Across the Board 2016

Across the Board is a long-term platform for professional development through cross-disciplinary exchange. Led by visiting tutors – significant agents in the fields of art, business, and politics – a select group of promising professionals will work together to locate (and re-evaluate) the shared values between their respective domains and to confront the opposing philosophies and methodological frictions that arise through their exchange. The programme, with a series of masterclasses at its core, will attempt to co-formulate a more pluralised and nuanced trajectory, to be activated within their independent domains and within the cultural field at large. Towards the long-term goal of exchange between the participants, Across the Board aims to not only fuel the foundation of connections during the programme, but to also provide a lasting platform between its future alumni.


All Across the Board masterclasses will take place on Fridays from 2pm until approx. 6pm. Masterclasses will take place at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, with the exception of 18 November, which will take place at Gallery Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam.

30 September 2016

Masterclass Cuauhtemoc Médina
Art and Society: Beyond Utility

What is the relationship of arts and of culture with our times, with society and with history? Has the growing integration of art into culture finally erased the metaphor of a different temporality between the two? And what agency does art have today vis-a-vis other domains, which role does it play in the private and social spheres? There are at least two senses in which the contemporariness of artistic culture involves a poignant turn. There is the blatant immediacy of the relationship between a contemporary practice and its host society, and then there is its integration into a critical apparatus. As such the current radicalization of art and the constant politicization of its practice could seem to be dangerous symptoms of a changing relation between art and its time. Has contemporary art a responsibility in protecting cultural critique and social radicalism from the banality of the present?

Cuauhtémoc Medina is a curator, art critic, and historian who lives and works in Mexico City.

7 October 2016

Masterclass Renilde Steeghs
Cultural Diplomacy: soft power in international relations

Cultural diplomacy as well as the idea of culture as an instrument of so-called ‘soft power’ are both controversial and problematic. Although cultural diplomacy has a rich history, there is little in-depth research on the topic. Discussion about these notions is usually conducted in politicized settings, focusing on questions of effectiveness and impact, often resulting in stalemate between ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. In her masterclass, Renilde Steeghs will explore the question of the role of arts and culture in our international relations today. In our highly connected global environment, is there still a role for policies aiming at international cultural co-operation? And if so, who are the players, what should be the goals and purposes and how should it be conducted?

Renilde Steeghs is Ambassador of International Cultural Cooperation for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

21 October 2016

Masterclass Ron Soonieus
Leadership across Cultures: shifts in governance

Society increasingly demands the business world to take long-term considerations into account in strategic decision-making. Short-term actions that are harmful to the future of the company and its social and ecological context are more and more often attacked publicly. Consequently, businesses call for an answer as to what the concept of value creation and more fundamental management principles should entail. This development seemingly contrasts with society’s demands towards the cultural sector. Society increasingly asks the cultural sector to show results (expressed financially) on the short term. Where to find a balance? What can we learn from each other? During this session, we will delve deeper into concepts such as leadership, culture, value creation and we will cover their differences and similarities in the art world, businesses and politics.

Ron Soonieus is Managing Partner of cultural leadership firm Camunico, and former Managing Director ABN AMRO.

4 November 2016

Masterclass Gabriel Lester
Interdisciplinarity in Practice

We have entered a time where artistic practice can easily move through, join with, and exchange across mediums and disciplines. Gabriel Lester is exemplary for this new mode of operating, having covered quite the (inter)disciplinary ground. His practice has evolved from prose and electronic music, through studying fine arts and cinema, to a broad spectrum of mediums and outcomes. Lester hasn’t only worked in a wide variety of art forms, he has also assumed a fairly extraordinary collaborative approach across these practices and domains, often working with others from individuals to larger collectives. How have the different arts developed along these evolving disciplinary borders, and what can we learn from all the different sectors, domains, and infrastructures that the artist has passed through? In his works, he has questioned the cultural position of the artist and of art in general. Emerging from this cluster of artistic positions, what could we make out to be the role of the artist and the function of art?

Gabriel Lester is inventor, artist, and filmmaker.

18 November 2016

Masterclass Wilfried Lentz and Martijn Sanders
The Business of Art: art and value(s)

Throughout the history of art, the relationship of art with business has been met with reluctance. How can something as immeasurable as beauty, emotion, or cultural critique be valued in such concrete terms as financial worth? In a double-bill collaborative masterclass, gallerist Wilfried Lentz together with chairman, cultural governance advisor, and passionate art collector Martijn Sanders will share their experiences and perspectives relating to the business-side of art. Lentz and Sanders will address types of value and questions of value-creation in the arts, they will share their insights in the world of art collecting, and will discuss questions of cultural management and governance. Together, the two of them will be asked to share their most telling experiences of the tensions in, or the balancing act of, professional careers where art and business meet.

Wilfried Lentz is founder and owner of Gallery Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam.
Martijn Sanders is Chairman of the board of Holland Festival, and former director of Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

2 December 2016

Masterclass Jeanne Gaakeer
Culture and Language

Interdisciplinarity has become a keyword on many levels, from scientific research to community work and festival organisations. On many accounts, the collaborative efforts of these disciplines or domains are hindered by problems of understanding or “translation”, limiting the outcome. Quite often this can be the result of a lack of reflection on the particularity of what gets brought together, known as the problem of quiddity: ‘what is actually...’ and ‘what are its principles, values, and discursive aspects?’ But also the lack of acknowledgment for differences between linguistic on the one end and technical and technological human undertakings on the other, resulting in the lack of attention for methodological differences. At that point it will be hard to find understanding or common ground; and often collaboration gets stuck on instrumentalization. The subject of this masterclass is this problem of “language” and “translation”.

Jeanne Gaakeer is Professor in Law and Literature at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is currently serving as Justice at the Appellate Court of The Hague, and was formerly an examining judge at the Court of Middelburg.


Supported By

the Mondriaan Fund and the Pauwhof Fund. Witte de With is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and by the city of Rotterdam.