2020 Letter to incoming students from Gabriëlle Schleijpen, DAI's artistic director & head of program

Before embarking on any of our scheduled in-the-flesh trajectories, we urge you to carefully read the DAI's Covid-19 protocol here 


Salute: Alexandra, Elvis, Krzysztof, Felix, Nash, Artúr, Elisa, Christina, Derek, Morena, Miyoung, Laura D., Dandelion, Michael, Izaro, Maud, Maoyi, Liza, Lacey, Rhodé, Dakota, Laura Z., Afrang, Chiara, Emmeli, Dylan, Iga, Marika, Lissy, Isabelle, João, Marilú, Mirjam, Margherita, Vera, Iona, Velvet, Rene, Hannah, Jan Pieter and Nadja.


Dear new DAI-student, 


It feels good to to finally, finally make connection with you. Admittedly; my word of welcome is long overdue.. Truth is that the torments of 2020 have continued to wake me up in the middle of the night, all along these strange summer months, actually till today: the virus and how it magnifies injustices, the racist killings, the heath, the fires, the fascism, the explosions and, on top of that, the untimely passing of some of our most beloved beacons of hope through political, intellectual and artistic resistance. 

These past weeks I kept asking myself what it takes to go on when everything is fucked up.... What does it take to bring us all together (again): moving, dancing, thinking, voicing, listening, caring ? As good old Emily Dickinson already knew two centuries ago, it is not budgets, not curricula, certificates let alone fees that "it takes to make a prairie ~ it takes a clover and one bee. One clover and one bee. And revery. The revery alone will do, if bees are few."

So then yes, let's go for it, let's go for this exceptionally unpredictable year at DAI. Our world may be crumbling but we still have revery and you know what - we, and certainly you, incoming students at DAI, are not even "few": you are actually many and you are all quite magnificent! I know this because I have been closely following your admissions trajectories and I have been touched by the trust that you put in our wild, little school and I take inspiration from the trust you put in yourselves, as critical and selective carriers of dreams for a commonist future. So without further ado we are now getting ready to warmly welcome you from the Antilles, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South-Korea, Spain, the States, Sweden, Switserland and Salvador.

Wether you are arriving in the Netherlands just for this first DAI Week, or landing in Europe to settle for the duration of your study: we welcome you to join us on Friday the 25th of September at 6pm in front of the Central Train Station of the small Dutch town called Apeldoorn, from where we will take you to our very first communal dinner and from there onward to Rabbit Hill where you will be accommodated from September 25 till October 2nd. Apart from your laptop or your phone, your clothes, your toothbrush, a towel (!!) and plenty of mouthcaps, you don't have to bring anything.

On Saturday we will embark together, (returning to the Zwitsal Factory in Apeldoorn), on extensive introductions to how we will live and study together in the year to come. On Sunday you will be introduced to Radio Kootwijk (our second and final location for the Introduction Week) by means of a day-long speculative journey curated by our friends of sonsbeek20-24, Their exciting line up of "soundwaves" will be followed up by a 4 day "DAI-opera" that will merge program introductions, performances of last year's collaborative research outcomes with individual presentations by second year students. The time line including all details and practicalities is currently under construction and can be followed here:

Introduction Week Sept 25 – Oct 2, 2020

In regard to the preparations for our communal meals it is of utmost importance to inform:

Jacq van der Spek senior co-ordinator care, hospitality and logistics AS SOON AS POSSIBLE about any dietary requirements. At the locations it will not be possible to buy food; you will be dependent on our chef (DAI alumna) Pitchaya (needless to say that she hates to see you hungry!)

Rik Fernhout, whom all of you have already met with via mail (as he helped you to enrol), needs to be contacted if you cannot join the Introduction Week for any reason, or if you are in doubt about joining us in relation to Covid-19, or if you are not sure about how to deal quarantaine regulations etcetera. 

Margret Wibmer, advisor international students can be contacted about finding your way, for those of you who are planning to base yourselves in the Netherlands. I know that she has already been advising several of you.

I think I will leave it here for now, but not without insisting that you should return to our Covid-19 protocol as often as you can - we can not guarantee that there will not be any changes coming up in the next 10 days.... it is what it is. I cannot undo any Covid-restrictions. But coming back to the beginning of my mail where I shared my rather indescribable feelings of disorientation about having to act in the painful times we inhabit, I would like to end on a heartfelt, more positive note: the fact that YOU as well as all of our dream team and our amazing partners and brilliant tutors are willing to make so many (sometimes incredible) efforts to come and study together fills me with a quite strength: whatever it will take, we will make this somehow meaningful to ourselves and to the world. 

Take care and speak soon, 

Gabriëlle Schleijpen 

artistic director | head of program