Journalist Robin Goudsmit designated as new Scherpsteller

Flemish-Dutch cultural house deBuren and PILAR, House for Art & Science at VUB, have named the Dutch journalist Robin Goudsmit as their Scherpsteller, a title given to the most up-and-coming thinker of the moment. Goudsmit will focus on social developments for the next two years, taking over from Warda El-Kaddouri. On 14 March she will be a guest at the PILAR ASAP Festival: Your Current Mood edition.

Robin Goudsmit (1992) is a journalist with the Dutch newspaper Trouw and has written for De Groene Amsterdammer. In her job she keeps her finger on the pulse of current affairs. But what interests her are the structures and systems behind the daily stories. "The interesting thing about my job at the newspaper is that I get to investigate and question power in the form of a norm. For example, how does heteronormativity work in different components of society, or how does a white view affect how we look at history?"

She plans to apply that attitude in her two years as Scherpsteller. "I think it’s more important to raise questions, provoke thoughts and ideas, than to take a position yourself. Not jumping to conclusions, but further scrutinising the dilemmas and contradictions. Staying with the trouble, as [feminist theorist] Donna Haraway puts it. Although, of course, there are also things that make me angry, and that I think you don’t have to remain neutral about as a journalist."

As a domestic reporter, she is particularly concerned with the themes of sexuality, diversity and inclusiveness, and while studying philosophy and cultural analysis she delved into trauma studies. She hopes that as Scherpsteller she will find the opportunity to do many that may not seemingly be linked. Right now, for example, she’s working on a piece about trauma and online culture. Specifically for this month-long edition of the PILAR ASAP festival, which revolves around mental wellness, she wrote Trauma Talk. In it, she looks at how the idea of what trauma is affects youth culture in particular. "If you look on Instagram, everything is traumatic: from dating a Scorpio to cutting your hair. I have no moral judgment about that, but it fascinates me. I wonder what it means."

You can see Goudsmit at work on 14 March during PILAR ASAP Festival. There she’ll moderate the evening "Does social media do you more harm than good?" On 9 April she will talk with Ivana Ivkovic during the Day of Philosophy 2022 in Ghent. You can read her column and more of her work on the


Robin Goudsmit (1992) is a journalist with Dutch newspaper Trouw. She studied philosophy and cultural analysis at the University of Amsterdam and Groningen. She has worked for the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, among other titles. She is particularly interested in contemporary issues of identity, collective trauma and memorial culture. In 2021, she participated in deBuren’s writing residency in Paris.

Claire Gastmans,, 0472 37 19 48

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