Creativity for Change and artistic interventions

Since 2008 we have been using artistic interventions to initiate, accelerate or deepen changes in organizations. This is a form of intervention that has been on the rise for about 10 years and recently has been receiving more attention as a catalyst for change. In an artistic intervention, we use artists who use an (one ore more) art form(s) to involve and connect people in organizational change, both rationally and emotionally.

It is a process in which the artist and the artistic intervention creates a certain distance to the issue, so that there is space to look at it in a different way. This gives the organization the opportunity to look at the issues in a new perspective and the employees the confidence that all voices will be heard.

Every question is unique and in the interplay between question, organization and people and artists, something is created that cannot be imagined beforehand. However, based on 13 years of experience, we have mapped out the various process steps. Together with artists from the Art Partner network, researchers in the field of cross creativity and European colleague organizations, this is how the Creative Catalyst Cycleartpartner  came into being.

Creative Catalyst Cycleartpartner
Every collaboration starts with defining the question or wish in the given context. In other words, getting the NEED FOR CHANGE clear. Where is the desire (or pain) of our client?

In the second phase, UNCOVER, we use qualitative artistic research done by the artists to uncover what is going on. We uncover the dynamics, patterns and emotions underlying the question.



We use artistic research methods like fly on the wall, artist in residence and from storytelling to performative meetings. The research is designed in a way that suits the question, organization, context and artist. This provides rich information about unheard voices, unspoken ideas and wishes.

Together with the client, we look at the information it yields and determine the ambitions for this phase of the assignment. In the ENVISION phase, the insights, needs and ideas are merged into a sharpening of the wish/vision for change and a shared experience of what is needed.

This forms the basis for an artistic intervention: one or more forms are developed especially for the organization and the issue in order to include all those involved in what the research has produced. We use theatre, music and visual arts, among other things, to bring about co-creation and co-reflection. During the IN MOTION phase, those involved see, feel and experience what is going on.

Then comes the phase to increase the impact. We look at what is needed and how to get the movement going. HARVEST is a phase in which the results of the course are reduced and anchored in the organizational world, in practical everyday life. To this end, we develop customized programs around the artistic intervention (varying from workshops, training courses or teaching programs) in which we deploy experiential learning and other forms of reflection and interaction. This sets change in motion.

Finally, we look together at what it has brought, what is still missing, what worked and what did not. And, above all, what the next steps should be. We do this REFLECT & CONTINUE phase with our clients and with the creative team.







De wil en de verbeelding

Auteur: Emke Idema, Art Partner, 2020

‘We hebben er geen gevoel bij.
We hebben er geen verstand van.
We hebben er geen belang bij.
We hebben er geen beeld van.’

Biodiversiteit leeft niet in onze organisaties.
Veel mensen die we gesproken hebben zien niet voor zich wat het, ook voor ons, kan betekenen.
Waarom komt biodiversiteit nog niet in het toekomstbeeld van ons allemaal voor?
Waar zijn onze hoop en onze verlangens over een rijke natuurlijke leefomgeving?
Waar is ons gevoel van verantwoordelijkheid voor de wereld waar we in leven?
Het lijkt erop dat we onze verantwoordelijkheid niet nemen, omdat we geen beelden hebben van hoe het anders kan.

Om verandering te kunnen maken,
moeten we iets willen.

Om iets te willen,
moeten we ons er een concreet beeld van kunnen vormen.

Je kunt pas naar de maan willen, als je je hebt voorgesteld hoe er een mens op de maan staat.
Je kunt pas een wijk bouwen die onzichtbaar is van bovenaf als je dat eerst in je hoofd hebt gezien.
Je kunt pas een stad maken die bestaat uit tachtig procent groen, als je weet hoe de gebouwen er dan uit zien.
En pas als we het willen, dan gaan we het doen.

We hebben beelden nodig om onszelf en anderen tot verandering aan te kunnen zetten, om onszelf en anderen hartstochtelijk naar iets te laten verlangen. Onwillige politici, onwetende projectleiders, conservatieve directeuren en de goegemeente. Maar ook onszelf, onze buren, onze vrienden.

We moeten onszelf en anderen een beeld kunnen voorspiegelen van een groene, soortenrijke leefomgeving. En van hoe dat de kwaliteit van onze levens immens beïnvloedt.

Je investeert pas, als je begrijpt waarin.

Emke Idema is als autonoom kunstenaar betrokken bij Art Partner. Op initiatief van Project IDOLS werken we op dit moment samen met VolkerWessels, KWS Infra, Provincie Zuid-Holland, Naturalis, Fronteer, Openers (Jetske Freeve) en Art Partner om Biodiversiteit tot het nieuwe normaal in de bouw te maken. Tekening is van Machteld Aardse van De Beeldvormers

Emotion, emotion, emotion: finding flow

Author: Grainne Delaney, storycoach Art Partner

Meet Henry. As a Financial Partner he is deeply analytical, wants the facts clearly and simply delivered. He is not afraid to speak up, likes debate and follows the rules. We are discussing his Storytelling goal; to make more impact by being more personal when talking to clients.

I only have an hour’s coaching session to get him up on his feet, moving. He is one of those experts that comes across as distant and tense. A talking head. A very clever talking head, but disconnected from his body and can only broadcast data, the facts, in a serious monotone. He rarely smiles.

Facts + Personal Response = Story

I sense an allergy to actors. He is reacting to me with extreme caution as if any sudden emotional expression may trigger him to shut down.

‘I don’t want to look like a Clown and I’m not Sylvester Stallone!’ he tells me. ‘I want to stay authentic – too much jumping about it’s not me. It’s acting. I’m not an actor. It’s too much.’

‘Do you want to make an impact?’


‘Then we need more colour’, I say. ‘More landscape, more highs and lows, more geography. The audience need a reason to stay listening. And the glue that keeps them engaged is emotion. You need to show more emotion.’

We have to take a calculated risk and use this hour to experiment, to step outside our comfort zone, to stretch.’

‘I’m already out of my comfort zone sharing something personal.’

‘Yes, it’s personal’, I reply, ‘but that is only one part of the equation. You are presenting the facts of ‘Here is what happened to me’. We have to add the other half of your story: how you felt and thought about what happened.’

Circle Solution: Action – Reaction

I draw a circle on the board. For every (external) action there is an (internal) reaction.

Slowly, we build up an emotional map, ‘subtext’ in theatre-speak. His personal response to what is going on underneath the events and facts. The journey of his inner life. Discoveries, decisions, his thought process. I write these down on the inside of the circle.

I tell him straight.

‘Here’s the deal: If you don’t share the inside of the circle, you don’t really share anything personal.’

E-Motion = E (energy) + M (movement)

He feels more confident about the ‘why’, now we have to explore the ‘how’.

‘So what do I do with my hands?’ he asks. That is my next challenge. I only have half an hour left to get him active in the space, to ‘embody’ his story physically.

Energy comes through the body, but he is speaking so fast that his body cannot keep pace with his words. Information is streaming from head to mouth in statements that are all the same length. I ask him to speak in slow motion and as he slows down, his body starts to make more natural, congruent gestures. His words begin to pass through his heart before they come out through his mouth. He starts to relive his story, not just retell it.

We experiment with colour. Using emphasis, pause, scaling, different levels of tension, positioning in the space, hands open, closed and filming short extracts. Reviewing, repeating, rehearsing.

‘I feel awkward’, he says. But when I show him the film of his last 2 minutes, he is surprised.

His presentation is more dynamic. There is more flow. More variety. More Life.

‘I look quite normal on the outside!’ he smiles.

‘I still have doubts’, he says as he shakes my hand to leave.



‘Well that’s perfectly normal, you are pushing your envelope and stepping outside your comfort zone, big time. You have agreed with yourself to try something very different and of course it’s going to be uncomfortable, at first.’

Being a performer takes tremendous courage.

Tips for adding E-Motion.

There are many ways to add emotion to a presentation or story. It is not about exaggerating and expressing. It is about identifying your inner life, the emotional journey you go on.

You want to share not only the series of events that took place, but also the highs and lows, the changes, the twists and turns that affected you in such a way that you take us to that moment and allow us to experience your story as our own.

Here are some steps to start rehearsing with.

  • Identify your inner life, your E-Map (Emotional Map). You don’t have to share or demonstrate all of it. Choose the moments in your journey that have the most action or change for you.
  • Speak those moments as if you are in the present tense. Make it a live event, in the here and now. I am. You don’t retell a story, you relive it.
  • Use your breath. Remember when you were angry, sad, joyful. What was your breathing pattern like?
  • Rhythm. When we are emotional we speed up or slow down. Experiment.
  • Tension. Muscle tension affects the tone of your voice. Play with adding and releasing tension in your hands, jaw, shoulders.
  • Weight. We can bring attention to an important word by using more power behind the breath to make it stand out.
  • Pause. Again. Silence gives us status, but also signals a significant moment. Use it to highlight a decision, before a personal response, or after a reaction. Let it resonate.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Deliberate practice leads to peak performance.

Grainne Delaney is a performance artist, psychologist and storycoach at Art Partner. The past six years over 700 consultants, accountants, directors and partners followed the storytelling course ‘Into the light: the science & art of storytelling’ that she runs with Andreas Vonder and Art Partner.

Want to experience this first hand?

Join our open course starting January 8th, 2021, join Art Partner’s ‘Into The Light’ Storytelling training: or contact us for possibilities of inhouse training.

Contact: Robert Tordoir, 0648409132 or

Feel the Fear and Focus!

Author: Grainne Delaney, storycoach Art Partner
Image: De Beeldvormers

Meet Pieter, co-founder of a consultancy firm that develops leaders. We are in the middle of a coaching session about a forthcoming event. Using a theatre exercise called ‘Open Speak’, he describes his thoughts and feelings about opening the conference and speaking in public.

‘I’m okay in front of a few people, but last time I presented, halfway through they started looking at their phones, so I started talking faster. I became really self-conscious, messed up my speech and I shut down.’

As he speaks, his hands become fists, he rounds his shoulders and the tightness of his jaw makes his voice sounds metallic. He looks like he wants to start a fight!

‘What if….?’

‘I know this doesn’t make sense,’ he continues. ‘Organising this conference is my dream come true. I know it’s important work. But now the idea of speaking in front of 280 strangers, makes me think: What if it’s not interesting enough? What if they don’t like me? What if my content is really off-target? What if I can’t answer their questions and the audience thinks I’m a fake?’

Pacing the room, he describes his heart in his throat, churning in his stomach and his dry mouth. ‘I can’t help it! What if I mess up again? How do I control my thoughts?’

The ‘What if..’ list of doom is getting longer!

Just the act of remembering the last time he spoke in front of an audience and imagining the next one, has put Pieter into a stress response.

‘It’s ridiculous!’ he declares. ‘I’m a professional.’

Focus: Feel the Fear

Getting a grip on this physical and mental state requires practice. The first thing we must do is understand where we are. I like to begin with how the body actually feels. ‘Open Speak’ helps us become more aware of and describe exactly what is happening physically, mentally and emotionally. Acknowledging our inner processes makes it easier to switch focus and do something about it.

Focus: Breath – Be Here Now.

One element that helps switch focus from freeze, (or fight) to flow, is observing the breath to bring us into the here and now. Seated with Pieter, we go into a 3-minute mindful exercise. But it’s not working. Pieter is still in his anxiety state. He is frowning, jittery and he can’t sit still.

Focus: Take Action! 

You cannot escape fear, rationalise it away, or ignore it. You have to move through it.

We work through a good physical warm up, stretching and shaking to release the tension, allowing the nervous energy to move through the body, followed by a good vocal workout.

After 15 minutes, he is calmer.

‘I already feel better,’ he says. ‘My headache is gone,’

‘Great,’ I say. ‘Now focus on how you want to feel.’

‘I want to feel proud. But I don’t want to come across as arrogant,’ he replies.

This is a statement I often hear when preparing for a presentation.

The postures and gestures both look open, but arrogance is not the same as pride. They have different thoughts and intentions.

‘The audience is smart and emotionally intelligent.’ I tell him. ‘They will pick up on your body language, unconsciously mirror it and feel what you feel. So, let’s get really clear.’

Focus: Intention.

We switch between the two, embodying Pride and Arrogance, becoming more precise about each thought and sensation, until he understands the difference.

For Pieter, ‘arrogant’ has the thought: ‘I am better than you’, connected with the intention: ‘You need to listen because I know more than you do.’ Physically there is more tightness in the body, less space on stage and less warmth in his voice.

He discovers ‘proud’ has the thought – ‘I am happy. I have worked hard and achieved insight.’ With the intention: ‘Now I want to share what I have learned with you because I believe it will help.’

‘What does proud look like?’ I ask.

‘Like this!’ He stands up straight, filling the room with presence, opens his arms in a welcoming gesture and smiles.

Now his mind and body are aligned and working together.

Let’s connect this to content.

Focus: W.A.I.T. Why Am I Talking?

What does the audience need to hear? Why is it important for them?

When I have doubts about content, I focus on the single most important person in the theatre: The Audience.

Every time I step onstage, I make sure, I want to speak and that I know why.

When we get our purpose straight, we can focus on delivering with impact. Because the reason and need to speak will override your fear. Pieter needs no support here.

‘I know how important this topic is for current and emerging leaders,’ he says passionately. ‘I know this can make a difference.’

He is speaking now for the benefit of others, for a group, for an organisation.

He has shifted his attention from Me to We.

‘Let’s try a thought experiment,’ I say. ‘What if…the audience really want you to succeed? Where is your attention now?’

‘On doing a really good job speaking.’ he says enthusiastically. ‘On enjoying myself.’ He smiles and stands up to rehearse his speech again. He takes on his embodiment of pride.

He looks confident and I hear the voice of a leader.

Focus: Mastery not Perfection.

Speaking in Public is a learned skill. It takes practice. As an actress, I know that Fear will never go away. It’s part of who I am and what I do.

When I think my performance must be perfect, I start doubting my ability. Telling myself, ‘After 20 years, I shouldn’t feel like this,’ also keeps me stuck.

But the goal is not perfection. The goal is mastery.

And from Mastery comes confidence.

Feel the fear . . . and focus.

Tips for Switching Focus.

  • Channel your nervous energy into a good physical and vocal warm up.
  • Get curious about your feelings. Don’t suppress them, it makes it worse. Use ‘Open Speak’. Acknowledge your anxiety and tell the truth. Then take action.
  • Get curious about your thoughts. Which ones empower you? Which thoughts keep you small? Give yourself a more positive intention. How do you want to show up?
  • Tell yourself a different story. ‘What if…’ is the actor’s most powerful tool of the imagination. What if I am not nervous? What if I am actually passionate, or excited? They are the same physical symptoms after all. What if the audience wants me to succeed? What changes?
  • When there is too much focus on Me, switch to We. Focus your attention on others: Listen deeply to other speakers, give them the gift of your attention. Talk to the audience during the break, or before the beginning of a meeting.
  • Remember your personal purpose. Your message is important. You are the only one who can deliver it.
  • “Give them a present!”, Art Partner story coach, theatre playwright and director Andreas Vonder says. “You have prepared the best you can, wrapped it in rehearsal. And now, it’s time to give your audience a gift.”

In our Storytelling course you learn theatre techniques to set clear intentions and prepare your story, so the desire to share your message is stronger than your imagined fear. 

We provide space and time to rehearse, with practical exercises for staying grounded on stage, controlling your breath, and placing focus.

Grainne Delaney is a performance artist, psychologist and story coach at Art Partner. The past six years over 700 consultants, accountants, directors and partners followed the storytelling course ‘Into the light: the Science & Art of Storytelling’ that she runs with Andreas Vonder and Art Partner.


Check out this amazing movie by Bart Majoor about the experience of participants:

We always ask the participants a few questions for feedback afterwards.

  • How have you changed the way you present yourself? Did you reach your goal?
  • In what practical ways do you see your learning during the storytelling applicable to your daily business life?
  • How did you find working with the workbook Into the Light? Did you like the assignments?

Curious to what they answered? Below you’ll find a rough selection of their aswers.

How have you changed the way you present yourself? Did you reach your goal?

  • Into the Light has given me the insight that every day has a story in it and that the possibilities are endless!
  • I take my environment into account, but start from myself. In doing so, I remain authentic and do what I came for. Applying structure also helps me in my story.
  • Certainly! Also defined new goals. This is an absolute must for every professional!
  • Finding peace and tranquility. Pause to breathe and find confidence by having a story that I can relate to.
  • Yes, great lesson. Express emotions!! Use of metaphors. Facts versus feeling.
  • Yes! Learned more about silences in a story, the use of my strengths and especially knowing how to build a story. Thanks!
  • More personal. More focus on how, than before (what). My objective was to experiment and become more conscious and able to present with more impact. I have certainly progressed.
  • I talk more calmly, more confidently. I can vary more in different styles. Absolutely!
  • Certainly! My main learning goal was to be less modest and to tell more convincingly. Funnily enough, that was also the theme of my last story, which I told with conviction.
  • I have become more aware of movements, text use, but also social interaction. I have achieved my learning goals. I have a better understanding of social interaction and how people respond.
  • I pay more attention to the “struggle” in my story and make sure that it comes more to the fore. I pay more attention to telling my story in a narrative way.
  • I found some new goals in the process, that I’ve really made progress on! Speaking with gravitas, speaking beyond ‘’the wall’’ just before the audience, switching persona’s and styles! I feel consciously capable.
  • Less flat – more variety in intonation, volume, emotion, etc. Confident.
  • I allow myself to take more time at the stage, prepare a story, with more structure and a message which is well explained.
  • Goals certainly achieved. I can now prepare a story better, faster and with more confidence.
  • More grounded, more expressive, shorter and more concise, more effective learning goals achieved (can be faster and better able to exchange energy).
  • More open, more energy / emotion, more peaks / troughs.
  • I have progressed in many areas. More aware of the “how”, but also the “what”. Practice, practice, practice!
  • I present with more courage and openness and am not afraid to enlarge myself. 
  • I have learned to take the stage with more confidence and not be afraid to show emotion. I have taken great steps towards my learning goals. This training was a good basis.
  • More variety, more tranquility, more intrinsic. Learning objectives not important: new insights are!
  • I have learned how to build a story and experience directly how I can handle my body better.
  • Much more aware of twists and turns and construction. More self-confidence in the use of voice, emotion and gestures. Learning objectives achieved: Yes!
  • I have gained confidence and the courage to stand in front of others and ‘shine’.
  • When I present, I am showing more emotions and feelings. I think it definitely helps me connect more/ create a link with the audience, so that it brought me closer to my goal (which was to be able to connect with even an unwilling audience, to be able to get my message across).
  • I’ve began to use the space I speak in more actively.
  • I’ve started testing out phrases and words.
  • No longer afraid to take more time for personal stories, anecdotes and metaphors.
  • More drama put in. Taking people into my personal experiences (emotions). Out of context, into the feeling.
  • Yes, learned an awful lot. In particular, how to build a story and make an impact. Of course it remains exciting and gives me more stress than I would like.
  • My learning goal was to include more emotion, more energy in my stories. That is gradually starting to work.
  • Yes, open myself up more and show more of myself. Not so static and monotonous anymore.
  • I’ve learned that exaggeration works. I’ve learned that a white lie is allowed. I have learned that connecting myself to the story makes an impact.
  • Yes, I feel comfortable on stage.
  • I have achieved learning goals. Do it differently now. That also works!
  • Prepare better, more self-confidence. I certainly achieved my own goals. On to the next steps.
    Become more confident. More confidence in myself. I think I have definitely achieved my goal.
  • Become more confident. More confidence in myself. I think I have definitely achieved my goal.
  • From a little inconspicuous to powerful. I get to stand on stage and have something to say. What I have learned in particular is to build in moments of rest & to place accents. Learning objective achieved!
  • I am a punkrocker and learned from Grainne to be more: ‘getto style’!!
  • I changed my way by radiating more tranquility and using more space on stage. I think I have achieved my learning goals, but I still have to work on them.
  • I have become more aware of the impact I can make. The training has given me more confidence in the way I present myself. My learning objective has therefore certainly been achieved.
  • By analyzing the images and rehearsing I have been able to improve my presentation skills.
  • I am more aware that I have to radiate tranquility, how I can present a good story & so that I come across more confidently.
  • I have more pleasure and confidence in presenting. I dare to play with emotions and silences more, and can structure my story better and know better how to captivate my audience. I have certainly achieved all my learning goals.
  • I learned a lot from the training, and was even able to apply it in recent weeks. Some sentences really stayed with me: “you can be there, you can be on stage”. As a result of which I now dare to take the rest during a presentation and try not to rush it so that I can get rid of it asap. Even playing the piano I now take my rest. It was also said on the first day “because you have not been in the spotlight in the past, you are not used to that”. How can you get used to that in 6 weeks I thought? Bizarre how you can get used to standing there in such a short time.
  • Own learning goals achieved: yes! But I’m going to keep focusing to keep improving it.
  • I dare to look at people and see their reaction. I am more relaxed on stage. I understand better how to make rapport.
  • Learning goals certainly achieved! I go on stage with more conviction and know how to bring more emotion into it, so that I can really make an impact. Also the way in which, such as enthusiasm and structure.
  • I put more of myself (values, myself outside of work, etc.) into the presentation. As a result, more impact. I was able to respond more to the audience by first naming what I saw. Because of the above I have achieved my learning goals. Now keep rehearsing a lot.
  • More chronology involving the public through imagination. Rest – seriously – small – big – guts.
  • More aware of what I do. More aware of how certain elements/behavior influence your performance. The spirit to further improve. Did I reach my goal? Not fully but getting there.
  • I have “stage fear”. This training taught me how to control my emotions and tell my story in a controlled and impactful way. I now radiate more confidence on stage than ever before. Yes, I have achieved more than my learning goals!
  • More theatrical, showing more emotions and better highlighting the struggle. Better structure of the story.
  • Yes, I have more peace of mind when I’m on stage. I dare to drop more silences in my story / conversation.
  • Yes, in attitude, story etc. on stage as well as preparation etc. more confident to be on stage.

In what practical ways do you see your learning during the storytelling applicable to your daily business life? 

  • When giving training courses, presentations, proposals, but also just conversations with customers. Very applicable!
  • In many ways. Business is about maintaining relationships. Into the Light / storytelling is a new tool in my toolbox that I can use to maintain relationships.
  • I can now complete the preparation more concretely by making the start more concrete, defining struggles, making the profile public and formulating a bouncer / incentive.
  • Make customer conversations more personal. Including storytelling elements in my workshops.
  • I am aware of small techniques. I will use it in presentations, in day to day meetings.
  • Making impact with emotions!!
  • When telling a story / conveying a message. Both private and with customers.
  • In all important conversations 1 on 1 and all presentations that I will be doing in the future.
  • Client and internal staff presentations. As a tool for development of people/staff in my unit.
  • Business: internal presentations. Private: go deeper into making rapport. See who is doing this right and learn from it.
  • Spend time on each presentation in preparation. Pay attention to audience engagement during presentations. Importance of preparation and warm-up.
  • Pay more attention to how I can tell a story and be more aware of my physical presentation. In private and work, as I am more aware.
  • I will apply the “lessons learned” in all my future presentations and also in conversations.
  • Overall believability & impression, NLP will be a big part in this. The right styles & face in presentations another.
  • Describing and expressing feelings. Being able to speak more calmly while presenting. I have already used the “warm up exercises”.
  • Think about the message at your story, put personal elements in your story.
  • In introductions with small groups, social gatherings etc. I can now tell better stories, anecdotes.
  • Decisiveness in conversations. I enjoyed practicing and presenting; do more often.
  • While persuading messages + good / bad news conversations + work. So wherever possible.
  • In press conversations and at parties, events and with customers.
  • I think this is difficult to answer. You can take such an experience with you for a long time.
  • Try to present in an enthusiastic way to the customer, to make even more connection.
  • Prepare better for presentations, play with style and able to vary.
  • While giving presentations for sure.
  • It may not be directly applicable but it made me realise how important preparation is for each type of “event”, training, presentation or meeting and that working on how to deliver the message is important > client buy the “why” first then the “how” and then the “what”.
  • Speaking / presenting in front of (large) groups of people. Certainly also during informal activities and conversations with the customer.
  • Rehearsing, tweaking and testing story fragments while travelling with colleagues and / or friends.
  • Presentations / sales pitches etc. Even done so already.
  • Speaking at events and meetings.
  • In various situations. Within our organization and in particular in guiding our “final presentations”.
  • With the many possibilities that I have at my organization. Lots of presentations. I intend to choose the podium more often.
  • Take more time for my conversations. More thinking about explanations, discussions, who is my audience and how do I take them with me.
  • My plan is to prepare and present a story every week during the lecture cycle that I have to teach.
  • For future presentations, but also for normal meetings with customers. Binding customers and making rapport.
  • During all presentations, but also in personal conversations.
  • In any case also privately as a football coach!
  • During presentations, meetings, stories in the pub. Telling stories in proposals, to friends and family.
  • To motivate teams. Ideas I have to spread. Including customers in change processes.
  • Yes, I will use it in presentations, but also when I am in group processes.
  • With every form of communication / presentation. Keep practicing, “continuous improvement”, non-verbal, making impact, voicing, rapport.
  • Daily practice, from a short presentation to a personal conversation (rapport).
  • Eye for detail. Sketching the situation. No longer afraid of presentations.
  • During customer conversations and presentations I can use what I have learned in terms of structure in my story and I can use my knowledge about making an impact and my self-confidence.
  • I can also use everything I learned in the course in the pub or at friends’ homes. My stories will be a lot more interesting now.
  • Demonstrate tranquility, professionalism, and something ‘own’. Not just presenting about “lean”, or about financial models. But how can I show something of myself, and how can I convince my audience? In addition to these points, I have also developed myself on a personal level due to the very good ‘piercing’ questions.
  • Private = telling stories and conducting conversations. Business = telling and presenting and conveying my main message clearly.
  • I start to think more from “who is the other”. In a strange group, private or business, try what happens when I do something personal. When I have a presentation: visualize so that I have fewer nerves.
  • Especially the use of tools such as drawing the graphs, and how you can best convey a story in your head to the audience through structure. Post-it method helped with this.
  • In my work I conduct a lot of customer conversations on a daily basis. I can use the practical tips and techniques of the course a lot.
  • Bringing presentations of often premature concepts to life more.
  • Awareness – ability to change styles – taking myself more serious.
  • I will present more often. Taking the lead in conversations. And dare to show more content and emotion in order to connect with the audience (= my customers and team).
  • I found the warming up and grounding exercises very practical. I will use this for new customer contact.
  • I can now convey my story better to my audience. Before I start, I try to find out who my audience is instead of sending it directly.
  • Presentations at work! Lifelong during social events / conversations.

How did you find working with the workbook Into the Light? Did you like the assignments?

  • The workbook is playful, inspiring and fun. Assignments are good, they give you structure in the preparation process.
  • For me it is not a workbook, but an inspiration book.
  • The assignments went well and I really did the homework. The stories it contains are useful for future situations.
  • Brilliant book. Good assignments.
  • Nice book, lots of inspiration. Nice as a reference book.
  • I use this book as a ‘’ Storytelling bible.’ Many, many thanks.
  • Yes! Not too much, not too little and the book is full of inspiring things.
  • Nice book, a bit thick, but certainly a nice book to keep and look back in.
  • Positive, fresh materials. Like to work with it,  Will serve as something to ‘fall back on’, going forward. Thank you!
  • Fantastic book!
  • Very good, accessible and convenient. The resources referenced in the book are also very helpful.
  • Very good! Very useful reference book.
  • Challenging in terms of time commitment, but useful to do this instead of during the course itself.
  • The assignments were different from normal and stimulating.
  • The book is truly beautiful and very inspiring and I will use it often. Good assignments, very extensive.
  • The book is a good addition to the training. I will certainly use it more often and the exercises will help prepare presentation in the future.
  • The book is beautiful! The assignments were good.
  • The workbook is great, very useful ‘homework’.
  • Good, inspiring. Very nice assignments that encourage reflection.
  • Excellent! Piece of art.
  • Top! Nice book and useful assignments!
  • Nice, good to read and repeat the techniques in the lessons.
  • Fantastic beautiful book!
  • The “compliment assignment” made me grow.
  • Great, I will keep the workbook and re-read parts when preparing for presentations.
  • The book is nice to work with. I don’t have specific comments or assignments which are relevant to the training and well designed.
  • Very much liked, a very nicely designed book that I will certainly look back in.
  • Assignments were great fun. Great experience, thank you very much.
  • Valuable! Take a lot out of it, including tips for other books. Assignments challenge me!
  • Fantastic, it keeps the course top of mind. At the same time it was a challenge to devote enough attention and time to it. Keep up the good work!
  • A whole new experience. I make many enthusiastic about it. Even a little jealous.
  • Very nice book. I had the feeling that we had not used it to the full. It says more than we’ve covered.
  • The workbook helps you through the course, which also includes the documents from the meetings. Some assignments, such as looking at someone else, must be given the opportunity.
  • Very pleasant; it is very uncomfortable to prepare assignments every week. The good thing about it is that you cannot escape it during the entire period.
  • Very much liked, good handles. Also the way we’ve used it, more through practice and not theory stamping. Well done!
  • Only course I did my homework for!
  • Fun! Something different. The assignments were well proportioned.
  • Good assignments – diversity. Good that homework was given and recordings were made.
  • Worked really well. Didn’t know that there were so many stories to tell.
  • Workbook is a real addition to the meetings.
  • Nice book, very inspiring.
  • Super! Nice book and cool fun and educational tips.
  • Cool, educational, original, constructive.
  • Very cool! Inspiring and proud to walk around and show it.
  • Great, it is a very cool book. I also loved the inspirational assignment, which I immediately included in the guidance of my pupils.
  • Workbook is great!
  • I found the assignments fun and educational. Especially the assignment where you had to draw 6 different lifelines with peaks and troughs, that made me think about myself. In terms of storytelling, I learned a lot from the individual sessions and from presenting and watching other people’s presentations and the feedback they and I received.
  • Fun!! And inspiring. Guiding and very instructive by how assignments are completed to really help you on your way and to get the most out of yourself.
  • Nice book, nice assignments and help you through the training. Especially drawing the graph and using post-its worked great.
  • Very creative and different, stays better.
  • Great, but in practice you don’t always look at it. Most improvements were made through film and personal coaching.
  • The workbook has helped me express my thoughts in words. The exercises helped shape my story.
  • Yes, it was different from a book as we are used to. It was lively and a perfect tool to get started on your own.
  • Loved it, very creative and engaging.

And more….

  • Bis Bis, Bravo
  • Scale it!
  • Thank you! Great fun, informal fun atmosphere, positive and fun!
  • A fantastic workout. Thank you!
  • Keep up the good work!
  • Great trainers. Thank you for your great learning moments.
  • It was one big party.
  • The best training ever!
  • I think everyone should follow this. Applause!
  • You guys are awesome!
  • Thank you very much for this fun & interesting course!
  • Thank you for the good tips!
  • Many thanks for this opportunity and course !!
  • Thank you very much for the educational and also relaxing moments. I have learned a lot from you that I can and will apply not only in business, but also in my personal life.
  • You have inspired me. Thank you. Top training!
  • Recommended to colleagues. Thanks a lot!
  • Best training I had and great people????
  • Incredibly well-designed training.
  • I felt completely familiar with the environment so that I could tell my most personal story. Thanks!
  • One of the best workouts I’ve ever had. Because people with real knowledge can transfer that knowledge well.
  • Thank you for your support & creating the safe environment in which everyone could be open & personal.
  • Thank you for the exciting, varied substantive & inspiring / stimulating training !!
  • It was a very educational training in which I managed to develop a lot. Thanks for that!
  • I recommend everyone in my team to do this course! It was a lot of fun / educational. Thanks.
  • Grainne is a radiant person who has loads to give. Andreas is a gifted artist and listener. Very adept in teaching.


Presenting to an audience is a stressful activity for most people. How do I make an impact? How do I ensure that my message sticks? How do I inspire others? How do I structure my story? How do I come across as confident? How do I control my nerves? What do I do with my hands?

You will receive answers to these and many more questions from theatermakers Grainne Delaney and Andreas Vonder during the storytelling course Into the Light. After training more than 700 people in-company, we now also want to offer individual participants the opportunity to participate in this successful training.

Are you an expert in your field of knowledge and do you want to upgrade your interpersonal skills, deepen the impact on your audience of your mindset and change the experiences of presentations?

Join us! By sending an e-mail to Sandra Boer, Or call me if you have any questions: 0655196542

Dates & Info

Join our upcoming program!
Ready to become a storyteller? Send an email to with your contactdetails and learning goals and we will contact you asap.

Start: Saturday 4 September 2021 (OPEN SUBSCRIPTION)

Number of participants: max 16
Requirements for this group: For professionals who are experts in their field of knowledge and wish to upgrade interpersonal skills, deepen impact on audiences, or change their mindset and experiences around presentations.
Locations: on stage in theaters and rehearsal studio’s (mix of Amsterdam and ‘somewhere in the middle’)
Language: mix of English and Dutch (you may present in your language of choice, but need to understand Dutch)
Costs: EUR 2.850,00 excl. VAT
Covid-19: If we need to reschedule the course due to covid-19 and you will not be able to participate anymore, you will ofcourse get a full refund.

Masterclass 1: Saturday 4 September (maybe Saturday 4 September) 2021, 09.00-17.30 in the theater
Masterclass 2: Thursday 9 September 2021, 12.00-17.00 in a rehearsal studio
Masterclass 3: Thursday 23 September 2021, 12.00-17.00 in a rehearsal studio
Masterclass 4: Friday 8 October 2021, 09.00-21.30 in the theater

Individual storycoaching (1,5 hour per person) is included on 27, 28 or 29 September.
Dinner included on the Final day (when covid allows….)

Ready to go? Sign up by sending an e-mail to Sandra Boer,

Start: Friday 14 January 2022 (OPEN SUBSCRIPTION)

Masterclass 1: Friday 14 January 2022, 09.00-17.30 in the theater
Masterclass 2: Friday 21 January 2022, 12.00-17.00 in a rehearsal studio
Masterclass 3: Saturday 29 January 2022, 12.00-17.00 in a rehearsal studio
Masterclass 4: Thursday 10 February 2022, 09.00-21.30 in the theater

Individual storycoaching (1,5 hour per person) on a day of choice on February 7, 8 or 9.
Dinner included on the Final day (when covid allows….)

Ready to go? Sign up by sending an e-mail to Sandra Boer,


The cast for ‘Into the Light: the science and art of storytelling’ consists of many people.
But the leading roles are definetely for theatermakers and your trainers Grainne Delaney and Andreas Vonder.

Andreas Vonder, Sandra Boer, Grainne Delaney, Robert Tordoir

Grainne Delaney
“I move people, emotionally, mentally and physically. I am a fire starter!”

Grainne acquired a Masters Degree in Theatre & Psychology, writing her thesis on the ‘Power of Personal Storytelling through Theatre’. Then she forgot about it for 10 years and went travelling around Europe and Asia performing and improvising. After that, she settled in Amsterdam and became a teacher, trained and practiced as a physiotherapist and then certified as an Energy & Life Coach while raising two (feral) children. This training ‘Into the Light: the science and art of storytelling’ represents a culmination of all her interests and curious connections between the mind, body and voice and using creativity to explore passions and purpose. And before we forget…. she is also an aikido black belt.

Andreas Vonder
“If you want to know me, then you must know my story, for my story defines who I am.” Dan McAdams

Andreas studied Modern Literature at the University of Amsterdam and has worked as a theatre director and playwright ever since. His debut, the play Sirene Rust  (Siren Rest) was first performed in 1997. He was based in Germany for some years from 1999, his work receiving high praise in the press. In the Netherlands, his work has been shown at the Oerolfestival, the Karavaan and the Over het IJ Festival. Notably Omdat het Kan (Because it is Possible), three plays about the financial crisis, in 2009. Andreas harnesses his expertise as a director and playwright to support organizations tackling cultural change and innovation issues.

Andreas also followed the 3-year course in professional communication and the trainers course at Phoenix.

And furthermore…

Giath Taha, photograper –
Bart Majoor, filmer –
Jochum Vrijland, filmer – 
Machteld Aardse & Kyra Sacks, workbook –

Sandra Boer, oprichter en directeur Art Partner
Robert Tordoir, oprichter en directeur Art Partner


Tell a good story and everyone listens; tell an authentic story and everyone is touched into the heart and never forgets again. The difference between a good story and a real story is made by the narrator. How true he is. How much he shows of himself. That requires courage and skills.

This is a course that is tailored to everyday use and based on insights and methodology from storytelling, theatre practice and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). The course is made up of 4 masterclasses/Acts (2 whole days and 2 half days) and individual storycoaching spread over a period of 6 weeks.

During the masterclasses:
– we will discuss the theory and practice of storytelling
– we will swap experiences
– we will provide you with personal guidance
– and you will practice on each other. A lot.

We use assignments from an incredible workbook that was designed by two artists (De Beeldvormers).
And we work a lot with video feedback.

Masterclass I: Who am I?
To become a skilled storyteller you need to develop a conscious awareness of your own stories. Your own experiences, belief systems, slip-ups and triumphs are the source material from which to build and tell a story. ‘Incorporating yourself’ is essential in storytelling. You the speaker are the medium that carries the message, the story.

Masterclass II: Who is the other?
In daily practice, you’re listening for the right opportunity in the conversation, for the right context, for the shifts in attention, for cues to speed up, slow down, let go, ask a question. When you put the spotlight on the audience, your story becomes less about you and more about them. You get busy creating the right conditions, processing signals, building rapport and inviting them to re-live your story with you.

Masterclass III: The story
How can you shape, or distill one powerful story to just it’s essence, for the coffee corner, the lunch line, the conference registration queue, to initiate conversation with a stranger? How can you stretch it to become a metaphor to guide your power point presentation, to impress a boardroom, or motivate a team?

Masterclass IV: The performance
The moment has come. It is five minutes before you have to go on. You can tell by the cacophony of voices coming from the auditorium that the audience is pouring in. All you can do now is wait. You have prepared everything there was to prepare. You hear a floorboard creak, and shuffling footsteps coming from the wings: a final ‘Break a leg!’ from one of your colleagues. The auditorium lights go down and the buzz slips into silence. It’s time. Time to stand in the light. Let the show begin!

Exit Stage Right
As we gain mastery, we realize, our stage can be everywhere, and we choose to bring our own light.


Nisrine Mbarki

I watch and listen to the world around me and try to understand it in all its beauty and cruelty. I try to translate that impression as clearly and directly as possible by writing or by giving it back to the world in another way. Language is the one closest to me because we have been sentenced to that powerful but also vulnerable medium. My work is located between different disciplines and worlds and connects them.

Art Partner is the first organisation that has appointed what I actually do and how I do it in the form of a talent and skill. Sandra and Robert have the gift of linking two worlds that apparently have nothing with each other and know how to forge them into a marriage. A marriage in which all parties meet their needs and take major steps in their development. The secret is that they can work with everyone on meta and micro level and have found a language that transcends frameworks.


Willum Geerts

In a mixture of installation, performance, audio and video work, graphic design, drawing, painting, language and unexpected circumstances, I create moments of chaos, stillness, confusion and surrender in which the spectator often cannot help but take an active position.

I use the power of art to question the absurd human condition through humor, critical entertainment and uninhibited engagement. To break through prevailing views and structures, whereby success and failure are equally used as a strategy. I play, pinch and tilt a situation until it totters and falls. After which I kindly help it up again so I can safely tilt it into another direction without any concern.

I see the challenge to disarm everyone by letting the imagination seize power, precisely there where art is not self-evident. Which then results in shared insights by receiving the unknown and unexpected with open arms.

How seeing blind spots creates better care

Aveleijn is an institution for people with intellectual disabilities. Nearly two thousand people work there, dedicated to their clients in eighty locations. Every day again. But despite their involvement and unbridled commitment, everything does not always go well. For example, it can happen that an employee does something that clients do not like without being aware of it. This can be a so-called “blind spot”. A small action that develops into a fixed pattern with the result that more and more distance is created between the wishes of clients and the approach of employees. What starts as a small action ends as something that affects the well-being of clients.

Aveleijn came to us because of our distinctive and creative approach. In collaboration with Anne Gehring – theater maker and mother of a son with Down syndrome – we developed a special day for 200 employees. It was a day full of discovery and reflection. Anne read from a diary that she had kept during her stay with Aveleijn, prior to this day. It was a personal story in which she presented the employees with a loving mirror. But the employees also got to work. They were challenged by challenging interventions and other work forms to view their own functioning through different perspectives.

In total no fewer than 162 blind spots were formulated. From “I stick to rules while this actually hinders the client” to “I fill in too quickly for the other.” Valuable self-insights that gave employees enough starting points to take better care of their clients. And of themselves.

Annemiek Vera

“In everything I do I am curious about the sources that live in people. What kind of knowledge is there in you? What kind of experiences live inside? And do you translate these into wisdom and a drive? I like to work with people, groups, artists, colleagues, etc. We often look forward, focus on the things we lack or find that we have not sufficiently developed. That what makes us who we are, we might experience as (too) self-evident. I like to turn it around. How can you make better use of who you are and what you carry with you? Nothing is self-evident! ”

The work of Annemiek puts you face to face with vulnerability; with a unique inspired inner world that contains so much beauty and can evoke emotion. Annemiek has been affiliated with the HKU since 2004 as a lecturer and since 2015 at the Lectoraat Muzische Professionalisering. Based on her experience, she developed the Masterclass Return-to-Sender, a unique and special masterclass for teams that dare to go further.

Julika Marijn

“In my theater performances, I give voice to women of strength who have gone their own way and have strongly influenced the world. I believe that the world longs for strong women and their voices. And I encourage people to find their own strength to tell their story on stage. I use my experience as a performer and my knowledge of breathing techniques to coach them.

I like to do interventions in a theatrical way to make the voices of women within an organization stronger and clearer.”

With Julika we work(ed) a.0. for KPMG and De Haagse Hogeschool.

Marjet Wessels Boer

Studio Wessels Boer animates public spaces with objects or sculptural interventions that make you feel at home, connect you to your surroundings and inspire curiosity. The work is often integrated into the existing architecture or the infrastructure of a space and brings about a bridge between the public and private.

“What surprised me the most during the commission I did with Art Partner was the openness and enthusiasm of those involved. The original assignment in the Henrick de Keijserstraat in Amsterdam asked for a façade artwork, but I came up with a large permanent street rug.

Both the client (Stadgenoot) and the municipality dared to do this and went for it. No one saw too many bears on the road. The permits were no problem and with minimal resources the result was a real metamorphosis. The implementers found it very nice to spray something other than a bike path. The reactions of the residents were very moving. In short, a super collaboration.”

With Marjet we worked together with: Stadgenoot



Eefje Suijkerbuijk

Art Partner allowed me to immerse myself in fascinating work environments where I would never have ended up as a director. The mutual inspiration that it yielded by working in places like KPMG but also Bartiméus I have experienced as very valuable.

The great thing about working with Art Partner is that you, as an outsider, enter an organization, but that enough time is taken for research, so you keep your fresh look as a newcomer, but you come to the essence of the organization. I am amazed every time how well this works and that at the end of such a collaboration I really feel that I have learned and contributed something essential.

I always search for the best fitting medium for the story I want to tell. Sometimes it is a film, then a TV program, a radio play, theater piece or even an online interdisciplinary platform. The story is always leading. My strength is to investigate and address things that are sensitive in an integere but also humorous manner.

With Eefje we worked together with: Bartiméus and KPMG. (Online platform VPRO) 

And nice to mention: in pursuit of the Zwelgplek, Eefje is now working on a VPRO Theme Evening that will be on NPO3 on 4 January 2019: ‘De Nationale Zwelgavond’, an 80-minute TV evening that is all about of all moments in life that things are not going so well.

Johan Bouwmeester

“…. I enjoy it when I see people open up, when they show their qualities and talents, their strength, but also their vulnerability. It strikes me that organizations often have a distorting effect on people. You notice that in the language they speak, the words they use, the things that are and are not spoken about. Unnoticed, the organization often becomes a coat that attracts people, without them knowing it. The people also get glasses right away, even though they are not visually impaired! But how you look determines what you see. ”

I see myself as someone who is able to create a climate in which people can show themselves as they are. To look from there to what the organization actually stands for and what society needs from them. I call that developing value awareness and working from your identity. I do this, among other things, by giving space to the imagination and therefore I like to work with Art Partner.

For example, we organized wonderful management meetings at Horizon College. With Lina Issa we developed a concept with the four elements (fire, water, air and earth) as the basis of a teambuilding program for the entire management. In this we spoke to all the senses and thus created an unforgettable experience for the participants. All figurative coats were discarded and glasses were put off.

And with the Beeldvormers a huge image bank has been created in all sorts of sessions, from which the Horizon College can draw and in which the energy and imagination, but also concrete wishes and ideas are recorded.

Lina Issa

In my work, I investigate what it takes to have an encouter and to establish a relationship. A relationship where vulnerability and empathy can unfold, where the personal is experienced as political, and where norms and power relations around this relationship are acknowledged and investigated.

I enjoy working with storytelling, performative interventions, film, and that what the body wants to tell us. And I constantly challenge myself to do so together, hand in hand, with softness, playfulness, poetry and care; even during the moments that I do not agree with you at all, or what you represent could exclude or hurt me. Discomfort can be a fertile ground for building an equal relationship.

“I felt challenged to just step inside the organization, to stay open and close to myself.
I felt challenged to embrace resistance as vulnerability.
I felt resistance to the amount of expectations that you have to deal with and that you ask for in return.
I was amazed at how difficult it is to really name problematic things.
I felt moved when you said that you’ve also felt the value of small personal steps in this process.
I felt moved when I saw your face change from skeptical and reserved to open and engaged.
I am moved to have met you.”

The collaboration with Art Partner has given me, as an artist with a migration background, the special opportunity to stand in the middle of the Dutch society, with my work but also as a person.
Through Art Partner I was able to give my political engagement a new form through my artistic practice.

I felt acknowledged in my different sides and talents.
I felt supported to  experiment and grow.
I was able to draw long lines of research and to deepen them.
I felt inspired by their gentle leadership and strategic approach that never lost sight of what is human.
I have experienced their efforts in sticking to empathy.

The idea of ​​transforming a ‘change trajectory’ into a transformative experience and an encounter instead of a business assignment. The creativity to see and approach business partners as fellow citizens.

I have the opportunity to work with partners and people whom I normally would never meet.
I am challenged to view issues that are very important to me as a citizen and person from the perspective of decision makers.
I entered to places where I would usually never come, but places that do have an influence on the quality of my life, of our lives, of our society.
I have seen and experienced real changes through our work.

Rosetta Drenth

“I am always looking for balance and since real balance is a continuous movement between two points, always in motion. The two points that keep me in balance in my work:
Acting is Personal and Faithful acting in a fabricated situation.
Logic brings you from A to B, Imagination takes you everywhere.

Art Partner is able to bring the connection between art and companies to a 2.0 version, because the connection is established between the person behind / in the company and the person behind / in art. And that makes me curious about the future with the full conviction that I am going to be surprised there.”

With Rosetta we work, a.o., for KPMG, where she is one of the trainers for the Masterclasses ‘Pitching Skills: Making an Impact’ that we developed especially for KPMG.

Emke Idema

“I see the theater as a community laboratory, where you as a visitor always consciously or unconsciously occupy a position.With my social playgrounds, I want to give people the opportunity to do, let and think, where the personal and the political touch.

I use the imagination to hack thought patterns, to (re) identify and practice important values, and to shape your own viewpoints and important stories for you.

I work in different forms: for example, I have developed a number of games for groups of people to play and I like to give thought experiments. The nice and exciting thing about this research method is that nobody knows what the end result will look like. With a good starting question and your curiosity you can design a process with a group that can be a work of art in itself.

Furthermore, I give feedback training in the DasArts feedback method, in collaboration with Art Partner, to groups outside the art world. It is nice to see how an instrument that has been developed for groups of artists can also be so enriching for others. ”

Read our blogs for Management & Consulting about what we can learn from the theater when it comes to giving and receiving feedback:
BLOG | Feedback. Or fast forward?
BLOG | Agile Feedback: the power of thinking together

Photography: Bas de Brouwer

Teun Castelein

Teun Castelein (1980) is an artist known for a wide range of entrepreneurial adventures. He calls himself a ‘one-man conglomerate’ operating from the city of Amsterdam with the ambition of overtaking the world. With his projects he researches and questions the functioning of the free market and the chances of survival for the artistic and humanistic. Castelein graduated from the Sandberg Institute (MA program of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy) in 2007 with offering advertisement space on the façade of the institute. For almost five years he is teaching ‘Branding’ at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and since this year ‘Social Dreaming’ at the University of the Underground. His work is widely covered by national and international media. For his shipping company ‘Lampedusa’ he received a Peace Pigeon at International Peace Day 2017. Castelein was nominated ‘citizen of the year 2016’ by the municipality of Amsterdam. He is also a member of pop rock collective ‘The Geert Wilders’.

With Teun we worked together with a.o. KPMG, NCD, NVTZ


Gehring & Ketelaars

“We have an inexhaustible fascination with how people struggle with themselves and the situation they are in. Our theater work is inspired by current, poignant stories from society, on their beauty and their pain.

In the assignments for Art Partner we experienced the enormous power of ‘imagining’. At KPMG we gave a theatrical lecture at the foundation of their Women’s Network. Before that, we had interviewed 100 men and women. We caught on what was said between the lines, we asked, challenged. On the one hand, women were annoyed at how tough the corporate culture was with regard to women, but on the other hand, it was perfectly normal to think that a woman who works part-time is laughed at: ‘yes, we just do that here’. We showed this contradiction in the interactive performance. If we had ‘just’ told them this ‘, the message would not have stuck. But it stuck in the concentrated context of the theatrical reading.”

With Anne Gehring and Vera Ketelaars (together Gehring & Ketelaars) we worked a.o. together with: KPMG and The Hague University of Applied Sciences.



Many organizations are faced with the same problem: a vision that never leaves the paper. It sticks to a few nicely formulated sentences that everyone has their own opinion about. As a result, the A4 with vision ends up in a drawer and only reappears at the next teambuilding day.

A waste.

That it can be done differently with a little bit of courage, proved The Hague University of Applied Sciences. At their request, we developed a special program. A program in which all members of the management teams from various departments and faculties and the Executive Board participated. This consisted of various parts and interventions that were aimed at investigating the vision. That gave them the space to give their opinion and to talk to each other. The possibility to share with others what this vision means for themselves and for their team. And that gave them the tools to communicate the vision to their employees with their own personal story. Confronting, but – everyone agreed afterwards – also enlightening, positive and surprising.

Investigating the vision: the first reading

The first management conference was mainly about researching the new mission. For this we used a method that has proven its value in the theater for centuries: the first lecture. In the weeks before the conference, playwright and director Andreas Vonder conducted intensive talks with all those involved, in this case the members of the management team. About what goes well and what does not. About how they see the vision. About the cooperation with other departments. He incorporated the answers, sometimes given reluctantly, into nine stage scenes. During the conference, the people involved climbed the stage and read these scenes. An approach that proved to work. An open and honest dialogue arose between the managers, in which subjects were appointed that remain unspoken under normal circumstances. There was room to tell each other the truth, without this leading to bad discussions. There was understanding for the other and with that the foundation was laid for the second part: discovering the vision.


This first day was recorded in a special way. Visual artists Machteld Aardse and Kyra Sacks of De Beeldvormers drew up a visual report. Based on what they saw, heard and felt. Everything that struck them was given a place in the report. The result is a book in which the atmosphere of the day was perfectly captured and that is too special to disappear in a drawer. To give an impression, here a part from one of the scenes.

PERSONAGE A It is up to us to make it more concrete.
PERSONAGE C World citizenship should be about this.
PERSONAGE B You can get it very close to home … World citizenship lives across the street in the Schilderswijk and the Transvaal neighborhood.
PERSONAGE C When you think about the themes that play there …
PERSONAGE B … if you look at the people who come in every day …
PERSONAGE C … why are subjects such as global citizenship and internationalization far away? PERSONAGE B Now we have very nice objectives, the only risk is that the institutional plan is being driven into the organization.
PERSONAGE B And so it is important that we make a plan in the faculties about how we can work with the teams with the objectives.
PERSONAGE A And how will that plan look?
PERSONAGE C We have not had that conversation with each other yet.
PERSONAGE B There is daily practice and the process of change. You see that there is a lot of pressure on the existing practice.
PERSONAGE C It takes time and energy and that ensures that there is no time left … and then the sanding.
PERSONAGE B It also has to do with focus.
PERSONAGE C And ownership. If you make it too general, it is not from anyone. If you make it too specific, it will be sealed.

Discover the vision: parade of performances

During the second management conference, the discovery of the vision was central. Every faculty and department was given the opportunity to show where they stood regarding the vision. In an unconventional way: by giving a mini-performance about a topic that they wanted to discuss with the others. A big challenge. To get them on their way, they received support from performance artists Gehring & Ketelaars.

The set-up of the day itself was like a mini parade with different performances on different stages. This created a relaxed atmosphere and a sense of solidarity and gave all participants the opportunity to tell their story in a way that suits them best. This varied from a football game that derailed due to a lack of rules, to a marriage including vows between two departments, to an impressive performance by the IT service around a high-tech application from the future. Various performances that moved and touched. They ensured connection and all contributed to the goal of the day: discovering the deeper meaning of the vision for the organization.

Communicating the vision: storytelling

The power of storytelling was the common thread in a two-day meeting of 60 directors and managers, which we organized together with consultancy firm Thaesis. In addition to drawing up a manifesto and developing an outline for a multi-year plan, all participants also worked on their personal springboard story, the story with which they could convey the vision to their employees in an inspiring way.

Under the guidance of playwright and director Andreas Vonder and actress and artist Grainne Delaney, all participants discovered what the building blocks of a good story are and how they can use them to bring the vision to life and carry it out in a way that lasts. As with the first management conference, De Beeldvormers were there to capture everything in their own special way: the atmosphere of the day perfectly captured in drawings.

Diederik Rijpstra

I love listening. And the effect that that listening has on you as a person. And what I find completely magical is that everyone does that in a totally different way. I can also see that in organizations. The same sound evokes all kinds of thoughts in one person, another is carried away by a feeling, another disappears in an old dream.

When I work with teams, I let them make music. They express themselves, they listen to each other and experience the tension between the two. I find it really fascinating to see and hear that when teams make music, that sounds exactly as they are in essence. Often without them knowing it for themselves. A fast marketing team goes on and on, while a team with insecurity stops playing after a minute.

To listen, it is necessary to slow down, stand still, listen around you. As a composer I am looking for that delay and I have noticed that this is also very valuable in organizations.

Photography: Keke Keukelaar

Theatrical mirror

How do our students see their teachers and the education that we give? What do they need? How can the interaction between students and teachers be improved? That was what the Communications & Multimedia program wanted to know. To answer these questions, theatre makers Vera Ketelaars and Anne Gehring interviewed several students and based on the answers they presented the teachers with a theatrical mirror. An eye-opener, because many teachers did not know what is really going on among the students. How they experience the lessons. With which themes and dilemmas they struggle. How big is their need to be seen. Which lessons happen best.

In the second part of the intervention, the teachers had to get to work themselves. They were challenged to examine their motivations and to empathize with their students. For example, they had to share with their colleagues why they had become teachers, answer the question of which event in the class had made a deep impression on them and they had to try to imagine what it would be like to be a student (again). The combination of the mirror and the exercises gave the lecturers more insight into their role as teachers and in the needs of their students.

I was touched when a student said “I can not do anything at all”.

What often touches me is that you do not always see what is going on with a student. The example of the girl who was so troubled and actually wanted to become a man. He is now. We must be attentive to this kind of thing. The loneliness of students, the search, the uncertainty. Difficult to join somewhere. That touches me. Language is so important. Some can not. Are we dealing with this properly? Sometimes I wonder.


Reshaping everyday quality

Quality is one of the pillars under the vision of the Haagse University of Applied Sciences. But it is also a subjective and general concept. We got the request from the Faculty of Business, Marketing & Finance to deepen this. To let the 150 employees and teachers experience quality. We did this by organizing a conference together with 11 artists. A conference that consisted of seven different workshops, ranging from a Theatrical Lecture about students’ experiences with quality to a Storytelling workshop. From Feed Forward and Fuck-up Morning Sessions to the way To change the world in one hour. In every workshop the concept of quality emerged in a different way. It became a day full of new insights and experiences, which was recorded in a beautiful experiencebook by the Beeldvormers.

Inspiration for the strategic team

Bartiméus is committed to people with visual impairments and a new strategic course has been set out together with Adviesbureau Thaesis. We are instructed to provide the team working on this with input by answering questions such as: To what extent are the employees involved in the new course? What are their concerns? What is their vision on the future of the organization?

At our request, the artists Kyra Sacks, Eefje Suijkerbuijk and Nina Boas went on research. They immersed themselves in the organization and searched for the feelings that lived among employees. They shared their findings in a special way with the team: via three hearing games. Hearing games in which members of the management played an important role and in which the opinion of the employees clearly emerged. In addition, the artists, together with the employees, developed radio fragments to announce the new course and they devised a new slogan to support the course: Luisterrijk en opzienbarend (which is really hard to translate because they are new combined Dutch words meaning Rich in listening and striking in seeing).


KPMG believes in the power of artists. In their ability to look at reality differently and thereby open the eyes of employees. In their creativity with which they bring the vision and mission of KPMG to life. And in their ability to inspire employees to bring a substantive strong presentation full of verve into the light. In other words: KPMG believes in the approach that Art Partner has been working hard establish for years: the use of artists to initiate change and innovation. This belief has led to a unique collaboration, in different areas and at different levels.

Masterclasses Pitching Skills

Even though the content is perfect, if it fails to convey this, much of the quality of the work is lost. The Masterclasses Pitching Skills, which we have developed custom-made based on our experience in guiding teams working on a proposal, bring the performance to the same level as the content.


Led by theater makers and trainers Andreas Vonder, Grainne Delaney, Rosetta Drenth and Erik Willems, 500 partners, directors and senior managers of KPMG will be introduced to the laws of theatere in 2018 and 2019. They learn how to grab the audience’s attention from the very first minute, how they can hold them, which building of a story works best and what the influence of non-verbal communication can be. For many participants it is a big step out of their comfort zone, but one that is more than worth it: after the master classes all participants have skills and self-knowledge that are needed to make more impact in the relationship with their customers.

Into the Light: the art & science of storytelling

Tell a good story and everyone listens; tell an authentic story and everyone hangs on your lips, gets touched in the heart and never forgets again. The difference between a good story and a real story is made by the narrator. How true he is. How much he shows of himself. That requires courage and skills.

To challenge employees to show more of themselves during presentations and other contact with customers, we developed the Storytelling training together with playwright and director Andreas Vonder and writer and performer Graine Delaney. A training consisting of several sessions spread over six weeks. In addition to the sessions, the participants also get to work with the specially designed course book developed by the artists of De Beeldvormers.

Storytelling has been given five times a year since 2013 and more than 400 employees have now participated. Numbers that are large enough to ensure a different culture within KPMG. And that happens too. The purely content-oriented and inward-looking culture is increasingly giving way to a culture in which everyone reveals more of himself and is better able to connect with others.

Inclusion: women to the top

In order to highlight this difficult and often somewhat abstract subject in an impactful way, theatre makers Anne Gehring and Vera Ketelaars set to work and developed a theatrical lecture. As preparation they held dozens of interviews and asked questions such as: “What is the culture at KPMG? What is alpha male behavior? What about the work-private ratio? What does a woman need to become a top woman? Or does she not want that at all?” From the answers they made a theater text for no less than 160 voices. The text was pronounced by 160 women, in the presence of members of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board. They were silent.

“Diversity is a difficult subject because it often remains abstract”, says Jolande Sap, a member of KPMG’s Supervisory Board. “By making phrases about the corporate culture, prejudices became recognizable as such and understanding developed. KPMG is a very rational organization, and they (Gehring & Ketelaars ed.) put flawlessly on the table what underneath plays.”

The reading of the text also served as an introduction to the new internal network within KPMG: KPMG Inclusive. As a start of the new KPMG Inclusive network, more than 200 KPMG women followed an intensive storytelling workshop. Under the direction of playwright and director Andreas Vonder and writer and performer Graine Delaney, the participants learned how to quickly develop a story that causes impact. And by telling each other personal stories, the women got to know each other better and there was a deeper connection.

Noitavonni: an inspiration day

A special day for no fewer than 250 KPMG employees. Nobody knew what was going to happen. Neither the partners. They only knew that they had to drive as a driver to a destination with three employees in their car. Once there, they were challenged to step out of their comfort zone. To look at reality differently. To turn things around, for example the name of the day. For this, 10 artists were ready to supervise workshops. Workshops with titles like: Intuitive Human Approach, Out of the Box Club, Tableau Vivant Image Boost and Catch Creativity.


The workshops ensured that the participants got to know themselves, their colleagues and the company better and some of them uncovered unprecedented creativity. But it was also instructive and confrontational. Especially during the film made especially for the occasion by theater writer and philosopher Nisrine Mbarki in which she tried to answer questions such as: “Do we really look at each other or do we only see each other? What is contact with each other? And there is a lot of consultation in the workplace, but do we actually hear each other? What does the other person really say?” In the film she went undercover on the KPMG workplace for a day and despite the fact that the exact content is confidential, we can say that she gave the room a deafening silence.

In short, a day that lived up to its (reversed) name.


Design: Customer Experience Center

Develop a design for our Customer Experience Center. That was KPMG’s question. We started working with designer Rogier Martens. And that resulted in a room with high ceilings, grand lettering, new lamps, a grandstand and an innovation room. A space full of big gestures and new applications for recognizable forms. And a space that recurs constantly: the blue walls can be described with white felt-tip pens.

Design: innovation room

A Lab was a new KPMG space in Amsterdam North, far away from the head office and close to the start-ups with which they collaborate. For this we developed, together with artist and scenographer Maze de Boer and stylist Annemieke Paarlberg, an innovation room full of double layers that did justice to one of the most important conditions of innovation: to come into action.

As visitors entered the room, gray predominated. And if they did not do anything, the room stayed grey. But once they got started, everything changed. The interior, but also the atmosphere in the room. They fell from one surprise into the other. The chairs turned out to have a bright colored seat, the cupboard doors became colorful and whiteboard at the same time as they opened, and table tops that were being used suddenly changed color. In addition, the space was relatively small and all furniture was simple. There was also a message in this: innovation can be done without luxury. A surprising space where newspaper Het Parool also came to take a look.

Design: storyroom

KPMG was busy writing the KPMG story, the search for their ‘Why’, defining their vision and strategy and drawing up the promise (oath) that all employees had to make. For this purpose, interactive sessions were held regularly with KPMG staff from all offices in the Netherlands. We made a contribution. In two different ways. So we designed, together with Annemieke Paarlberg, a storyroom where the dynamics were felt and which is still often used as a creative inspiration room. And together with De Beeldvormers we developed the booklet that all participants received: KPMG Story: inspiration and notes.



VUmc wants to be an organization in which diversity and inclusiveness play an important role. Where there is room for equality and where students and employees feel that they are being seen. Where everyone’s culture and background is seen as wealth.

To realize this, VUmc has entered into a partnership with us. A collaboration that has existed for five years and that has led to a number of special artistic interventions, unforgettable moments and more understanding and connection between employees and students.

Four questions and the gut feeling

The inaugural lecture of Prof. dr. Dr. Gerda Croiset, education director VUmc School of Medical Sciences, was seized upon for an impressive intervention on diversity, developed by artist Lina Issa. The intervention involved four questions: “Who is the other? When do you feel most vulnerable? When are you an interpreter or do you need an interpreter? How do you learn empathy?” In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Lina asked these questions to students, specialists, doctors, nurses and chefs from the world kitchen of VUmc. The answers were now on the chairs in the hall. The 180 participants were asked to read aloud the answer in their envelope. This made a deep impression and was the first step towards a clear vision of inclusiveness and diversity in education and – as it turned out later – it was also the seed of a new committee within MFVU, the faculty association: D.O.C.S. (Diversity. Open. Culture. Students.). A committee that stands for diversity in the broadest sense of the word, with the main aim being to make an essential contribution to the development of a learning climate in which diversity is seen as wealth and where it is optimally used.

Different in the white coat

A symposium on the state of affairs of diversity in medicine education. The theme was ‘Colorful Connection’ and we made a substantial contribution to this day. On different levels. Artist Lina Issa coached the speakers to bring their story to the fore and made sure that the participants were presented with a surprising program in which they immediately started working on the theme.

They were asked to start a conversation with a stranger by asking the following questions: “Have you gotten a hug today? What is a comforting question for you? and What does skin color mean to you?” This not only created ‘real conversations’ between the participants, but also a sense of connection. And that was – just like the rest of the day – captured in a special way by the Beeldvormers. You can see exactly what this looks like.


Who are you really?

Together with D.O.C.S. and artist Lina Issa we have developed an intervention for the first day of brand new students. An intervention that makes them feel immediately welcome and invites them to show who they really are and to share their story with other students. For example, during lunch there are napkins with texts that stimulate and incite them to have a real conversation, such as: “The norm here is that empathy gets less in the course of your studies” and “I feel vulnerable when I have to to adjust’.


Another part of the intervention is during the afternoon program. Then a senior student tells about his experiences and asks the new students when they feel welcome, what a doctor needs to be good, how well they can communicate, how many languages ​​they speak. The answers are given by four second-year students who are ‘disguised’ as first-year students in the auditorium. Their answers are the prelude to a conversation between these students. A conversation that they have prepared well with artist Lina Issa and that has exactly the right effect: the room is moving and the new students feel the space to share their own stories, to be open to others, to enter into a conversation and to be vulnerable.

The drinks afterwards fit perfectly with the previous program. In the middle of the room are tables with fresh mint tea, Turkish coffee, spekkoek and other delicacies, but of course students can also get a beer. The ideal setting for real conversations with other first-year students.

Dinner at the doctors

One of the most successful initiatives of recent years. New students who have registered with D.O.C.S. will have the opportunity to join a doctor at home during for dinner. The informal setting creates an open atmosphere at the table and there is room for the students to ask questions that they normally do not get the opportunity to do. Questions about the doctor’s field and more personal questions. And in turn, the doctors get the chance to get to know students in a different way. In the words of one of the participating doctors: “It is an inspiring evening. You were an enthusiastic group. It was nice that everyone had a different background and wanted to tell about it. Nice to see that diversity is mainly on the ‘inside’ and that not everything can be seen on the ‘outside’.”

Supermarket forbidden

An artistic intervention during the introduction week of new members of D.O.C.S. that we developed together with artist Lina Issa. Normally, first-year students eat a quick bite with their mentor during the introduction week. But with this intervention, this quick bite changes into a valuable moment when students get to know each other better. They get a shopping list and the order not to get the groceries at the nearest supermarket, but to go to pre-selected local stores, such as the Turkish butcher and the toko. And in addition to the shopping list, students also receive a list of questions that they had to ask the retailers and – above all – each other. Questions like: “What is the dirtiest thing you have ever eaten? What do you cook to impress a date? And what taste does remind you of home?” With the result that personal conversations get started, the students get to know each other better and feel more connected to each other.

Diversity and inclusiveness in the bachelor

Together with Lina Issa we developed various artistic interventions for the bachelor of VUmc University of Medical Sciences. Interventions that are embedded in the existing learning path around diversity and inclusiveness of which the basis is formed by four questions: “Who is the other? When do you feel most vulnerable? When are you an interpreter or do you need an interpreter? How do you learn empathy?

One of the interventions takes place around the theme ‘dealing with language barriers’. In these interventions the students get to see a film in which a doctor tells about his experiences in this area and the dilemmas for which he came to be. And before he talks about how he has dealt with the dilemma in question, students first have to come up with solutions themselves.

In addition to this intervention, we also developed interventions for the practicals ‘Care Ethics and Diversity’, ‘From Cultural Interview to Cultural Encounter’ and ‘Preventie en Ethics’.

Teachers learn from students

A training for teachers in which students play a crucial role. During this training four students tell their story about their experiences with diversity and (the lack of) inclusiveness and indicate what a teacher in their eyes could have done differently and might have to do different in the future. These stories, which they prepare well together with Lina Issa, are very personal, make a deep impression on the teachers and give the conversation a deeper layer afterwards.

Long-term student: Directing the vision

Inholland University of Applied Sciences had a problem: the number of long-term students grew alarming. Something had to happen. But what? And especially, by whom? Because many different groups are involved in long-term study. Students, teachers, study counselors, deans and the Executive Board. Art Partner and playwright Andreas Vonder spoke with more than 50 people from different groups and with these conversations as a basis, Andreas wrote a theatrescene for each group. A scene that was read and discussed by the various people involved during a special day. That was sometimes confronting and painful, but above all also enlightening. The first step towards a solution could be taken. And to ensure that this day would last, Machteld Aardse and Kyra Sacks of De Beeldvormers made drawings that touched the core of the scenes.

Long-term students: on the right track

Inholland had put a lot of effort into reducing the number of long-term students. Several projects had been developed. From individual conversations to a long-term training course to get students moving again. It was time to bring all these projects into the limelight. Together with De Beeldvormers and Hein Voorwinde we developed ‘On the right track’. A booklet in which all projects received the attention they deserved and that was full of energy and inspiration to continue on the chosen path.

Erik Willems

“Actually, everything I do is about communication, both what you say to others and what you call to yourself all day in your head.

“Is not it a crazy combination, theater and therapy?” I hear that question regularly, because I work both as a therapist and in the theater. Of course, they differ in many areas. But as far as I am concerned, there is also a big agreement, because both theater and therapy make an attempt to go beyond the everyday form of communication, to change the basic understanding of people about themselves and their world.

Theater is best when it is personal. That became very clear to me in a juvenile prison. There I did a project with Studio 52nd from Amsterdam. As a writer, I was linked to one of the boys who sat there and did various exercises with him. So I asked to describe his first night in prison. To write down all his thoughts, feelings, ideas and fears. Then I asked him to write how he thought people were looking at him from the outside. That evening we had several scenes played by actors who were with us, that was a very intense evening with heavy stories. Also the first night of the youngster I worked with was told by one of the actors. I saw that he (the boy) struggled to control his tears when he heard his story. I am not busy with solving anything or creating a form of healing, just looking for the most theatrical, where the pain is, the conflict and where it is abraded. At the end, one of the regular escorts came to me and said that what we had achieved in one day with that group was what they had not done in a year. ”

Erik teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague as a lecturer in Stage Performing and teaches at the Academy for Theater and Dance in Amsterdam. He gives NLP training and is a teacher of Ericksonian hypnotherapy at two institutes in the Netherlands and also has his own practice in Amsterdam as a hypnotherapist. Graduated from the Theater School in Amsterdam (Amsterdam School of the Arts) in 2004 and made or played performances at o.a Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the New Heroes Foundation and the Noord Nederlands Toneel.

We work with Erik o.a. with: KPMG (Masterclasses Making an Impact)


Nina Boas

“It was with great pleasure that I, as an anthropologist, entered a whole new experience of the working world. Because I was the strange artist, people were open and shared information with me, from management to client. It amazed me how I went along and really wanted to think along in the challenges of the organization to come up with solutions. How it all really concerned human connections and the shortages in them. I saw heads communicating with each other but each other’s hearts were not touched. There was no group feeling, connectedness.

Then the challenge to come up with an artistic intervention that would make the hearts speak. Being active together, making something together and creating together, a radio play of sounds together, of other sounds, of sounds made by them themselves, to listen again and to hear other sounds. It brought us to the core, everyone wants to be heard. Only then can you continue.”

Andreas Vonder

“I help people make themselves visible to the other person by telling their personal story. Before I worked with Art Partner I did not have a good idea of ​​the added value I could have as a playwright / director for organizations.

What amazed me most is that what I saw as self-evident from the theater, did not seem so obvious to many (people in) organizations. The metaphor of the theater helped them to look at processes differently. For example, how a director forms his players’ ensemble and takes them into his vision. The importance of rehearsing for a presentation, the tools that are available to make an impact. That preparation is everything. Every detail is reflected in the theater, nothing happens without a reason.

In addition, I was surprised about how few colleagues know each other. How is it possible that there are no unmotivated actors, while many of them are underpaid and never complain about overtime? Whether it is the Triodos Bank or KPMG, the Hague University of Applied Sciences or the municipality of Almere, Eiffel or Heineken, I always see the desire. The desire to meet each other on personal stories.”

With Andreas we worked a.o. with: KPMG, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Heineken, EIFFEL, Ymere, Bierens, Almere Municipality, Inholland University of Applied Sciences and Marketing Queens.

D.O.C.S. unites students

After the first intervention by Lina Issa, 5 students went up to the director. If the discourse can be conducted in this way, if what they experience and feel is out in the open in this way, they want to play an active role in the diversity policy of VUmc. They set up a new committee called D.O.C.S. which stands for Diversity. Openness. Culture. Students. After two years they join the existing faculty association MFVU and now, 5 years later, they can not be ignored. One of the most active committees with more than 150 members. Follow them on Facebook to see what role they play within VUmc University of Medical Sciences:

And we produced this short film with D.O.C.S. and artist Lina Issa.

Grainne Delaney

I move people.

Emotionally on stage through a touching performance, mentally, through coaching with dialogue that resonates and finally I move them physically by connecting their bodies and breath.

I am a Performance Artist which means developing skills to play and create new relationships, to cross borders (political and emotional) to grow through studying life from different perspectives and to explore being yourself and another at the same time.

And I am committed to supporting others to do this too, in different environments other than the stage. In the corporate business world, I connect bodies and breath, I connect intentions to voice and movement, and help turn values into actions for Individuals and Teams.

I have 40 years experience teaching, performing and producing on and off stage.

I was astonished to hear Sandra and Robert defending my value as an artist. No one had done that for me before. I don’t know the ‘codes’ for translating what I do into return on investment for the corporate world and a creative can’t always be visible and logical. They represented my skills, perspective and process and then gave me the space and trust to do my job.

They are a clear bridge between corporate and creative, making thorough explorations and interviews with both artist and client to make sure there is a match on every level.

Met Grainne werkten we o.a. met: KPMG, De Haagse Hogeschool, Heineken, EIFFEL, Ymere en de Marketing Queens


Martijn Engelbregt

“My work is about converting frustration, via not knowing, to wonder. It is an investigation into how I can help people to look at so-called self-evidence in other ways.

As an artist I have a lot of experience with working in assignment situations. The way Art Partner works, gives me the opportunity to concentrate completely on my work, and not to lose myself in keeping the parties involved happy. I have discovered that the result of this working method can be more valuable and meaningful for all parties. If the different interests do not have to be mixed, but can meet each other on the basis of strength and vulnerability, there is, apparently automatically, space for magic.

With Martijn we worked with KPMG.

Ellert Haitjema

“In essence, my work is about connecting, the arbitrariness and poetry of human action, putting it into perspective and expressing it. And if I had to explain it to a nine-year-old, I would say that I often wonder about what people make. And that I respond with constructions, photos and words.

What surprised me the most during the assignment(s) I did with Art Partner was the great drive, dedication, and involvement of Sandra and Robert! And in addition, all the attention again and again for the customer as well as for the participating artists, that is no small feat.”

With Ellert we worked together with Sail Amsterdam and the municipality of Almere.

Jacco van Uden

The enormous sincerity in the work of Art Partner. The total absence of slick stories, of bragging, of thinking in cubes and formats. Their open gaze, towards the client, towards the assignment, towards the process and towards the artists. That makes working with Art Partner rather exciting. Art Partner does not bake sweet buns and does not make false promises that everything will be alright.

Good artists loosen up things, and that is not just fun or liberating. Certainly in organizations, working with artistscan be confrontational; you can not turn away  or walk to the next room with other works. In organizations you are not waiting to enjoy the disruptive effect of art at a distance.

The great thing about the people of Art Partner is that they stay close to you and really help you to “get involved”.  That is special, but that did not surprise me either. At Art Partner you get what you see: great people, warm professionals.

Jacco van Uden is a professor at the change management research group of The Hague School of Applied Sciences.

Heidi Linck

“What surprised me the most during the assignment that I did with Art Partner is the courage of the bank I worked with. They were vulnerable in a period when banks presented themselves as unassailable for the trust of their customers.

This assignment was not a marketing project to represent the image of the bank, but a collaboration in which both the board, employees and I went outside our comfort zone, which resulted in images and interventions that surprised me. It has changed my view on what art can do forever.”

Kyra Sacks

“… how much you can see if you take a step backwards and only look very carefully. People say so much without being aware of it. By being somewhere for a longer period and observing them, they forget at a certain moment that you’re there. And then the party begins: subtle changes in body language, facial expression, position, groups that form and pull the cart or just seclude, with exuberance or visible boredom.

The moment the energy drops or is released … By taking the time and space to only look very closely at what is happening around me, inspiration is never far away.”

Kyra Sacks and Machteld Aardse worked together for the first time in an assignment for the Municipality of Almere. This has led to their company It is very special to see how a new creative company can emerge from an assignment that we work closely with.

With Kyra we worked together with: Municipality of Almere, KPMG, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Bartiméus, EIFFEL, Horizon College and VUmc. and

Robert Tordoir

“For 10 years now, we have made organizations aware of the relevance of imagination. Working with organizations and artists on actual and relevant issues remains fascinating, and each question requires a different approach, another artist. If artists have time to investigate the challenges of the organization and are given the space to think of an intervention to create movement, you see their unlikely power. It is fascinating to experience that every intervention they come up with touches and hits the core. That the thinking and doing of employees can really tilt.

To accompany this process from the first moment, with the necessary insecurity that comes with this, gives a huge satisfaction. For me it is the combination of the contact with clients and artists, the formation of the team, the supervision, the preparation, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and the interventions that the artists come up with, which makes our profession so fascinating.”

Robert Tordoir (1966) is an economist and in 2002 he switched from the graphic industry (Mahez) to the largest art lending site in the Netherlands, Kunstcentrum Zaanstad, where he was responsible for lending companies for seven years. While everyone was shocked by the crisis that broke out in 2008, Robert saw opportunities in the creative approach of artists for organizations and started Art Partner together with Sandra.

Robert Tordoir

Rogier Martens

“From a story or need, I look at an environment or space and adjust it accordingly, by creating a seating object and sometimes by bringing or removing light or sound. In my work I always look for clear solutions to a problem and to the smartest way to make complex questions and /or stories understandable. I always prefer objects and environments with an unmistakable identity.

Through Art Partner I can focus on what is important. The questions and clients often come from a direction that is less accessible to me. The Art Partners often see opportunities that I do not see. Sometimes they ask me while I myself am not 100% convinced that I can contribute something positive to the project, but they are always right in the end. By embracing their enthusiastic and open attitude and their way of experiment, innovative and surprising results emerge.”

Studio Rogier Martens was founded in 2006 and specializes in product and exhibition design and always works in a varied team of specialists.

With Rogier we worked together with a.o.: KPMG, Bierens en Unilever.

Anook Cleonne

“Looking for the place of trouble, where it becomes cloudy, is for me always a place that gives energy, which I also like to encounter, while I never really know how to plan it actively, I try to keep space for not knowing, how difficult it is (time pressure, pressure to ‘make something’) and every time the surprise to find something that is right and yet also very different from what I was looking for. The gifts that are hidden everywhere remain a constant source of wonder. That moment when a company or organization really becomes my studio, that moment ….

What surprises me the most during the assignments I do with Art Partner is the amount of capital that is always present in organizations. In people as a matter of fact. And what kind of fire is involved as soon as you make room to play. How much people really want to say yes, and that they do, but how little space is experienced to act accordingly. While I often see that space very well as an artist. Because that space is indeed there. So the discrepancy between what is and what can be and the willingness to move in it. And what happens when those insights become shared and clear …. And yet every time that – in an attempt to keep an overview – one overlooks what is beneath our noses … ”

With Anook we worked with: ABN AMRO, Theodoor Gilissen Bankers, & Samhoud, KPMG, Future Female Leaders, Almere municipality and Heineken. and


Machteld Aardse

I draw and play with light and am interested in man as a powerful and powerless being in relation to his environment. Drawing is the basis of all my work. By working on location, looking and drawing, I create my own framework, stage or ‘drawing area’, with the audience as part of the work. A place has its own information, visible and invisible, memory and history. I want to make this physically visible and tangible, and for this I use different media. I prefer to work with an analogue large-screen light projector in the public space on, for example, a facade of a building, so that the public can become part of my work.

Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, together with Art Partner, had the courage to create a new space for the artists, which was not yet existing at the time. I am proud of them and have been involved in this story. Now it seems almost obvious, but the support and conviction they give to the employer, client, the art and the artist is enormous. I still find it special that both Art Partner and clients give me the openness and the confidence to look, investigate, question and develop new work.

With Machteld we worked together with KPMG, VUmc, Inholland University of Applied Sciences, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Horizon College, Van Doorne lawyers and notaries, MN and SAIL Amsterdam. en

Silvia Russel

What surprised me the most during the assignment (s) I did with Art Partner was that companies that work with Art Partner dare to do things differently, that they dare to experiment and step into the unknown.

It has become clear to me over the years that these companies dare because Art Partner combines these two worlds from a great deal of trust both to the client and to the artist. The client convinces the artist and the artist convinces the client. A new quality arises from this respect.

With Silvia we worked together with KPMG, De Haagse Hogeschool, & Samhoud and a private bank.

Sandra Boer

The whole process is inspiring. From the moment of the initial question, formulating the ‘creative question’ together with our clients and artists, casting the creative team, choosing one or more artists, guiding the process. The uncertainty that goes with it. Because we do not walk the beaten track. Because we are not working towards a report, but starting a really different movement. The search of the artists and the confidence that what they come with is always striking.

It sometimes feels like we have been in training for 10 years. We learn in every cooperation with clients and artists. Our own creativity and solution-oriented approach have become greater. In every conversation with an artist we discover new things that organizations can benefit from. The approach of artists is so unique. The kick when it works again, when we are able to lift up the gut feeling, create an insane event, develop a new training, and strengthen a visual identity. The trust of our clients, the way we work together. There is so much to discover.

Sandra Boer

Agile feedback: the power of thinking together

Blog for Management & Consulting – August 2018
Authors: Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir i.s.m. Emke Idema and Annefleur Schep

In a previous blog we wrote about the feedback method of DAS Theater, the master program for theatre makers and curators of the Amsterdam School of the Arts. In this method, giving feedback is a game with clear rules that force feedback providers to provide clear and precise feedback at a high speed, purely focused on content. A method that caught our attention and we wondered what organizations can learn from it. We spoke to Annefleur Schep, actress, theatre maker and performer about the meaning of this feedback method for her work.

The power of what is self-evident to you

Annefleur Schep: “The strength of this method is that it never becomes personal and the content is always central. The bundling of all knowledge, all perspectives and different perspectives ensures that your product becomes stronger. It does not matter if it concerns a play, like me, or a proposal you’re working on, a new product or a new service. Every time it is amazing how much the group has to offer. Through the feedback you see the power of what is obvious to you. Eventually you do many things unconsciously. It reinforces your idea, but also yourself, when you become aware of those unconscious qualities.

Perspective shift

For me, the feedback session is often the first step outside with my idea. This does not mean that my idea is already finished. On the contrary. But I know what I want to ask, I choose very consciously. You have your own perspective, but now you get the perspective of all those others. I use that to look again, to see new structures. But in the end it is my product. All feedback ensures that I sometimes make other, but above all, much more conscious choices and can articulate better why I make those choices.

Agile Feedback

The pace during the feedback sessions is high. That time limit seems to be a hindrance, but is very nice. It works well if there is not too much time to think. You work about 2.5 hours with a group of 12-15 people. They are entirely at your disposal with their time, their knowledge, background, ideas and opinions. So you get a lot of input. Afterwards your house is, as a matter of speech, a mess and you have to clean up first. Everyone deals with it in a different way. But I see amongst a lot of colleagues that it makes you more agile, more flexible. When I have the time, I take one comment per day that I reflect on and that I use. But when the deadline is approaching, I am speeding up and trying to get the core of all the feedback to sharpen my idea.

Team awareness

Perhaps one of the most impressive side effects is the impact the method has on the group. If everyone does this, is sometimes a feedback provider and sometimes a recipient, you create a place where people think with each other. You become much more aware of what everyone is doing, what people struggle with, what choices they make. You also know what someone needs. People start ‘feeding’ each other with films, links, fragments, articles and contacts that can help you further. It supports me to know what others are doing. There is something cool, something ‘wolfpack-like’. That you start to move more as a group, feel a certain pride, even in a place where people mainly work with their own creative process. ”

About this blog

In the art world, new methods, ideas and concepts are developed daily that can contribute to the innovation and change power of organizations. Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders of Art Partner, discover these – often hidden – gems and determine exactly which part of the artistic process is interesting for organizations. They post a monthly blog for the Dutch magazine Management & Consulting.

Image: De Beeldvormers

Feedback. Or fast forward?

Blog for Management & Consulting – June 2018
Authors: Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir with Emke Idema and Annefleur Schep

Giving and receiving valuable feedback on new ideas, products or initiatives is a problem in many organizations. Especially when it takes place in a group. The recipient takes it personally, the feedback is inaccurate, or the minority of the participants performs the highest word which prevents others from contributing. As a result: a lot of negative energy, frustration and a brake on innovation and creativity. DAS Theater, the master’s program for theater makers and curators of the Amsterdam School of the Arts, also had to deal with this. Because feedback is so essential for theater and artistry, in collaboration with philosopher Karim Benammar they developed a feedback methodology that has been used successfully for years. They prove that it can also be done differently.

The respect and the sharpness with which DAS Theater alumni talk about the methodology, triggered us to investigate further. What can we learn from DAS Theater? And how can the business sector also benefit from developments in the cultural sector?

Do it right, or don’t do it at all.

For DAS Theater, feedback is not something you sometimes do or exchange on a one-to-one basis, but it is a core activity of their master’s program. Everyone, from management to students to employees and external stakeholders, commits to the methodology. The method is aimed at creating the right climate and a good mindset for giving and receiving feedback. A climate in which everyone takes responsibility for each other. In short: do it well, or don’t do it at all.

Accuracy is the key to opening new doors

It is a game, with clear rules, in which the participants go through a number of steps at a rapid pace. These steps ensure that the feedback is accurate, and that the recipient is able to see it separately from the person. With this method, giving and receiving feedback for all participants is a valuable process. Because both the facilitator and the participants are forced and helped to formulate very precisely and clearly, the feedback applicants experience the input as a gift. The strength of the group is used to really help the inquirer. As a result, new doors are opened.

Room for reflection and further development

Emke Idema and Annefleur Schep are both alumni of DAS Theater and facilitators of the DAS feedback method. “We are used to the fact that as the asker for feedback you often have the feeling that you have to say something back. Moreover, in a group you often have a number of people who say a lot, but also many people who do not say anything. You take that out with this method”, Emke Idema points out as one of the great advantages of the method. In addition, Annefleur Schep states: “As a maker, after a feedback session, you can better see what your material is, it helps to adjust. You learn what your ideas mean for other people. Your thinking becomes more articulate and your thinking becomes much bigger. This could certainly be an eye-opener for new concepts, products and initiatives in the business world. ”

Curious? In our next blog we will go deeper into a few of the working methods that are used and the impact they have on the makers.

About this blog 

In the art world, new methods, ideas and concepts are developed daily that can contribute to the innovation and change power of organizations. Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders of Art Partner, discover these – often hidden – gems and determine exactly which part of the artistic process is interesting for organizations. They write a monthly blog for Management & Consulting.

Image: De Beeldvormers (source: Everybody Matters)


How do you, as a director, engage your team into your vision?

Blog for Management & Consulting – april 2018
Authors: Sandra Boer, Robert Tordoir and Andreas Vonder

More than six years ago we had a wonderful conversation with playwright and director Andreas Vonder. We asked him to take us along in his process as a theater maker. From the first idea to the final presentation. We took the time and dwelt upon all elements of this process that surprised us. There was one element that we immediately addressed: the first reading. The instrument for a director to engage his entire theater company, from actor to light designer, in his vision of the piece. How can you as a director or manager benefit from this proven methodology from the theater?

The first reading

In the theater, the first reading is the moment when everyone sees the piece for the first time and reads aloud together. So that the actors and other involved parties get a picture of the performance and their own role. This is also the time to question the director. What is the purpose of the piece? From the roles? And by finding out together what is not yet clear, to arrive at a shared understanding of what the essence of the piece is.

From theater to your organization

You have developed a good vision together with your (management) team or the management. But during the presentation it seems that the story does not arrive. What would happen if you used the techniques of the theater? So that employees can discover and question the essence of the vision itself? So that it eventually becomes ‘their’ vision? It starts by bringing out the (real) opinion of employees and finding out which informal stories are doing the rounds.

Translating these stories into scenes first creates a certain distance, a safe space. Within the fictional setting of a written scene, things can emerge that normally remain hidden. In scenes, things can be enlarged and sharper than they really are. But also ideas and initiatives from teams that support the vision become visible and will serve as inspiration and booster for the rest of the organization.

From first reading to directing your vision

During a ‘First Reading’ the scenes are read aloud; by colleagues, for colleagues. This is a valuable moment, because the different scenes make it immediately clear where each department stands with respect to the vision. On which points the departments and teams reinforce each other, and on which they weaken each other. In short, employees discover in the discussion about the scenes to which the vision contributes and how they themselves can contribute to realizing the vision.

And after the first reading? Then rehearsal can begin.

About this blog

In the art world, new methods, ideas and concepts are developed daily that can contribute to the innovation and change power of organizations. Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders of Art Partner, discover these – often hidden – gems and determine exactly which part of the artistic process is interesting for organizations. They post a monthly blog for the Dutch magazine Management & Consulting.

Beeld: De Beeldvormers

How art shapes the practice of management.

Blog for Management & Consulting – March 2018
Published on Medium – June 2019
Authors: Sandra Boer & Robert Tordoir

Complete freedom: ideal?
Jacco van Uden, professor of Change Management at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, organized the Art of Leadership program for middle and senior management and wrote an interesting article about the findings for the magazine Waardenwerk titled ‘The back of work’.

Participants were invited to jointly and openly explore how art could shape the practice of management. They got acquainted with various art forms (performing arts, visual arts), spoke with various people involved (artists, designers, teachers, a curator, art historians) and were invited to relate to art practices in various ways (look at, talk about, active participation). The participants made ten interesting discoveries:

1. Full freedom not so ideal
In the eyes of artists, an ‘ideal’ as complete freedom can also lead to non-commitment and they realize that creativity often thrives well in terms of boundaries and deadlines. The participating managers recognize themselves in this.

2. Professional space
The claim of an artist that she makes work ‘that nobody has asked for’ and ‘nobody is looking for’ leads to a detailed exploration of the tension experienced by managers between tasks on the one hand and professional space and freedom on the other.

3. Personal fascination as the foundation for successful cooperation
An artist-designer states that personal fascinations can lay a solid foundation for successful partnerships. Fascination, according to the participants, relates to: critical reflection on assessment frameworks (who ultimately determines whether something is good), commissioning (how much space do I have in adjusting or even returning a task) and the nature of the relationship with colleagues (how do you organize project teams based on shared interests).

4. Brushing, messing around and tinkering as a valuable element
Good art is rarely the outcome of a predictable, controlled process. Art can not exist without a certain embrace of uncertainty and chance. Making art has its own (capricious) logic and rhythm. The encounter with art processes not only leads to critical reflections on one’s own management style, but for a number of participants the practice is noticeably changed as a result of the ‘insights’ that it can pay off to ‘look into uncertainty’, that you have ‘to dare to make a mess’ and that structure can also arise in other than familiar ways.

5. You always need others
Even in the case of the apparently solitary artist, art practice can not be separated from the involvement of other artists, from assistants, from curators, from curators and conservators, from the public, from clients, from reviewers, and so on. The fact that there is a certain collectivity in every work of art turned out to be an insight that invited participants to investigate in their own practice with whom and in what way work is achieved.

6. Division of roles and your own contribution
Coproduction in the arts throws new light on, for example, role distributions, but also on (the sensibility of) wanting to reduce individual contributions to joint work, on how you (the actions of) the other approach or on the own vulnerability in taking initiative.

7. The same words, different meaning
Familiar concepts, concepts that are used in both worlds, are (essentially) used and valued by art professionals differently than by the managers. Clutter, insecurity, coincidence, fascination, not-knowing. Concepts that are regarded in the art world as active ingredients, as drivers of a creative process, as sources from which to use or as an antidote to predictable, uninteresting work.

8. Conflict or insight?
The practice of management is based on principles that seem to conflict with what works in art practice. Wanting to avoid mistakes, striving for smooth, transparent processes, the presumed importance of predictability, the assumption that nothing can get out of trouble – it is in the capillaries of the management practice: in control models, in the delineation of functions and roles, in the expectations of colleagues, in IT systems, in the way of administration, in incentive incentives, and so on.

9. Search for self-evidence
Meeting with different art practices is particularly appreciated for ‘the invitation to reorientation’. Not the big gesture of a radically new view, model or method, but an encouragement to look for the self-evidence in one’s own work through the arts.

10. See again
It is an art to ‘see again’ what is there. Seeking new meaning for what is already there and working with what is already there. New things can arise from that other sense of meaning.

About this blog

In the art world, new methods, ideas and concepts are developed daily that can contribute to the innovation and change power of organizations. Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders of Art Partner, discover these – often hidden – gems and determine exactly which part of the artistic process is interesting for organizations. They post a monthly blog in Management & Consulting.

Image: De Beeldvormers

Artists can work well with complex issues

Management & Consulting 1 – 2018.
Interview with Jolande Sap (member of the Supervisory Board of  KPMG) and
Gerda Croiset (director VUmc, School of Medical Sciences).

Change can be difficult, sometimes even impossible. No regular advisor or manager can do anything about this. There are times when you need people who think different and act different. Art Partner has been linking artists to companies since 2008. Companies that realize that another report or powerpoint presentation will not do the trick. The artists ask questions that nobody had thought up or dared to ask, and come up with an unexpected approach. They use their creative abilities to stimulate, inspire, confuse and surprise so that everything starts to move. The subject can actually be everything. “Artists can work well with complex issues. Issues that concern trust, transparency or diversity, for example”, according to Art Partner-founders Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir. “They are especially good at making a vision or issue experiential.”

Art Partner works with a pool of 35 artists from various disciplines. They have realized artistic interventions for over forty companies, ranging from KPMG, Unilever, Eiffel and Van Doorne Lawyers  to the municipality of Almere, the Hague University of Applied Schiences and VUmc. Many clients come back for follow-up projects and enter into a long-term relationship with Art Partner. They recognize and embrace the added value that an artist’s gaze and approach can have for an organization. They allow creativity within their organization and thus initiate change.

The company culture appointed

KPMG has worked together with more than 25 artists over the past five years, among other things to increase the innovative power of employees, to design innovation spaces and to develop concepts for events. Using storytelling theater makers teach employees how to deal with customer contact and acquisition differently. Artists also play a major role in accelerating the discussion about diversity.
“Diversity is a difficult subject because it often remains abstract”, says Jolande Sap, a member of KPMG’s Supervisory Board. “Theater makers Anne Gehring and Vera Ketelaars changed this by naming things openly and concretely. In a meeting they asked 160 employees to read out loud short sentences about the company culture. By pronouncing them, prejudices became recognizable as such and understanding developed. KPMG is a very rational organization, but the theater makers flawlessly made visible what is happening under the skin. Major steps have been taken since then. More women have now been appointed in management positions, a program for young parents has been set up and the holidays of all religions are now being celebrated.”

Give a voice and ratification

VUmc has been working closely with artist Lina Issa since 2013 and has developed dozens of interventions to promote empathy among medical students and to give cultural diversity a place in education.
“We thought we were doing a lot with the subject of diversity at the VUmc, but our approach turned out not to work, it actually strengthened stereotypes and increased uncertainty”, says Gerda Croiset, director of  VUmc School of Medical Sciences. “We, academics, are strongly cognitively oriented. But it’s about personal relationships and understanding. There is creativity needed to translate that into practice. With the help of Lina and Art Partner, students with a non-Dutch background were given a voice. A new study association has been established: D.O.C.S. (Diversity, Openness, Culture, Students). On their first day at the university, students enter into an interview with someone they did not choose to sit next to. And during parties not only beer is served but also mint tea and Moroccan coffee. Students get to know each other. Members of D.O.C.S. teach lecturers from their own experiences with diversity and they continue to work on research assignments at Harvard and positions in consultative bodies. It is remarkable that artists can set such an institute as ours in motion.”

Sandra Boer and Robert Tordoir, founders Art Partner

Photography Giath Taha and Bart Majoor
Drawings: De Beeldvormers

The entire article in Dutch can be found here: 201803_ManagementConsulting_ArtPartner