HKU and HvU share a boat during Utrecht Pride

  • 04 April 2024
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and the University of Humanistic Studies are literally both in the same boat together at the yearly boat parade during Utrecht Pride, on 1 June. The day is a celebration of diversity and inclusion, and of acknowledgement and acceptance of every person’s identity.
HKU and HvU share a boat during Utrecht Pride
HKU and HVU regard inclusive policies and the acceptance of lhbtiq+ persons as an important mission. With their shared boat, both educational institutes actively express this vision. In this way, they also want to contribute to Utrecht as an inclusive city.

Heleen Jumelet, chair of HKU’s Executive Board: ‘Every person must feel seen, supported and validated, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. HKU makes an effort for this, and that is why we are proud participants of Pride Utrecht. Diversity and inclusion, however, is not a theme for only one day per year, but a goal to work on every day. For HKU, it’s even one of the so-called ‘guiding lights’ that define our organisation: we are embedding diversity and inclusion in our policy and education. This guiding light does not stand in isolation; our students make stimulating art that makes us think about the themes that Pride touches upon. And there’s no doubt that this will be visible on the boat that students of HKU and Humanistic Studies are working on together.

Joke van Saane, principal and chair of the Board of UvH: ‘For UvH, ‘Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’ is a focus point for our education, research and our organisational methods. The Pride Day is about celebrating and sharing together, with one clear statement: that equality is a basic requirement for our education and an integral component of our organisational DNA. The event is organised by a joint committee of students and staff members of both educational institutes, which is a nice example of cooperating on the basis of participation and equality.’

One of the initiators is HKU student Matthew van Londen adds: ‘To me, it’s important that HKU participates in Pride to show that everyone is welcome at HKU and is accepted for who they are. We want to celebrate diversity, also on behalf of everyone who cannot or may not celebrate Pride themselves, because they live under oppression. Pride is a party, yet also a protest to demand more freedom for everyone.’

UvH students and co-organisers Anne Harteman and Yusriyah Momo agree with these words, and add: ‘In a time when conservative voices seem to get louder (worldwide), we are happy that our university, the place where we feel at home, takes a stand by participating in the Pride boat parade.’

Relevant every day

The collaboration between HKU and UvH is not entirely new: both institutes started working hand in hand last year already, in the project Meaningful Artistic Research. Here they work on the connection between art and sciences to promote a plurality of voices. Both educational organisations highly value diversity and inclusion, and aspire to create a safe working and learning environment in which all students and staff feel acknowledged and validated in their diversity.