I had a dream. In Chapter 2A of the ‘TU Delft Roadmap 2020 - Freedom to Excel’, I read: ‘The arts at TU Delft connect creative minds across disciplines and encourage lifetime of exploration and self discovery.

They are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking and imaginative problem-solving. The arts strengthen TU Delft´s commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation. The arts are essential to TU Delft’s mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

For example, TU Delft has significant buildings by internationally acclaimed architects and has art by wellknown artists. Better exposure of this inheritance could show that these buildings and art are emblematic of TU Delft’s reputation for innovation and excellence.’ After reading this chapter, the dream was not yet over. It continued, full of beautiful objects and colors, and I saw a group of artists and engineers presenting themselves in a huge exhibition hall that some years ago was built at the TU Delft campus. Every two months, a fabulous exhibition in which their works were exhibited, attracted visitors to Delft and the campus.

At the exhibition, an attendee said, “The structurally bringing together of technology and art, is also a way to stimulate innovation”. “Yes,” another person commented, “Art confronts us with the limits of our thinking and challenges us to constantly push the boundaries. Artists are the antennae of our culture. We desperately need them to recognize what is going on.” Yet another stated, “I believe that TU Delft should create an atmosphere that encourages students to think beyond the obvious. The presence of arts and artists, is an indispensable factor to include.” I told a colleague about my dream. I was so optimistic that TU Delft appeared to attach such great importance to the inclusion of the arts in university life. “No silly,” he said, “TU Delft has nothing like that. But, it seems familiar. I think MIT has written a policy section like that.” That was a bit of a cold shower. Fully awake, I grabbed the TUD-Roadmap to 2020 and searched for the words ‘art’ and ‘artist’. The only match for artist is found in the foreward, mixed in a series of quotes about the ‘People’ section.

‘Avoid creating a manager-led culture, with no feeling for education and research!’ ‘TU Delft is really a sort of artists’ colony and you need to organise it accordingly.’ ‘Why is it so difficult to get rid of badly performing staff?’ ‘Why does it take so long to get anything done here?’ Yes, why does it take TUDelft so long to write Chapter 2A?

Marion Vredeling
Program Manager, TU Delft Library