For a number of years now, VIERNULVIER Arts Centre has been toying with the idea of establishing a young board of management that would operate both together with and independently of the existing board of management. We took inspiration for this from Contact Theatre in Manchester, who fundamentally changed their management with their radical embrace of young people and diversity.
In 2018, VIERNULVIER commissioned Astrid Jans, a cultural management student, to investigate the role a young board could play within VIERNULVIER. This project gained momentum with the development of a more extensive audience engagement strategy and the arrival of international dramaturgs such as Róise Goan and Kopano Maroga. In December 2020, we launched an open call for a Young Board, as a project for further development. The task of that Young Board: to lead, challenge, constructively criticise and encourage the activities of VIERNULVIER as an arts organisation, just like its current board of management.
Specifically, their duty consists of a series of yearly consultations, at which the members offer operational, financial and artistic feedback. This advice can be given in different forms and at different times: at a meeting about the internal and external activities of VIERNULVIER , at a cultural and artistic event, at a meeting of the board of management / a general meeting, or at a VIERNULVIER team meeting.
No fewer than 137 (!) people responded to our open call by putting in an application. Twelve candidates were ultimately selected. This selection was made by young VIERNULVIER employees and a number of external parties with diverse backgrounds. They took into account not only the candidates’ identities and representation, but also their experience and competencies. It was ensured that the group as a whole reflected the diversity of society.
The Young Board has been active since 2021 and its members are Amira El Yaghmouri, Jasper Tweepenninckx, Faiza Osman, Fien Criel, Sarah Bekambo, Misha Verdonck, Amani El Haddad, Koen Vanderschelden, Kasper Claeys, Monica Fierlafijn, Elena Amoah and Quinten Pouliart. Their tenure continues at least until October 2022, a period of eighteen months in total.