Klaas Burger (1977) uses art to trigger change in society. He works in between journalism, urgent social issues, policy development and community building. He is trained as a theologian and visual artist and is artistic director of the School of Perception (i.e. Academie voor Beeldvorming).
Artistic action research
Klaas Burger is active as a researcher, workshop facilitator, artist, critic, writer and policy adviser an dcollaborates with a wide variety of people, researchers, organizations and governments. He has more than ten years of experience in artistic action research: an approach in which art is used as a strategy to practice change in society.
In his practice he focuses on local contexts: a neighbourhood, a holiday park, a family or a specific group. From bottom up, he builds trust and legitimacy. Subsequently, questions about the future and mirroring with system and policy create a view of (desired) change. This need for change is the basis for imagination. What does this change look like? What are the barriers related to this change? Projects take time and require a team effort. That is why Klaas Burger founded the School of Perception (Academie voor Beeldvorming): a platform for artistic action research.
Key challenge is learning from each other through collaboration. Starting to learn makes us more equal: although we try to control, in the end we have to admit we don't know the future, each other, nor ourselves. In all other things we are unequal: different faces, different life stories, different expertise, different expectations. How to use this difference in a proper way? How to make it into a source of knowledge?
How to turn our inequality into a resilient force in the middle of society?
Art as local reality
In this field of learning, art is an accessible form to show changes in ourselves or the world surrounding us. Art helps to raise questions, express feelings, tell stories and find support. It is not yet an opinion, but more a communal trigger showing blind spots, inviting people to get involved. Especially nowadays, in our digital and global world, art shows the importance of a local reality.
More about Klaas and his approach?
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The Communal Practice of Klaas Burger. Marieke Folkers, Seafoundation, 2019 (English).
Het draagvlak is nog lager dan bij lokale verkiezingen (maar dat is niet het probleem). Klaas Burger, Boekman #131, Boekmanstichting, 2022 (Dutch).