23-25 JANUARY 2019 

In the first conference in Amsterdam, the focus concentrates on increasing awareness on a personal level and in general terms of diversity and inclusiveness in our film school communities. We will scrutinize aspects that are relevant to our communities such as representation, power and politics, our selection processes as well as curriculum design and how these influence our communities and the films we are producing.

Beginning with keynote speakers and continuing with parallel workshops, culminating on the second day in a plenary discussion, participants are invited to share their experiences and discuss the events of the conference. The design of the workshops in Amsterdam allow us to gather questions and make an inventory of the status quo, especially but not exclusively with a focus on cultural diversity. This will be our foundation for the conference in Cologne. With a focus on gender diversity, in Cologne we will take a more active role in looking at perspectives for the future in terms of potential solutions and perhaps new implications of diversity issues that were identified in the first conference

To ensure the continuity and connection between both conferences, both days in Amsterdam will be supported with a conceptual summary (by Elonka Soros) and a visual protocol (graphic recording by Christiane Brückner) that sum up the significant aspects as well as findings of the conference. The two parts are relatively close together (Amsterdam in January 2019 and Cologne in March 2019) and provide a completed process for the participants (although both conferences are standing on their own and can be visited separately).

Insights by Christiane Büchner:

Insights Amsterdam:

 Amsterdam registration deadline: 20th December

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | 23-25 JANUARY 2019

Download Schedule Amsterdam

24 January 2019

Projection room, Netherlands Film Academy (2nd floor)


Elonka Soros, Diversity and inclusion consultant

What is best for today is not necessarily the same as what was best for yesterday. In academia, as in life, there will need to be some re-evaluation, a recognition that previous assumptions, preferences and actions may no longer be relevant or sustainable. In the European media and film sectors a re-adjustment is already underway and at a pace. Changing demographics and audience tastes (driven in part by digital technologies), are forcing media companies in the commercial and public sectors to urgently review their strategies for survival. Under increasing scrutiny is the role of the film academy and media school. Can they deliver what’s ‘best’ and fit for the future; a diverse and diversity literate workforce, agile and responsive to differences in taste and perspective, able to reflect and represent the diversity of a globalised industry, connected to and connecting audiences? In this keynote address to the GEECT 2019 conference Elonka Soros will share insights from her current European creative industry practice as it attempts to unshackle itself from the collective biases and assumptions of yesterday and accelerates efforts towards greater diversity on and off screen – including what happens when it is perceived that the academic structures designed to support and replenish are out of touch. Her message to the collective will be Diversify or Die!

Elonka Soros is a diversity and inclusion specialist working in the broadcast, media, creative and cultural industries. She is a former BBC News Editor and programme maker with over 25 years of practice working in multi-media production studios and newsrooms. She is an honorary member of the European Broadcasting Union Intercultural & Diversity Group and developed the 'Unconscious Bias Project Europe' in collaboration with colleagues from Denmark and Holland. As an expert in cultural intelligence and the impact of demographic change in the creative sectors, Elonka is working with businesses and organisations to support sustainable futures through the development of new talent and creation of inclusive cultures in the workplace.

25 January 2019

Projection room, Netherlands Film Academy (2nd floor)

Orwa Nyrabia, Director of IDFA

Abstract: Diversity, Inclusivity, Pluralism… various words to describe it! Words do matter. Our choice of words conveys more than it seems. Some look at “inclusivity” as a good deed, as a matter of sharing, of being good. Others look at it as a necessary fight, a quest to be acknowledged, seen, recognized. Some see it as part of a system of colonialism, slavery and various forms of historical exploitation, while others see it as a threat to the peace of homogeneity, A few see it as a check box on funding applications and reports. Between ethics and pragmatism, between this matter being about “us” or about “them”, this keynote attempts to examine the questions.

Orwa Nyrabia (1977) is the new artistic director of IDFA. Nyrabia, who was born in Syria, is well-known in the documentary world as a producer, festival director, curator and mentor. Nyrabia started his career as an actor and journalist. In 2004, he started producing independent documentary films, including successful titles such as Return to Homs (which opened IDFA 2013 and was an award-winner at Sundance Film Festival) and Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (Cannes 2014).
In 2008, Nyrabia and his partner Diana el-Jeiroudi set up the first documentary festival in Syria, DOX BOX, bringing renowned filmmakers such as D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Patricio Guzmán and Nicolas Philibert to Damascus. To focus attention on the violation of human rights in his country, in March 2012 and 2013 he organised with his team a Global Day for Syria, with Syrian films being screened in cities around the world. In 2012, Nyrabia was arrested in Damascus for his political activism. Prominent figures from the film world, including Jeremy Irons, Mike Leigh and Danny Boyle, protested against his arrest in a letter to the Syrian government. Following release he fled the country, going on to work as a producer in Egypt and Berlin.

Nyrabia is a member of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Deutsche Filmakademie, the International Documentary Association and the European Documentary Network. He has received several awards and distinctions during his career, including the George Polk Award for Documentary Film and a European Documentary Network Award.

Orwa Nyrabia has been involved with IDFA for some time now, in a variety of roles. He worked as a programmer on the theme programme Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World (2017), has sat on the festival jury and was active as a mentor and advisor for IDFA academy and the IDFA Bertha Fund.

Arrival day, 23 January 2019 from 2-6 pm

13:30 h - Departure for the Diversity District Tour (lobby of the Student Hotel Amsterdam City)

Diversity District Tour - Kick Off Workshop (optional)

Abstract                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A first opportunity to explore the theme of representation and to experience Amsterdam subcultures through an exploratory ‘photo walk’ in the ‘Nieuw-West’ district. Participants will photograph the objects, situations and people that catch their eyes, before selecting a couple of images, and adding a title and description of what can be seen. The group consists of a mix of inhabitants of the neighbourhood and participants in the symposium.

Goal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The workshop will end with a discussion providing an opportunity for self-reflection (fascinating to see how everyone sees the same but still has their own view of reality).

Method                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The PAPA Method of reading the street consists of a photo walk by up to eight/ ten participants, professionals and amateurs in any mix. The only assignment is to take pictures of ‘whatever catches the eye’. It is a Walk and Talk. Outsiders add a fresh gaze and pose questions, insiders can lead us to area’s we would not otherwise have access to and give information. Straight after the walk we upload six photos each, on the PAPA website (3 pairs of two pics). It is then that we ask ourselves what it was that caught our attention, which we express in a title and a short descriptive text to accompany our pictures. A picture with a title and caption is ‘a detail with a story’ or an observation. Subsequently we will present the individual stories to each other. It is always moving to see how eight people who have made the same walk together, saw the same but looked so different. Finally, we discuss the common stories, the ‘Tactics of Life’ of the area where we walked.

About Lino Hellings

In 1975 Lino Hellings took off as a theatre maker in Dogtroep. In Europe Dogtroep grew out to be a well-known company in location based theatre. After seventeen years she left the group to continue working as an individual artist making art for public spaces like hospitals, schools and railway stations. In 2008 she decided to concentrate on the research part of her work and so she founded PAPA, an international photo press agency. PAPA (participating artists’ press agency) is nomadic, it doesn’t have a fixed office but works from temporary offices in cities all over the world. |

Moderator: Lino Hellings.

(optional - please see registration form)

24 January, 11.15 - 13.15 h & 15.00 - 17.00 h

Studio 4, Netherlands Film Academy (2nd floor)

Workshop 1: Language and body language: a workshop for self-reflection

Effective language skills (verbal and non-verbal) are essential for teachers to connect with
their students. However, staff members and directors should also utilize effective communication skills, as our aim to be inclusive schools requires inclusive communication skills. In this workshop we will explore different methods to connect with each other stepping over barriers of our apparent differences. How to make contact and truthfully connect when you come from different worlds, speak different languages. Maartje and Babs will share experiences and show examples of their work, they both have a lot of different experience working with people from diverse background, religion and cultures.

Together with the participants we will explore some methods and exercises involving body language, specific interview techniques and ways to overcome our cultural bias and differences. Audiovisuals will be used to show the understanding of listening.

Create awareness for the unconscious bias we exhibit every day in our language and body language, and how we communicate through it.

About Maartje Nevejan
Nevejan is a multimedia/ film-maker who used to make lots of programmes, films and TV-series about political diversity theme: integration, racism, gender politics, nation states, religion. Her work broadcasted on national Dutch TV as on several international networks, amongst them Al Jazeera.Since 5 years she changed her filmmakers gaze from the outside world towards the inward worlds. Diversity for her is now how to tell multiple-voiced stories about a state of mind/body.She made a ballet with 54 cars for the disabled and 70 ballet dances of the Royal Dutch Ballet, and directed a TV series about it.Next to this she directed a long documentary and art project about people with schizophrenia.Currently Nevejan is finishing a project called:" If You Are Not There, Where, are you? ", A book, art exhibition, VR experience and a feature film about the worlds where kids and young adults go to if they are “gone”, when you have an epileptic absence seizure. Where are you, when you are not there?

About Babs Gons
Babs Gons is a spoken word artiest, writer, host and teacher of creative writing. She regularly
works as a teacher of spoken word and creative writing at schools and in youth production houses, gives master classes writing for performance and guides talent towards their goal. She has made plays with habitants of AZC’s (asylum seekers centers in The Netherlands),
lead a storytelling workshop project with women in Sudan, working with multiple languages.
Babs Gons is one of the most active spoken word artist of The Netherlands, she performs on radio and television and on countless stages and traveled with her work to South Africa, Sudan, Great Britain, Belgium and Brasil. Babs Gons is also a host of various programs, including the musical-literary show Babs's Word Salon.

Moderators: Maartje Nevejan & Babs Gons

24 January, 11.15 - 13.15 h & 15.00 - 17.00 h

Room 701, Academy of Theatre and Dance (7th floor)

Workshop 2: Canon Exposed

Abstract                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       This workshop draws from existing canons used in film education to expose the inherent historical framework in which current curricula are devised and implemented.

This joint investigation explores the historical and political frameworks of film education. It opens towards the possibilities for broadening the curriculum (which will be the subject of the Canon Expanded workshop taking place in Cologne in March 2019).

Method                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Guided discussion with small joint explorations.

Goal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To expose the frameworks that inform current curricula.

About Mieke Bernink

Mieke Bernink is professor and head of the MA-programme ‘Artistic Research in and through Cinema’ at the Netherlands Film Academy. Having studies philosophy and psychology before bidding farewell to the academic world to pursue a career in film criticism as editor of the Dutch film and visual culture magazine Skrien, she subsequently worked as Secretary of Film and Media Education at the Netherlands Council for Culture. In 2008 she was approached by the Film Academy to set up a master’s programme. As professor she’s also, with colleague professor Eyal Sivan, in charge of the Film Academy’s Research Group on Artistic Research, focussing on curriculum development, media technology and narration, and sustainability of artistic research and production.

About Jyoti Mistry

Jyoti Mistry is Professor in FILM at Valand Academy in Sweden and works in film both as a research form and as a mode of artistic practice.  Select film works include: When I grow up I want to be a black man (2017), Impunity (2014), 09: 21:25 (2011), Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (2010) and I mike what I like (2006). Select publications include: Gaze Regimes: Films and Feminisms in Africa (2015). Places to Play: practice, research, pedagogy (2017); special issue of the Journal of African Cinema: “Film as Research Tool: Practice and Pedagogy” (2018).  She was DAAD Researcher at Babelsberg Konrad Wolf Film University (Berlin). In 2016-2017 she was Artist in Residence at Netherlands Film Academy.  In 2016 she was recipient of the Cilect Teaching Award in recognition for innovation in film research and pedagogy. 

Moderators: Jyoti Mistry & Mieke Bernink

24 January, 11.15 - 13.15 h & 15.00 - 17.00 h

Room 4.15, Netherlands Film Academy (4th floor)

Workshop 3: Power and politics

Abstract                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Participants will map out the politics and power dynamics that play out within European Film Schools. During these analytical phases, each team will work together to build a frame; a common understanding of the systems in which they operate. By introducing the theme of diversity, each team will identify what they see as being the challenges and opportunities on which new strategies could be based.

Method                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Within the setting of a Systemic Thinking methodology, all participants will gather around a single table to share with one another how the dynamics of power and politics are driving their own communities. Not understanding the deeper systemic dynamics in organizations leads to inadequate strategies that are designed to manage them. In each workshop, we’ll build common understanding of where we are right now, the challenges and opportunities that exist and the direction in which future strategies may want to go.

Participants work together to capture the ecosystems in which they operate.
By mapping out these worlds, they’ll identify the stakeholders and the interrelationships between them. They’ll reveal the drives, dependencies and motives that fundamentally define these relationships. This will lay bare the currency of power and the machinery
of politics that lie within. By working directly with system complexity and these dynamics, we’ll establish a common frame from which more relevant strategies can emerge.
The first questions as to how to create strategies that deal with power and political situations, within each institutions will be shared in the last session and archived for part 2 (Köln).

About Paul Tyler
“If you’re writing a TV series, designing a new marketing campaign, refocusing your company’s vision, defining policy, capturing best practice, innovating a new service, organizing a conference, negotiating a contract or lobbying a government, you’re working within a system.

Paul brings a highly analytical, creative and often humorous approach to reveal these complex worlds. 25+ years experience developing and producing concepts, strategies and projects within the cultural, public and corporate sectors. By applying a systemic mindset, he pinpoints the challenges, opportunities and mechanisms for choice-making within the systems in which we work, rest and play. He reveals the drives, dependencies and motives that fundamentally define the relationships between characters, contributors or users. This exposes the choices each makes, the values on which those choices are made and therefore what’s really at stake. All backed-up with a sharp editorial eye that focuses on logic, narrative, ethics and ultimately what makes people tick.

Nominated for a BAFTA (2005), BBC Creativity Award (2004) and Association of Online Publishers award (2005), Paul went on to win the Prix Jeunesse (2006) web award for originating, studio directing and producing the BBC’s flagship cross-media show BAMZOOKi. He co-designed the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology’s Digital Concept Development graduate programme in 2010 that focused on communication, commerce and marketing. He originates from London and lives and works out of Copenhagen.“

Moderator: Paul Tyler

24 January, 11.15 - 13.15 h & 15.00 - 17.00 h

Room 4.14, Netherlands Film Academy (4th floor)

Workshop 4: Representation

Using the photos from the Kick Off workshop with Lino Hellings from January 23th.
What does it mean for the quality of storytelling in movies when all moviemakers look alike? What stories do we miss as an audience? In this workshop we will discuss the lack of cultural diversity in the film industry in terms of representation but also in the way we (are taught to) tell stories. After an introduction to the topic of representation and imaging the participants will take a closer look at the photos made during the workshop by Lino Hellings on the arrival day. After that, participants will be invited to share positive and negative examples of representation and imaging from their countries and debate about several topics relating to representation such as 'cultural appropriation in storytelling' and ‘stereotyping’.


To open a forum in which the institutions can express their concerns around representation, be it on screen or within the everyday working context. We also want to create more awareness about cultural diversity and what the lack of it means within the movie industry.

About Zoë Papaikonomou
Zoë Papaikonomou is an investigative journalist and a media educator. She is the author of the book ‘Got an angry muslim for me?’ A book about inclusive journalism. She has 13 years of experience as a media professional. She started her journalism career at Amsterdam Television (AT5) after studying History and Arabic Language. After that, Zoë Papaikonomou was a lecturer in Journalism for five years.

Moderator: Zoë Papaikonomou