Gender multiculturaliteit Katrine Smiet
Gender multiculturaliteit Katrine Smiet

Comenius Senior Fellowship for Katrine Smiet

Katrine Smiet, programme coordinator for the Philosophy, Politics and Society (PPS) bachelor's programme receives a Senior Comenius Fellowship of €100,000 for her project 'Sites for Unlearning - Philosophy, Politics and Society'. For two and a half years, the undergraduate PPS programme will become an incubator for educational innovation. The aim of the project is to achieve more diverse and inclusive education.

Diversity and inclusion

Smiet is very happy with the grant, 'This is fantastic news because it allows us to really get to work on this important and pressing issue: how do we make our education more diverse and inclusive? This issue also resonates strongly with students, who ask 'why is our curriculum so Eurocentric and white?' The Comenius fellowship really provides the time and space to work on this'. The fellowship allows what can otherwise be challenging: 'Normally, teachers implement fundamental changes in their teaching mainly on weekends and in stolen hours in the evening. We use the money to give lecturers time during their normal working hours to give more shape to educational innovation. And to give students a more active voice and role in what their education looks like.'

In the course of the project, a number of subjects within the PPS programme will be chosen to become 'sites for unlearning'. These chosen  courses will offer more space for change and innovation. Space that students and lecturers can use together to arrive at different texts, work forms and test forms, for example. 'So it is about participatory action research in which students and teachers really get to work together,' Smiet explains. 'We provide workshops and support for the participating students and teachers, so that they can discover together what they need to unlearn in order to achieve more diverse and inclusive education.'


We often think that learning is the core business of the university, but often enough, unlearning something is just as important, Smiet argues. 'Ingrained thinking patterns and self-evident norms, for example, how do we get rid of them?' Smiet derives the concept of unlearning from Indian post-colonial philosopher Gayatri Spivak. 'The concept is very influential, but less so within our own curriculum. This is a way of changing that.' The tools and handholds developed during the project will not remain confined to the PPS-programme. Smiet and her team will put the lessons learned into a toolbox that will be made available to education professionals at other faculties and institutions.



Contact information

Vragen over dit project? Neem contact op met communicatie [at] (communicatie[at]ftr[dot]ru[dot]nl)