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  1. Symposium Social Safety: Towards a Restorative University | 19 oktober

Symposium Social Safety: Towards a Restorative University | 19 oktober

Donderdag 19 oktober organiseren de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NSCR, KU Leuven en Restorative Justice Nederland het symposium Social Safety: Towards a Restorative University. Dit symposium brengt medewerkers, studenten en de ondersteunende netwerken samen voor een dialoog over sociale veiligheid op de werkplek en over het creëren van een restorative university.
Door Dr Nieke Elbers | 5 september 2023

Deze tekst is alleen beschikbaar in het Engels.
Aanmelden voor dit symposium. 

We all want a pleasant and safe work and study environment. To create and maintain such an environment, we need to talk about how we treat each other and want to treat each other. The academic environment is known for high competition, temporary contracts and power inequality. This may lead to undesirable behavior, such as (sexual) intimidation, (micro)aggression, bullying and discrimination. Interpersonal conflicts are currently resolved in a legal manner. Unfortunately, dialogue, learning and prevention are often lacking. An alternative route is restorative justice, aimed at jointly repairing the suffering and the relationship. Restorative justice generally results in better and more sustainable outcomes for both victims and perpetrators.


11.00 - 11.10   Opening  

  • Fleur Souverein (Moderator; Restorative Justice Nederland / PhD candidate VUmc) | Welcome
  • Nieke Elbers (Associate prof. VU Law; researcher NSCR) | Aim of today

11.10 - 12.00   PART I: What is the problem? Social safety in academia

  • Marcel Nollen (Executive Board)
  • Renée-Andrée Koornstra (VU HRM Director)
  • Lies Poesiat (VU Ombudsman)
  • Susanne Täuber (Research fellow University of Amsterdam) | Powerimbalance and social safety: implications for policy

12.00 - 13.00   PART II: How does it feel? 

  • Het Acteursgenootschap #MeTooAcademia: The Learning Curve | Theatre and discussion

13.00 - 14.00   Lunch

14.00 - 15.00   PART III: What is the solution? Restorative practices in academia

  • Carla-Maria Verwer (School of narrative leadership; Catalyst social safety TU/e) | Culture of accountability. About ownership and leadership in Academia
  • Mara Schiff (Associate prof. FAU College of Social Work & Criminal Justice) | Challenges and Opportunities of Integrating Restorative Practices in Educational Settings
  • Heidi Mertens (Diversity Policy Officer KU Leuven) | Social safety policy: lessons learned at KU Leuven

15.00 - 15.45   PART IV: How to proceed? Panel discussion

  • Mara Schiff, Heidi Mertens, Carla Maria Verwer, and Fleur Souverein (Moderator) | What are the barriers and facilitators for restorative practices at universities? How can restorative practices address power imbalance? How do restorative practices relate to punishment? 

15.45 - 16.00   Closure and reflection

  • Marcel Nollen (Executive Board)

16.00 - 17.00   Drinks

This symposium is aimed at all staff, students and support networks.

Practical information

This symposium is free of charge, but you do need to register.
Date & Address: 19 October 2023, 11.00 am at the Vrije Universiteit, Agora 1, De Boelelaan 1105 in Amsterdam.

About Aspasia

The Symposium Social Safety: Towards a Restorative University is part of a research project by Nieke Elbers, who received an NWO Aspasia Grant for this. The aim of her research is to apply best practices from abroad at her workplaces, the VU and the NSCR, and to achieve a safe and recovery-oriented climate. The Aspasia grant promotes gender equality in science.

Read the NSCR BLOG by Nieke Elbers about a restorative academic environment. 

Dr Nieke Elbers


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