On 2nd of July, members of the Summer School on Black Europe had expressed their concerns about an image of a Black woman painted on the door of the women’s bathroom at Studio/K in Amsterdam, which perpuated colonial and racist imagery. This became an interesting matter, as for two weeks students from all around the world participated in the Summer School to engage with the European context of racism, discrimination and social exclusion. An often conversation was, how does racism manifests itself in the Netherlands? When engaging with such question, discussing the overt and sublte ways how racism occurs and lingers in Dutch society becomes inevitable.
When one of the students noticed a colonial image of a Black women on the door of Studio/K, she immediatly shared it with the class. The students of the Summer School of Black Europe personally confronted the board of Studio/K and demand its removal as feelings of disrespect and exclusion was generated by this image.
On 3rd of July, after the students send a letter to the board of Studio/K, the board decided to remove the image as they: “take such complaints seriously as we do not wish to disrespect or exclude anyone”. They covered the image by an old poster, untill it was removed as the students insisted.
Read here Black Europe Summer School student’s letter of resistance:
“On the evening of 2 July 2015, myself and three other members of the Summer School on Black Europe (an international group of students and academics, held at the International Institute for Research and Education) met with a member of staff in the foyer of Studio/K (with other memebrs standing in solidarity with us outside the entrance), to discuss their offense at the racist nature of the image of a Black woman, painted on the door of the Women’s bathroom at the venue.
We, the undersigned, express our feelings of disrespect and exclusion generated by the image, and demand that the image be removed from the venue immediatly. Follow up regarding this matter will be undertaken by memebers of the Summer School on Black Europe, following the Studio/K staff meeting, which we were informed will take place soon. Failure to respond to our concerns will result in further actions against Studio/K by members of the Summer School on Black Europe, as well as our broader social network
Members of the Summer School on Black Europe”
The removal of the imagery on the Women’s bathroom door at Studio/K sends an important message to the rest of nation that still deals with the denial of racism that occurs in its society. Such respond as the removal of offensive colonial imagery sets an positive example to the Dutch society in combatting racism and social exclusion.