something I enjoyed, and it stayed that way all these years.’ 

Curriculum change 

When she joined the course, there had just been a curriculum change. Jolijn has had a very different education from the batch before her. ‘That was very nice, because we were sitting in a kind of playground with the whole course, the students and the lecturers, wondering: what comes of this? For me it was especially fun, because I was eighteen and had no idea what I wanted to do, that I was given the responsibility to start anyway. That felt very free.’ 

Self-sufficient and personal 

That curriculum change also meant that her final year was different. ‘The fourth year used to be as follows: writing a dissertation, doing an internship, creating a final product. But this year, for the first time, things went differently. We started the year with the question: what do I want to do this year? Then you fill your ‘backpack’ throughout the year with ways of how you think you can answer that question.’ You don’t necessarily write a dissertation anymore, but you do research, and how exactly you do that is up to you, Jolijn says. ‘That means the year is very self-sufficient, but also very personal. Everybody’s year is different, everybody’s route is different.’ 

Building a portfolio 

It is still a ‘maker’s course’, so everyone makes a final product. But that can be anything. It’s up to you. ‘The internship has been changed to "working in context": you get to set up your own project and bring it into the field. So that’s a lot more open than it was. But it’s also a lot more fun, because it’s not about earning credits anymore, but about building a real portfolio for yourself.’ 

Cultural democracy 

Jolijn’s research took up most of her fourth year. She did research on cultural democracy: that comes from Great Britain and also seeks an entry into Dutch cultural life, and is about the idea that culture should belong to the whole of society and hence be accessible to the whole of society. ‘In my research I have tried to explain why that is important, how it can work and how we can integrate it into Dutch cultural policy. Woven through it was my own quest: I don’t want to be a theatre teacher, so where do I fit into such a cultural democracy?’ 

Get moving 

‘For my working in context, I worked on audience engagement. This is about making theatre accessible to all levels of society. I also designed a course to get young people to read more through theatre. I took a course in social entrepreneurship. And I made a film for the finals: Sunkings. All of these things are very much about getting moving – how can I move within the subject description on my diploma, how can cultural democracy move in cultural policy, how does society move towards culture? The finals film is about being young and not wanting to grow old. It is about how two young people of sixteen move in being young. It’s really a motion picture.’ 

Sunkings, procesfoto


Various options 

Theatre teacher sounds like someone who teaches theatre to a group of children. But that image is not correct, says Jolijn. ‘You are trained here to be a critical social thinker who comes up with a creative form of expression for it. This can be in front of the class, but it can also be done in a completely different way. One of my classmates makes spectacle theatre, another works at an asylum seekers’ centre to introduce the residents to Dutch culture but without language, and a third would like to be a teacher, preferably at a secondary school. Those are three different things you could do with the Theatre in Education course in Zwolle.’ 


After her graduation, Jolijn would very much like to continue studying. She has been saying that since her first year. ‘That’s because I really enjoy studying and being a student.’ But first she will take a gap year. ‘I have a part-time job with a politically independent organisation that seeks to make politics accessible to young people. This is a nice extension of my research into how culture can be made recognisable for young people. In addition, I will set up creative projects abroad. I’ll have plenty of time for that next year.’ 

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