Academic Forum

Expand your horizons, take time to reflect

Visual Thinking Strategies: Gadamer’s filosofie ‘Kennis doet pijn’ *

Looking at things with a critical eye, thinking, and presenting your view with well-conceived arguments. These are skills that you can put to good use the rest of your life. They are central in four Critical thinking workshops by Academic Forum on Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS); you will be able to practice them, too. This fourth and last workshop specifically addresses the painful process of letting go of old certainties in the scholarly process. Attention will be paid to the inaccessibility of truth by scientific methods and the impossibility of getting to grips with it, no matter how hard we try. (language: Dutch)

Program information

Date June 26
Language June 26 - language: Dutch
Time See 'Seminars' (text below)
Location See 'Seminars' (text below)
Registration Free, you can register by filling out the registration form. You can participate in the entire training, but also in individual meetings.
Speakers Janneke van Leeuwen, Maria IJzermans, Hans van Dijk, Josette Jacobs
Contact Ingemarie Sam
Organization Academic Forum (Tilburg University)
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Academic Forum Certificate. Note: the entire training is considered as one meeting (the condition is to follow at least two of the four training sessions).

How best to deal with complex situations? Close observation, critical thinking, and presenting a well-argued point of view are skills that you can use to good effect throughout your life. The series of four Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) seminars offered by Academic Forum enable you to practice these skills.

Seminar June 26 (Dutch)

In een serie van 4 bijeenkomsten wordt studenten en andere belangstellenden een programma geboden, dat leert om je beter in te kunnen leven in de belevingswereld van anderen en om je eigen mening beter te verwoorden. Elke bijeenkomst wordt ingestoken vanuit een van de wetenschapsgebieden van onze universiteit. Op 26 juni gebeurt dat vanuit filosofisch perspectief. Josette Jacobs, universitair docent filosofie van Wageningen University, laat in deze lezing zien dat het verkrijgen van nieuwe inzichten noodzakelijkerwijs gepaard gaat met het loslaten van oude zekerheden. En ja, dat doet pijn. Ze maakt duidelijk dat dit essentieel is voor het wetenschappelijke proces; wetenschappers zijn immers altijd op zoek naar nieuwe kennis. En daar zit de link met VTS. Ook tijdens het kijken naar een kunstwerk kan je ervaren dat je nieuwe zienswijzen opneemt, en oude afstoot. Het maakt je bewust van je denken, en van het onderscheid tussen wat je ziet en de betekenis die je het geeft. De lezing is gebaseerd op de filosofie van Hans-Georg Gadamer. Josette gebruikt VTS om de studenten te laten ervaren wat zij aan theorie doceert. Zoals het in de wetenschap draait om het onderzoeken en duiden van fenomenen in de werkelijkheid, ondervinden studenten in een VTS-gesprek aan den lijve hoe het proces van waarnemen en interpreteren werkt.  (language: Dutch)

Why Visual Thinking Strategies? >>

Through Academic Forum, Tilburg University is the first Dutch university to offer VTS to all of its students. VTS enables you to:

  • strengthen your empathic response to others, and visit each other’s world;
  • argue on the basis of factual evidence and exuding self-confidence;
  • see connections and distinguish details in complex information;
  • think speculatively and recognize multiple possibilities;
  • reconsider or expand your view on the basis of arguments;
  • be more patient, take more time to contemplate and analyze, and reserve judgment.

Seminars spring 2018 >>

Each of the scheduled seminars focuses on a particular discipline: psychology, law, sociology, or philosophy. You can participate in the entire training, but also in individual seminars.

  • VTS & Your Brain: The thinking eye and the social brain (English spoken)
    Janneke van Leeuwen (PhD at UCL Institute of Neurology, London)
    Tuesday, March 20, 12:45-14:30, Black Box (Esplanade Building)

  • VTS in de rechtszaal: het onderscheid tussen feiten en meningen bij het argumenteren (Dutch spoken)
    Maria IJzermans (Assistant Professor at Tilburg Law School)
    Thursday, April 26, 14:45-16:30, Black Box (Esplanade Building)

  • Diversity and Orange Juice: How to Look beyond Stereotypes and to Understand Differences between People by Looking Closely (English spoken)
    Hans van Dijk (Assistant Professor TSB)
    Thursday, May 24, 10:45-12:30, WZ 104 (Warande Building)

  • VTS & Gadamer’s filosofie: “Kennis doet pijn” (Dutch spoken)
    Josette Jacobs (Assistant Professor at Wageningen University)
    Tuesday, June 26, 12:45-14:30, Black Box (Esplanade Building)

How does VTS work? >>

In small groups you look at a work of art. What do you see? And what does the person next to you see? The trainer ensures that all participants are able to express their personal views and associations. You look for yourself and through the eyes of the others. In this way you learn that your vision has merit, as does that of another person. And that we all look at art engaging our own brain dynamics – as we do when we look at a patient, a court case or a business. By watching closely, calmly and together you see more.

Research >>

In the US, the VTS program has been running for more than 25 years and has been extensively researched. It is currently used by 60 US medical schools and it is compulsory for Yale and Harvard students. In Ireland the VTS program is used to teach medical students to observe patients and diagnose conditions.

More about VTS >>

The Visual Thinking Strategies concept was developed in the 1990s by Philip Yenawine, former Education Director at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Abigail Housen, a Harvard graduate and cognitive psychologist. The concept was triggered by the observation that while visitors to the museum thoroughly enjoyed their visit, they would retain virtually nothing of the information offered during the guided tour. At the heart of VTS is the innovative methodology Housen developed to measure esthetic growth and transpose the findings to education, and over the past ten years research and practical experience have contributed to sophisticating the methodology. In the US, VTS has been successfully used for many years at schools, universities, and in museums. Some Dutch schools have also started using VTS, and for the past eighteen months training at a number of medical schools, including those of Erasmus University Rotterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen, has included a method for improving analysis and diagnosis through using visual arts.


This training is an Academic Forum initiative of Tilburg University.

When: 26 June 2018 12:45

End date: 26 June 2018 14:30