The Gerrit Rietveld Academie is pleased to announce that a new Lector has been appointed for the Art & Public Space (LAPS)/The City lectorate. Patricia de Vries started in her new role on 1 February 2022, taking over from our esteemed colleague Jeroen Boomgaard, who retired on 1 March 2022.

Previously, Patricia de Vries was a philosopher at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University. Before her appointment in Maastricht, she worked for many years as a researcher and project leader at the Institute of Network Cultures.

In the autumn of 2021, an eight-member appointment advisory committee (BAC) made a selection from the candidates for this position. In the end, Patricia de Vries was chosen unanimously as the most suitable successor to Jeroen Boomgaard. De Vries has extensive experience with practice-oriented artistic research and has been able to facilitate, promote and support new research collaborations. She has the ambition to redefine and strengthen the role of art and design in the research field of public space.

Art, design and the public domain

Over the past 19 years, and under the leadership of Jeroen Boomgaard, the Art & Public Space (LAPS) lectorate has acquired a respected position within and outside the academy as a research group and knowledge centre. During this period, the lectorate has focused on developing, making available and presenting knowledge about art and public space. LAPS has built up a reputation for researching fundamental questions and principles concerning art, design and the public domain and making the results public through symposia, lectures, debates, publications, (on site) art projects and exhibitions.

Expanded research area

Under the direction of Patricia de Vries, the research area of the lectorship will be expanded to ‘The City’ in the coming years. Research will focus on public space as a fundamental part of a democratic urban environment. A democratic urban environment calls for the constant exercise of considering the social, the political, the ecological and the aesthetic all together.

The focus will be on spatial imagination and alternative ways of working and living in the city - from speculative urban design, and interventions in public space, archives and institutions, to proposals for alternative (digital) infrastructures and (building) materials. Issues such as precarious labour, the privatisation and digitisation of the urban environment, or the consequences of sea level rise for urban life, are investigated in collaboration with education programmes, teachers and researchers within the academy, and relevant partners. The relationship between society, art, design and education is the common thread.

Further development

With the appointment of Patricia de Vries, the academy wants to continue what has been achieved with LAPS while taking it in a new direction. She will be responsible for the further development and reassessment outlined above, for example by initiating, developing and conducting practice-oriented research in interaction with professional practice and in connection with education. She will play a pivotal role in this triangle, in collaboration with other research units and supported by the general organization for the policy development of artistic research within the academy.

Coming up

In September of this year, De Vries will deliver her inaugural lecture.

If you would like to be kept informed about The City research group and/or attend the lectorship speech, please contact Christie Bakker via christie.bakker[at]

In October a gathering will be organized as a thank you to Jeroen Boomgaard for his enduring dedication as a lector at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. You can also request information about this using the contact above.

About the appointment advisory committee (BAC)

In order to make a widely supported decision, the BAC consisted of a variety of delegates from both inside and outside the academy:

· Annelies van Eenennaam, Chair of the Executive Board, Gerrit Rietveld Academie

· Jaap Vinken, education and research policy advisor to the Sandberg Institute and Gerrit Rietveld Academie

· Tom Vandeputte, Head of the Critical Studies Department, Sandberg Institute

· Sabine Niederer, Visual Methodologies Lecturer, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS)

· Nick Axel, Head of the Architectural Design Department, Gerrit Rietveld Academie

· Esther Polak, visual artist

· Ola Hassanain, Blacker Blackness programme tutor, Sandberg Institute, and artist

· Joyce Drosterij, LAPS research coordinator