LOVA International Summer School 2019: ‘Unschooling the Anthropologist’, gender, love and sexuality

1-5 July, Amsterdam

LOVA is pleased to announce its 7th edition International Summer School! Because of the positive response to last years’ theme, LOVA ISS 2019 will again be centered around ‘Unschooling the Anthropologist’, with a special focus on gender, love and sexuality.

Unschooling is seen as a philosophy or educational attitude that promotes self-directed learning, as well as the acquiring of skills, knowledge and wisdom through real life experiences, honest, meaningful dialogues and curiosity. This Summer School is focused on helping participants to fundamentally empty themselves from acquired constructs and concepts, in order to be open to the world as it enfolds around us. This practice of ‘unschooling’ can be useful for researchers, and particularly anthropologists.

I hope that you will listen, but not with the memory of what you already know; and this is very difficult to do. You listen to something, and your mind immediately reacts with its knowledge, its conclusions, its opinions, its past memories. It listens, inquiring for a future understanding. Just observe yourself, how you are listening, and you will see that this is what is taking place. Either you are listening with a conclusion, with knowledge, with certain memories, experiences, or you want an answer, and you are impatient. You want to know what it is all about, what life is all about, the extraordinary complexity of life. You are not actually listening at all. – Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Through academic lectures, interactive workshops and self-research, LOVA creates a platform for participants to critically and playfully examine their held beliefs and attitudes towards several broad themes that commonly arise in the work of anthropologists, including e.g. ‘education’, ‘gender and sexuality’ and ‘development work’. There will also be several excursions to stimulate the mind and body, and an exceptionally enjoyable encounter with the history and culture of Amsterdam.

Within the LOVA ISS, we enjoy working with a small, dedicated groups of participants, coming from various backgrounds. The summer school is designed for students (BA, MA and PhD) and lifelong learners, and combines academic learning with body work and reflective practices. We will also provide information about ethnographic ‘tools’ within the parameters of gender and feminist anthropology.

Some of the topics of this year’s lectures, workshops and excursions are:

  • Rethinking schooling:  How can we re-imagine the value and modes of learning? How can we explore the relationship between teacher and learner?
  • Rethinking gender and sexuality: How do gender stereotypes transcend the boundaries of human reality into the realm of fiction and imagination? How can we explore the gendered body through dance and movement?
  • Rethinking love, passion and emotions: Can a feminist dance tango? Can we really feel at home in our bodies? Does passion make that simpler or harder?
  • Rethinking development goals: What are the discourses surrounding sexual education; by whom and for whom?
  • Rethinking history: how are ‘his’/’her’ stories colored and shaped? How are 17th century women portrayed in the Rijksmuseum art works?

Confirmed speakers/facilitators:

  • dr. Kathy Davis, senior researcher at the Department of Sociology at the VU University Amsterdam. Kathy Davis has a long-standing interest in feminist scholarship on women’s bodies and health. Her work is situated at the cutting edge between cultural studies, gender studies, and the sociology of the body. She is the author of many books, including: Dancing Tango: Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World (NYUPress, 2015).
  • Shanti George,social anthropologist trained in India and based in the Netherlands. She is an honorary professor at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at Aberystwyth University in Wales. Shanti’s association with the Learning for Well-being Foundation enables her to bridge the worlds of knowledge, practice, activism and philanthropy.
  • dr. Willemijn Krebbekx, senior researcher at Atria (institute on gender equality and women’s history). Willemijn is developing and conducting research on the themes of sexuality, gender and diversity. She writes extensively on topics related to sex and diversity in Dutch schools, sexting and sex education.
  • dr. Vid Vanja Vodušek, is a resident of clinical psychology and a group analysist. He has a PhD in Biomedicine – Psychiatry with special interest in the phenomenology. Believing firmly in the creative and reflective potential of groups, he is gradually trying to develop an adapted method of group analysis for use in the art of theatre.
  • dr. Emma Emily de Wit, is a scholar at the Athena Institute at the VU University, focusing on Higher Education and transdisciplinary research cultures in India. As part of her PhD research, she studied stress and suicide prevention among urban youth in India, with a particular focus on the way education and parenting is organized/experienced in relation to wellbeing. Currently she also consults Save the Children (NGO) on their Child Sensitive Social Support programs for families.
  • Milton Fernando Gonzalez Rodriguez will receive his PhD in Latin American Studies from the University of Amsterdam in May (2019). He has written extensively about Latin American visual cultures (cinema, animation, television), stereotypes in media and linguistic landscapes. He has taught courses on Latin American cinema, Film Theory, Popular Culture, Spanish Cinema, (Socio)Linguistics and Spanish.
  • Wouter Oomen is the chair of IDleaks, a non-profit organization committed to better communication on developing countries and a more open discussion on international development. Wouter is also a PhD candidate at Utrecht University, working on a dissertation on humanitarian communication.
  • Carola Lammers is a trained anthropologist, teacher cross cultural communication, and tour guide. Carola will guide us through the famous Rijksmuseum to show us some highlights of the 17th The central focus will be on how the the position and behaviours of 17th century women are portrayed.
  • Astrit Ismaili, The work of Astrit Ismaili (*1991 in Kosovo, lives and works in Amsterdam) evokes themes such as family, gender and transformation through intimate meta-theatrical performances. Ismaili graduated from the DasArts Graduate School in Amsterdam in 2016 and is the recipient of several awards. Recent performances include UNIKAT (with Suwane Jo) and The Nymph, NEU NOW Festival, Amsterdam (2017); and NEMESIS, Amsterdam Art Weekend, Juliette Jongma Gallery, Amsterdam (2017). Right now, Astrit is interested in gender identity and queer. Unpredictability is key for him. ‘The moment something is predictable, it is over for me’.
  • Mona Penn-Jousset, Mona is an African-American curator, creatives agent, business development coach and podcaster living in Amsterdam. She studied Theater and Film at Hunter College in New York. She is also the founder of MAKER MAGAZINE which seeks to be the standard in the exploration of a truly global portrait of craftmanship. Episode 1, NOIRE ABSOLUE, is intended to create a space in which art, culture and entrepreneurship of people throughout the African Diaspora is highlighted.

Tuition fee


The tuition fee includes: All lectures, workshops and excursions mentioned in the program; lunches (5 days);  coffee, tea and refreshments.

The program fee excludes accommodation. Yet, upon request we can offer a limited number of participants a couch-surf spot with one of our LOVA network members . For other suggestions regarding stay, please contact us and we will inform you about possible solutions, including camping or hostels.


Please send a message to: summerschool@lova.network


The daily schedule runs from 9.00/10.00 – 17.00/18.00. We guarantee small groups. In previous editions there were participants from all around the world. Courses and workshops are taught in English. Please note to bring comfortable shoes for the excursions and strolls around the city.

The venues

The workshops and lectures will be provided at various locations (more information regarding the actual location per date will be given later). The following venues are included:

CEDLA: The Center for Latin American Research and Documentation is located in the Eastern part of the city center of Amsterdam, at the Weesperplein area. This inspiring research center will be our host for two of the five days.

Nelson Mandela House: this beautiful inn, located in the North of Amsterdam, alongside the river IJ, is dedicated to celebrating and restoring interconnection, based on the Ubuntu-philosophy. We will be using their beautiful workshop space for one day.

LOVA Summer School committee

Academic Directors: Dr. Emma Emily de Wit & Irene Arends

Chair LOVA: Dr. Marina de Regt

E-mail : summerschool@lova.network