As a social psychologist, Wieteke engages in the development and testing of innovation strategies and learning programmes for social matters. At Kennisland, she works on ++Projects in the NetherlandsIn the Netherlands Wieteke worked on, among other projects, social labs around youth unemployment in Dordrecht and Nijmegen, and projects about loneliness and growing old. She currently leads a lab in Amsterdam on living together and public space. and ++International projectsIn Vienna, we started a project on the role of community arts in a polarised society and in Hong Kong Wieteke led, together with MaD Asia, a lab on the role of libraries in the poorest district of the city. projects that focus on finding local strategies for renewal in the social domain. The goal in those projects is never the renewal itself, but the inclusive process that leads to interventions that result in better lives for citizens and better support for vulnerable groups in society.
Wieteke believes that especially times of grand changes in the public sector offer room to redistribute roles in society. Therefore, in her projects the starting point is always that the combined expertise and experiences of all stakeholders involved in a complex issue can lead to new perspectives, ideas and actions. What can we accomplish when we bring together the knowledge and willpower of the government, professional organisations and citizens? That is a questions that Wieteke loves to answer again and again.
The foundation for the answer to this question lies in stories, according to Wieteke. Stories from youngsters that got lost in society, elderly with an unsure future, mothers and fathers who live well below the poverty line. What does a good life look like for them? And who can help them getting there? By mirroring their stories with the stories from professionals in the system that is there to help those citizens, and by combining those stories with academic theories and statistical information, a detailed map of a complex issue and an ideal scenario for our society of the future can be created. This way, new energy and actions emerge. Experiments can be started together, focused on creating new initiatives and shaking up old patterns that seem to be stuck. And preferably, that doesn’t happen only once but, say, 365 days a year.
In her spare time, Wieteke visits a wide variety of concerts and ++FestivalsHer absolute highlight was the Arcade Fire show during heavy weather in Limburg, 2014.. She plays the piano, loves to sing and takes photographs whenever she likes. In the future, Wieteke hopes to obtain her motorcycle license (and drive around with colleague Marcel every now and then) and dreams of starting her own goldsmith’s shop one day.