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The biographies uncovered in the archive shed light on the hitherto hidden roles of women in architecture, planning, and design.

Dr Hetty Berens situated the theme of the evening with insights on the acquisition policy of Het Nieuwe Instituut and its effort to make the collection more representative. Dr Erica Smeets-Klokgieters presented her PhD research on the rise of the first generation of women obtaining a degree in architecture in the Netherlands, followed by presentations by about two newly found historical biographies: the archives and (working) lives of Johanna Eleanor Ferguson (1900-1982), investiged by Marieke Kuipers and Nicholas Clarke; that resulted in their publication Common Ground, and Augustine Ernestine Frederika Schreuder-Gratama (1897-1976), whose work as an architect has been uncovered and researched by María Novas Ferradás. 

After this, the granddaugther of Guus Gratama, Elske Schreuder, symbolically handed over the archive to Het Nieuwe Instituut, after which two young architects, Veerle Alkemade and Catherine Koekoek of the Respons podcast, presented their reaction to these findings. How can we continue to learn from and re-evaluate the important contributions of these professional figures? What does it mean to take care of their legacies, once they enter an institution? 

Watch the recording of the evening below:

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Het Nieuwe Instituut

The focus of the collection until now has been to preserve and make available the national and international material traces of the Netherlands’ rich history of architecture, urban design and related fields. However, currently 97% of the collection is composed of documents authored by white male architects, with only 26 of the approximately 690 archives attributed to female architects. This means that the methodologies, gazes and logics implemented in the past have not recognised the many other agents involved in important transformations of the built environment in the Netherlands. These new acquisitions and re-investigations are part of the Het Nieuwe Instituut's vision of Rethinking the Collection, and as current case studies of the project Collecting Otherwise

The archives in the name of women and collectives with women in the National Collection of Architecture and Urban Planning are: Margaret Staal-Kropholler, Lotte Stam-Beese, Bé Niegeman – Brand, Elsbeth Bout-van Blerkom, Lida Licht-Lankelma, Lica Hafkamp-Cosijn, Cora Nicolai, Nel Verschuuren, Nathalie de Vries (MVRDV), I.G. Bekker-Kok, Nel Klaasen, Koos Pot-Keegstra, Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel, Catharina Boeree, Vrouwen Bouwen Wonen, Guus Gratama, Johanna Eleanor Ferguson. There is also separate material of amongst others Winka Dubbeldam, Mien Ruys, Caroline Bos (UN Studio), Sabine de Kleijn (Herk & De Kleijn).

19:00 – 21:00

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

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Thursday Night at Het Nieuwe Instituut
Luca Napoli

Thursday Night Live! is a weekly programme of lectures, screenings and discussions on architecture, design and digital culture. Developments and critical insights are discussed by thinkers, designers and makers from the Netherlands and abroad.