"Racism is a slippery subject, one which evades confrontation, yet one which overshadows every aspect of our lives. Racism is especially rampant in places and people that produce knowledge. By sending our voices, visuals and visions into the world … we [can] make a home out of the cracks." (Gloria Anzaldua)


Race and racism are structurally present in our everyday experiences of Dutch society, yet very often silenced in public discussions. Those who inhabit racialised bodies often experience being pushed to the margins where their presence is just enough to create the illusion of a diverse and inclusive society, yet not enough to make significant changes. In the context of Dutch universities, racialised academics—which we understood as academics who self-identify as being racialised based on a variety of possible markers of difference—are still largely excluded, especially when it comes to hiring for permanent positions. Yet here we are, very much present in Dutch universities regardless. Many of us—racialised academics—exist in the cracks of the university, and from these cracks we resist (epistemic) erasures and try our best to sow seeds for transformations, for possibilities of world(s) otherwise.

The Race in Academia Collective is one of these cracks for racialised academics and/or existing initiatives by-for racialised academics to find each other, to embrace each other, to create safe space with-for each other, to support each other, to make more cracks within the walls of Dutch academia. It is our hope that from these cracks one day we might be able to see a new world emerge. A world where we, racialised academics, not only can exist but thrive in Dutch universities if we so choose to be there. 

About us

We are a collective of racialised scholars[1], individuals and networks, wanting to co-create a space for ourselves and others where we can transform scholarship and society.

[1] We understand racialised scholars as academics in the Netherlands who self-identify as having been excluded because of their skin colour, religion, ethnicity, ability, and migration status (among other markers that intersect).


At present, academia is a site of colonial production of knowledge where the subject of knowledge, represented by the white European man, produces scientific knowledge about his racialised others. This European perspective is considered to be neutral and unbiased. Whiteness, therefore, is the norm of the university that we experience today. Racialised scholars are excluded in universities in the Netherlands, do not get permanent positions, or at best are ‘tolerated’ and tokenized. For those few of us in academia, it can be a violent space, where we and our knowledges of the world are deemed inferior or invalid. 

Despite these challenges, many racialised academics find a way to persevere and push back. They find refuge in small pockets and institutions of like-minded individuals with similar experiences. Using mentoring, tutoring, resistance and joyful safe spaces they find a way to flourish and make a difference. Motivated by social and epistemic justice, the hope of this collective is to facilitate the exchange of knowledges and experiences and the sharing of resources between these groups. We believe that together we can transform academia and beyond and create more space/stability/security for racialised scholars. 

Grounding Principles

  • We come together as (individuals and) networks of racialised scholars to work collectively toward transforming the academia and beyond;
  • We commit to co-creating instead of competition;
  • We commit ourselves to listen to and learn from each other;
  • With care and kindness we nurture each other and our environment;
  • We commit ourselves to the principle of relationality where we are part of the communities we work with; 
  •  We commit ourselves to accountability within academia and beyond – that is within broader communities we are part of and have relations with;
  • We are committed to decolonial principles and praxes of imagining and co-creating spaces and relations that are not hierarchical and not exploitative;
  • We commit ourselves to self-reflection, to unlearn the violence we have internalised so that we do not repeat damaging and extractive patterns;
  • We are committed to social and epistemic justice within and beyond the academia.


More info

Please register for the Race in Academia Meet & Greet on June 3rd. To attend the event, please register here

Please note that attending this event does not mean you commit yourself to be part of the Race in Academia Collective.

If you cannot attend this first gathering but want to be part of the collective, please read our Grounding Principles and complete this form

The Race, Equity and Inclusion Project is an NWO project. Please find more information through this link.