Universiteit Leiden

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Thijs Witty

University Lecturer

Dr. T. Witty
+31 71 527 2727

Thijs Witty is an Education and Research Staff Member at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Thijs Witty

Fields of interest

  • Artistic Research
  • Frankfurt School
  • Essayism
  • Popular Education
  • Media Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Cultural Analysis


Unadaptable Screenplays. This research project broadly considers the artistic potential of screenplays from the early Hollywood era. Screenwriters often joke that no one ever pays a dime at a theatre to watch a screenplay, even though it largely determines whether a film gets financed or wins approval from audiences. Unlike lighting, acting, make up, montage, set or sound design, film productions usually do everything possible to efface the signs of screenplays from the final version. The screenplay is therefore unique in the sense that it is both present in every other related craft - usually as inspiration and guide, but also as direction - but itself fully absent from the screen.

Another focus of the project will be a comparative analysis of screenplays written by women during Hollywood’s first boom cycle of photoplay production, roughly between 1905 and 1927. Prominent authors that are included on this list are Alice Guy, Lillian J. Sweetser, Thea von Harbou, Frances Marion, and Frederica Sagor Maas, who all wrote impressive numbers of screenplays, with many of them also produced as motion pictures. By comparing these writers’ lives and their screenplays, I want to qualify the artistic response of female screenplay writers to their compromised and temporary inclusion, before male-dominated professionalisation would exclude them from meaningful participation in the film industry.

Curriculum vitae

Thijs Witty is an Education and Research Staff Member at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

Thijs also works at the Master Artistic Research at the KABK in Den Haag and the Master Education in the Arts at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. He completed his PhD in Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam in 2019. In 2021 he also obtained his NT2 certificate (teacher Dutch as a second language).

Grants and awards

  • ASCA PhD Fellowship (2013-2017)

Key publications

Witty, T. (2020). “Jezelf buiten de taal plaatsen.” Metropolis M, 1 (1/2).

Witty, T. (2019). Essays and Measure: Apprenticeships in Genre, PhD thesis, ASCA.

Witty, T. (2015). “For the New University.” Open! Platform for Art, Culture, and the Public Domain,
4 August 2015.

Witty, T., & Tali, M. (2015). “Wydarzenie w sztuce i polityce.” Czas Kultury, 186(3), 86-89.

Witty, T. (2014). “On the Impatience of Accelerationism.” Kunstlicht, 35(3/4).

University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Literatuurwetenschap

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden



  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Academie der Kunsten

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 1.10


  • Opgenomen in intern register
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