News and events Tilburg University

Conference on 'Resilience in the Face of Adversity: A Core Textual Approach'

Date: Time: To be announced Location: Tilburg University

On January 19 and 20, 2023, University College Tilburg is organizing a conference on ‘Resilience in the Face of Adversity: A Core Textual Approach’.

Core texts offer insights into the conceptualization of resilience and adversity in different times and places and invite us to critically reflect upon our own (fixed) ideas on what these concepts mean. In core texts, we read about the personal and societal hardships that (fictional) characters experience. We feel addressed by their reflections and feelings, recognize our own issues and might find consolation in their narratives, as core texts reveal how individuals and societies display resilience in the face of challenges and adversity.

Please consult the conference booklet for more information regarding the conference theme, the conceptualization of adversity and resilience and examples of core texts. We look forward to receiving your proposals and reflecting together on weakness, resilience, vulnerability, courage and hope.

Conference Proposals and Registration

The conference invites presentations on any topic in line with the focus of the conference. The deadline for presentation proposals is Friday, October 7, 2022 (midnight). Please consult the conference booklet for more information regarding submission guidelines, registration and fees. 


Keynote Speakers

Alkeline van Lenning

Prof. Dr. Alkeline van Lenning is Educational Professor at Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences and Dean of University College Tilburg. In her well-established career, she has been involved in designing the Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor’s program and has taught courses at various renowned universities around the world (Sanaá University, Yemen, Venice International University, Italy, KOC University, Turkey, and Roosevelt University, USA). Apart from her efforts in editing, her many publications include articles and contributions to books on teaching in higher education, resilience in students and gender studies. As Dean of University College Tilburg, she continuously strives to optimize the educational policy of the Liberal Arts and Sciences program in order to provide young people with the knowledge and skills necessary for living and working successfully in a highly complex world.


Tessa Leesen

Dr. Tessa Leesen is assistant professor and Vice Dean at University College Tilburg. Her areas of expertise include higher education on the one hand, with special focus on student well-being, and history on the other, where she concentrates on antiquity, Roman law, rhetoric, and legal history. She currently coordinates and teaches the courses ‘The Civil and Common Law Traditions’ and ‘European History: Politics and Culture’ at UC Tilburg. She is the project leader of an interdisciplinary research project on students’ intellectual, personal and civic learning gain in Dutch higher education, funded by NRO. In addition, she is project leader of ‘The Resilience Project: Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better’, which aims to enhance students’ resilience and break the taboo on failure.


Jean Kwok

Jean Kwok is the New York Times and international bestselling author of Girl in Translation (2010), Mambo in Chinatown (2014), and Searching for Sylvie Lee (2019). Her work is inspired by many of her life's events. As a child, Jean moved from Hong Kong to Brooklyn and together with her family, worked in a clothing factory in Chinatown to make ends meet. Jean has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Columbia University. Her work has been published in twenty countries and featured in prominent magazines and newspapers such as NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and Vogue. Apart from having spoken at many institutes and events, including Harvard University, Columbia University, Talks at Google, the American School of the Hague and the International Literature Festival Utrecht, she has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America and a documentary on her life and work was made by VPRO


Edward Brooks

Dr. Edward Brooks is the Executive Director of the Oxford Character Project at the University of Oxford, where his research lies at the intersection of virtue ethics, character education, and leadership development. Particular interests include the virtue of hope, and how it can be understood and cultivated in late modern society, and the function of role models in leadership development. He holds faculty positions in both the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions at the University of Oxford, leading research projects focusing on character and leadership in UK business and leadership development in the Global South. He co-founded the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative, the Global Leadership Challenge, and the Oxford SDG Impact Lab, and has designed and delivered character and leadership development programmes for universities and organisations around the world. He is co-editor of Cultivating Virtue in the University (2022) and is currently working on a book on the virtue of hope and edited volume on The Arts of Leading: Perspectives from the Humanities and Liberal Arts. 


Odile Heynders

Prof. Dr. Odile Heynders is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Department of Culture Studies of Tilburg University. In 1998/99 and 2004/05, she was a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Sciences (NIAS). She currently teaches several courses, both at Bachelor, Master, and Honors level, including ‘Migrant Experiences, Narratives and Fictions’, ‘The Truth of Fiction’, ‘New Private and Public Spheres’, and ‘Humanities in the Digital Age’. In her research, she mainly focuses on the use of literary strategies in “the analysis and understanding of current democratic public sphere(s)”. Her book Writers as Public Intellectuals, Literature, Celebrity, Democracy (2016) was published at Palgrave McMillan and her current research projects on Experiences of Migration in Literatures (Cambridge publishers) and The Truths of Fiction in Digital Societies are forthcoming.

Practical Information


At walking distance from Tilburg University:

City Center:

Other hotels in Tilburg:

Conference Venue

Dante Building, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Campus map

Getting to Tilburg University

Route description

Contact Information

For questions or further information about the conference, please send an e-mail to