Applied Research in Higher Education

Today I went to a ‘lecture-day’ about Applied Research in Higher Professional Education (Folder praktijkgericht onderzoek in het HBO). The topic is considered relevant because since 2009 it has been put on the agenda of every higher education-institute in the Netherlands. This includes my own institute of Art&Design. I was interested because I find it such an essential aspect of learning, but I also consider it challenging and complex. There were several speakers who shared their thoughts on the subject.

Liset Munnike gave some nice insights:

  1. Issues that students often run into with applied Research

– the complexity of the process vs the independence of the study

– the transition from; practice-issue to research question

– the transition form research findings to ‘research-product’

– the students ability to write (scientific writing)

2. How to teach teachers to assist students with research:

The first priority should be to teach teachers how to assist students with research. The focus should be on ‘how to assist students’, instead of trying to make teachers good at doing (their own) research. In training teachers the focus should be on what you want to achieve with the students. An important competency for a Research teacher is to be able to contextualize scenario’s/situations for students. Let students see how to connect theory with their ‘local-issue’.

I didn’t like the story of the second speaker very much, but I do think there were some interesting questions by the audience:

– How do teachers asses the students ‘will to research’?

– Are teachers trying to teach research skills, or establish a research-attitude?

– How do we prevent ‘checklists’ to become ‘overdominant’ in research education?

After the guest-speakers we got some samples of ‘best-practices’. Manon Joosten presented her visual ‘research-journey-map’. I liked the idea, but found her concept a bit too strict and confined. The talk of Jochem Naafs appealed a lot more to me. He accepted that not all students have the same skills. He is searching for ways in which students can connect their qualities with research. I have an interest in the following of his topics:  Lecture performance, Merging, Poetic Feedback, Comtemplative Dialogue (see DasArts Feedback).I think these can be interesting methods for Illustration students to acquire a deeper understanding in their education.

I also followed a ‘workshop/lecture: Safety & Risk-takin in Research. I liked the topic because I think one of the issues with research is that students can experience it as frightfully personal; (which I can remember from my own studies). I liked how Stijn Bollinger explained that students must do 2 complex things in applied research: 1. make sense of the problem & 2. be able to communicate their sense-making to others. He had also designed an interesting method on how to adress the issues of fear/anxiety with students.

The day was concluded by a decent presentation of Daan Andriessen about the possible role of lectors in higher education. I though he was good because he was very sharp in defining what the discussion was about. He indicated the pro’s and cons of connecting students to research by lectors. He was not a big fan of letting students work on the research of lectors because its such a different form of research.

Enough to contemplate on and discuss with students.

Presentations published via FactaHenri Ponds [Compatibiliteitsmodus] Fokke Brouwer Guusje en Stephan_compressed Stijn Bollinger Subsessie Tuinzaal Presentatie Daan Andriessen Jochem Naafs

Illustration WdKA Studyday – step1


“WdKA – Illustration – Morale Patch”

Yesterday we had a STUDIEDAG-ILLUSTRATIE-2016. After a    significant proces of educational changes at the WdKA in the last 4 years, I sensed the urgency to get together with the teachers of the department of Illustration.  If the WdKA has changed its program; what does that imply for our core-values of Illustration within the WdKA?

We had presentations by Maarten Uwland & Loes Sikkes as a    reminder that  education can always be different. I believe that how we provide our education; what we teach, how we teach, and why; should be a conscious decision.

We talked together about our aspirations for the next 5 years, with Anneke Seelen as our moderator. During our talks Kim Ravers  illustrated our first concepts and ideas. Furthermore every teacher has deliverd his/her own image of how they want the department to be seen by others.

It has been an exciting start, and I will be looking forward at reflecting to this day at a later moment in the proces. For now the cast is die!


How to: Build organizational capacity

Today was my last day with “the Movement 2.0” (De Beweging 2.0). I was invited in the beginning of this year by Ernst Phaff to become part of a group of employees who have an ambition for improving the quality of education at Hogeschool Rotterdam. Perviously there was: The Beweging 1.0; I was part of  2.0. The Movement consisted out of: a series of classes, moments of inspiration and reflection about realizing organzational change hosted by Killian Bennebroek Gravenhorst .

At the end of the program we decided to collect the reflections of all participants and publish them in a small publication. This publication was designed and illustrated by Yara Kronieger.

Publication: DeBeweging2.0-HogeschoolRotterdam-2016

I also created an illustration depicting the possible influence of 3 types of change agents when trying to build organizational capacity for change. I think the answer to how to build organizational change lies in making new connections, and to know how to make the right combinations. I hope to be able to reflect next year in how this worked out for me.






Writings – Pyramid of Learning

After a difficult project with illustration students I made this illustration for them. The project was difficult because some students lost motivation and could not complete the demands. I wanted them to understand that big projects cannot always be done in the final hour. Students often find it hard to organize their time effectively in long projects.

I tried to explain that this is a common problem for both students as well as professionals. I would call it: “The Monster”. The Monster appears when you’re confronted with your own limitations. When you don’t feel you have a creative solution,..At this moment I often see students “disappearing”. They leave class a bit earlier, miss the next class,.and gradually they abandon ship.
My advice; if the monster appears; become tactical. If you can’t shock-and-aw with your creations, than at least just deliver the minimum requirements. I think that part can be hard for art students because they have such strong relation with the products they make. The Monster is difficult; but bit-by-bit and with the help of critical friends it can be done. It’s not easy, but things are only easy if you’re a genius. Maybe the pyramid can be a reminder in the future.


CD-cover – review: Boulevard of Broken Dreams

CD Artwork Review

“The Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, Illustrated by Kim Hoorweg

review by Danai Fuengshunut,

1st of December 2015


In November 2015 I received a special present from one of our Illustration students. Kim Hoorweg had sent me a copy of her (latest) CD: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. I found it special to receive this product in which she had combined both her talent as a singer as well as an illustrator.

Illustrators who make music don’t seem to be a rare combination. As course director at the Willem de Kooning Academy I have met several Illustration students who had the talent to combine illustration and music in their careers. For example; Bruno Ferro Xavier da Silva, Coen Hamelink, Marvin Pieters, Nina Roothaan, Clemens den Exter, Frank Stok (Franky Sticks).

Last year we also had an Illustration student who graduated with his alter ego; “Ying Yang Murda” who was a gangster-rapper. Lizer van Hattem designed the visual identity for his alter-ego, which included the video-clip: “Only Big in Japan”. In his own words Lizer explained that his voice was not suitable to become a gangster-rapper, but this didn’t stop him from becoming his alter ego in his graduation project.

However unlike Lizer; Kim Hoorweg appears to be a most talented and professional singer. And not only according to my personal taste. She’s not a newcomer either, because this is already her 5th album. “Opusdesoul” considers her to be one of Netherlands “biggest jazztalents”, and he’s very positive about her latest album (Opusdesoul, 2015). Anneke describes her latest work with Benjamin Herman as a “beautiful ode to Django Reinhardt’s Paris” (, 2015). Julien Serge writes a “Tinkerbell-singer with magic elves dust, and a clear voice with joy and warmth” He considers her latest CD: “a heart-warming embrace of love, sentiment and respect” (, 2015).

I found it interesting to read her reviews and listen to her songs, because to be honest I know her primarily as an illustration major student. However I do see a relationship between how her music is described by others, and how I experience her as an illustration student. She’s very passionate in both dimensions. She loves to draw and tell stories. She loves printmaking, and for example published an enticing zine, “Katzen in der Hitze” together with another talented illustrator: Karida van Bochove. Furthermore I believe she has had a great experience as an exchange student to study Illustration at the School of Visual Arts  in New York, where she was inspired by teachers such as Sam Weber.

When I take all those things into account and look at her CD artwork; my conclusion is it simply makes sense. I could talk about target-audience, communicative value, typography, lay out or technical skill in execution, but there seems to be no relevance in asking those questions here. Her well-balanced color pallet, and clear shaped-illustrations all seem naturally connected to each other. Her sober selfportrait on the cover seems honest and sincere, and not misplaced or boastful. Furthermore I love how she combines traditional techniques such as ink and drawing with digital layers and collage. It leaves me wondering which layers she has left hidden.

When I compare her design to “35 Best Album Covers We’ve Seen in 2015” . I find Kim’s design very strong because of the integrity and outspoken personal Illustration style.  Covers such as “FKA Twigs” or Melanie Martinez’s “Cry Baby”, maybe visually outspoken, but I don’t feel the same integrity. With Kim’s design it feels as if she has found a balance between herself, her music and the artwork. Not a boring balance for that matter; but more a dark, warm, provocative, enticing and dreamlike balance.


Danai Fuengshunut

Course Director Illustration

Willem de Kooning Academie,