Monique Spijkers
Monique Spijkers

Maker: Kennisland



Advisor education and youth

Monique Spijkers

LinkedIn profile

Monique is one of Kennisland’s education and youth advisors and as such she is committed to future-proof, inspiring and inclusive education. She firmly believes that beautiful things happen in the educational field when those who provide and create education on a day-to-day basis are put centre-stage. For her, this means that both those in front and in the back of the classroom have a say about what constitutes a meaningful learning experience and environment. She lights up when she gets to translate theory into practice and looks for creative solutions within existing structures. 

In 2015 her curiosity about how gender++GenderRefers to (psychological or social) characteristics that are associated with biological sex. Caring, for example, is often seen as a “typical” feminine quality and pragmatism as “typically” masculine. These stereotypical ideas about gender are outdated and restrictive, especially for individuals who do not (want to) fulfil these imposed gender roles. Gender also refers to how someone identifies themselves, for example (cis or transgender) male or female, non-binary, or something beyond those labels. and sexuality impacts societies, organisations and everyday connections between people propelled her to start a master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. Here she soon found that social justice concerns are intertwined: you cannot find sustainable solutions for a singular topic without also addressing how it interacts with other social concerns at play in society. Ever since she encountered this intersectional way of thinking++IntersectionalityWhen you choose an intersectional approach it means that you are mindful of how identity consists of a multitude of building blocks (for example someone’s gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, health, education, socioeconomic position). Depending on what aspect of someone’s identity you focus on, someone can experience more or less privilege or discrimination. When you look at issues intersectionally you pay attention to the ways in which different identities and/or exclusionary structures interact. about the world, she has kept it close to her heart. This has led her to becoming involved in social justice far beyond issues regarding gender and sexual freedom and autonomy.

After completing her studies Monique couldn’t wait to get started. She knows the value of theory but she has seen and believes that change happens on the ground. With this hands-on attitude she has worked with a diverse group of young people around a wide range of social topics. At Stichting Nederlands Debatinstituut she organised debating tournaments for students in primary school, secondary school and post-secondary vocational education. Subsequently she stood in front of classrooms as a debate trainer and as a guest teacher for the educational programme on love and sexual health coordinated by Amsterdam’s public health service.

Before starting at Kennisland she worked at the public library‘Social justice concerns are intertwined: you cannot find sustainable solutions for a singular topic without also addressing how it interacts with other social concerns at play.’, where she coordinated a programme on digital literacy and sexuality for students in primary and secondary education. Simultaneously she worked as a library consultant at secondary and post-secondary vocational schools where – together with teachers and students – she sought to increase language proficiency of students by taking motivation and pleasure in reading (rather than technical skills) as a starting point. By trial and error she investigated in what ways schools and libraries can contribute to this mission. Monique is not a fan of ‘one size fits all’ as generic solutions often fail to recognise the multifaceted nature of reality. She does believe in ‘practice what you preach’ and finds it important to convey her beliefs in her way of doing and moving around in the world. 

In her free time you can find Monique on a race bike, surfboard or dance floor. She sings in a cool choir and loves cooking up extensive meals for friends, family and flatmates. When it’s cold and dreary outside she puts on the biggest sweater she can find and hides in a cinema. After watching all Star Wars productions and reading Dune she has come to realise she loves sci-fi++Sci-fi?There is debate over whether Star Wars is sci-fi. According to director George Lucas, it is fantasy, or more specifically, a ‘space opera’. Dune has also been called a ‘science fantasy’. Read more

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