Simone van de Wetering
Simone van de Wetering

Maker: Giorgos Gripeos

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Advisor and researcher social innovation

Simone van de Wetering

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Simone van de Wetering is a sociologist, specialised in identity and equality issues. She thinks that only when real-life experts like neighbourhood inhabitants, teachers and youngsters participate as co-researchers, societal change can be achieved.  From this belief she works at Kennisland as an advisor social innovation for social labs, and within the team of InnovatieImpuls Onderwijs.

Simone is fascinated by the way in which (in)equality is reflected in the spatiality of the city, and how in and exclusive policy is developed and is experienced by inhabitants. Her studies political science and international relations at the University of Amsterdam and San Francisco State University++San FranciscoDuring her exchange-semester in San Francisco as part of her bachelor, Simone followed courses on international relations and human rights; from the American perspective. made her realise that she wanted to research the effects of global trends and international developments on a local level. She followed a research master social sciences, to eventually specialise in urban sociology and anthropology.

For her graduate research Simone spent five months in the French suburbs where she performed ethnographic research on youth identity and stigmatisation. She blogged about her time in the banlieues for Coolpolitics and discussed her research in the radio show Dichtbij Nederland++Charlie HebdoIn the context of Dutch Freedom Day this broadcast focused on ‘being free after Charlie Hebdo’: what does freedom mean for the youth growing up in the banlieues?. During her studies, the urge to connect academic ways of thinking to current events also resulted in an internship at the Amsterdam-based discussion centre De Balie and in organising debating evenings and discussion festivals for the youth collective happyChaos, for which she is still on the general board.

Nevertheless, Simone feels discomfort with the distance between academic research and societal impact: what’s the utility of research when results do not return to society? And are traditional ways of doing research suitable for understanding social reality? With photographer Sofie van Esch Simone returned to the French suburbs for a subsequent project++Female warriorsRead the article ‘De vrouwelijke krijgers van de franse buitenwijk’ on i-D Magazine. on the female perspective on hip hop in the banlieues. With this project, they researched the daily reality of young women, together with them: the girls told their stories. Simone is convinced that sharing stories leads to mutual empathy and understanding, and thereby to a stronger society. That’s why she is thinking about better ways to make stories with groups others often talk about, but not with.

When Simone is not working, she reads books, likes to cook with the sounds of good hip hop tunes in the background, and enjoys putting her love for the city into practice by visiting world cities. Though most often she ends up in Paris.