A work of art that you can see, hear, feel, smell and walk or roll around. That is what Clannad Moerings has in mind for her Hogeschool Leiden. To let everyone who encounters the work of art experience in the school: you are welcome here. She received the ECIO Frank Award, which annually rewards the best ideas to increase inclusiveness in education.
Inclusiveness is an important theme for Moerings and for good reason. She herself is missing two lower legs and a few (parts of) fingers on each hand. Moerings therefore has some functional limitations, but that does not prevent her from following an education and playing sports. “I think inclusivity should be something that goes without saying. It should not be the case that every student with a disability has to point out that he or she needs adjustments. That threshold is too high.”
In the eyes of Moerings, Leiden University of Applied Sciences is doing quite well. “I sit on the diversity panel of the school, along with other students and teachers. It is important to keep talking about inclusiveness with each other. That is how the idea for this inclusive artwork was born. We really want the Hogeschool shows that she is inclusive and accessible to everyone. I happened to become the spokesperson for this idea, but it is not just mine.”
The jury of the ECIO Frank Award, which annually rewards the best ideas for increasing inclusiveness in education, was very impressed by Moerings’ drive, commitment and charisma. In a video she put forward the idea for an inclusive work of art. Jury chair Jacobine van Geel, also chair of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, was allowed to address Moerings via a video link. “I’ll be happy to see the artwork when it’s there.”
The ECIO Frank Award has been awarded since 2019. ECIO advisor Ellen van Veen says that they are presenting the prize at the Hogeschool especially to involve the educational organization as well. “We hope that the ideas will be realized sooner. We also invite all four finalists to come and tell about the progress at our conference at the end of November. Because of course we hope that the non-awarded proposals will also be implemented.”
The award ceremony was a surprise for Moerings. She was lured to the Hogeschool with the pretext that the diversity panel would have a meeting with the Executive Board. “I have to recover, I did not expect this,” said Moerings. And to her mother who was part of the plot: “so you had no course at all?” The advantage was that her mother could take the bunches of flowers home.