Universiteit Leiden

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Centre for the Arts in Society

About Us

LUCAS is home to a multidisciplinary academic community that facilitates deep analyses of, and appreciation for, the power and dynamics of cultural products (texts, objects, practices) in our past and present. Through high-quality research, education, and valorisation, our Institute contributes to a broader understanding of the cultural, artistic, cognitive, historical, and social aspects of human life.

Since its foundation in 1575, humanist interest in languages, literature, art, and culture has been Leiden University's core focus; LUCAS builds on this tradition. Over centuries, this has transformed into a study of culture in every region of the world. While LUCAS members contribute to a deeper knowledge of European culture, our diverse community of scholars reaches beyond Eurocentric perspectives and discourses. 

Our Mission

LUCAS is a prominent player in the interdisciplinary research fields of the arts and cultural studies. Our Institute’s research clusters explore and analyse the complex relationships between art, broadly considered, and society. With an emphasis on collaboration and valorisation, our researchers engage with local and international institutions and partners, and maintain high profiles in both academic and public communities.

LUCAS is one of the few research institutes in the world where experts in the fields of literature, art, architecture, and media collectively study cultural production spanning millennia, from classical antiquity to today. What binds our diverse research clusters is our shared endeavour to understand the between cultural products (texts, objects, practices), and their societal and historical contexts. Importantly, while our research agenda has a single programmatic umbrella (the interaction between the arts and society), it encourages a rich and diverse exploration of this core theme within and across three clusters with their own research agendas, methods, theories, and objects.

We value research integrity, diversity, and inclusiveness among LUCAS members of all positions. We believe that this builds a strong foundation for a scholarly community and teaching environment that encourages broad perspectives, stimulates creativity, and facilitates innovative research. We strive to support all members in offering equitable opportunities to develop their career profiles.

Our Research Clusters

Research undertaken at LUCAS investigates and analyses art in societies spanning from classical antiquity to today. Thus, it is divided into three era-focused clusters:

Management Team

The Management Team is dedicated to effective, efficient, and supportive leadership of LUCAS. It consists of the Academic Director, Director of Studies and Operational Manager, General Board Member, and Project Manager.

Anthonya Visser, our Academic Director, has overarching responsibility for the Institute’s management, the academic quality of employees, and the quality of the doctoral programmes, and research. She represents LUCAS both within and outside the Faculty of Humanities, and promotes internal and external cooperation.

Jan Pronk, our Director of Studies and Operational Manager, coordinates and plans staffing, evaluates LUCAS’s teaching programmes, and manages the institute’s finances and personnel.

Rick Honings, our General Board Member, is in charge of research-related projects: coordinating the Graduate Programme, providing research support to early-career researchers, managing the institute’s strategic branding, and supporting its members in the field of societal impact.

Ylva Klaassen, our Project Manager, deals with LUCAS’s daily organisation and communication, formulates and implements research policy, and otherwise supports the rest of the Management Team.

The Advisory Council

The Advisory Council is made up of representatives of our Institute members. Members are appointed by the Dean, on recommendation of the LUCAS Academic Director, for two years.

The council may make proposals and submit its perspective on all matters on which the Academic Director can decide. For certain issues, such as the budget, reorganisation of the Institute, or other policy issues on which a decision must be made, the Academic Director will first consult the Advisory Board. The Board and the Management Team usually meet about every three months.

The current Advisory Council members are:

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