Lecture (4/9) – Glenn Helberg specialized in Psychiatry at the University of Groningen and in Child and Youth Psychiatry at the University of Utrecht. When he was increasingly confronted by young people who were dealing with issues due to their different cultural backgrounds, he decided – through self-study – to specialize in transcultural psychiatry. He integrated theories and the approach towards mental illness from other parts of the world into his own work. According to Helberg, psychiatry has everything to do with what is happening in society: “Social psychiatry is the“ dumping ground” of society. There we see how in the context of policy changes and political decisions, people get into trouble”. He points out that we can only understand and change the inequality of the present if we know its history. That made him decide to also engage himself outside the consulting room on a more social and political level. For Helberg, the history of slavery in the “Republic of the Seven UnitedProvinces” and later on throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is important, because of its effect on the present. This is mainly noticeable in the inequality of the relationships between whites and blacks. In this lecture, he will talk about themes as whitewashing and colorism, and about what white people can do to stop ignoring their common history. How while we are looking at colonialism without realizing itis embedded in our daily routine, politics and in our common history. Ignoring is a way of participating – you are always part of the game.
Glenn Helberg ( Willemstad, Curaçao, 1955) moved to the Netherlands after high school to study medicine at the University of Utrecht. He worked briefly as a general practitioner in Curaçao, but his interest in the human mind soon moved him towards psychiatry. In addition to his daily clinical work as a mental health professional, he gives workshops and lectures about (sexual) diversity, cultural psychiatry and racism among other topics. He is also he committed to the well being of his fellow citizens of the Dutch Caribbean(Antilleans). To this regard, he was chairman of the Antillean interest group Ocan, and in this function he was part of the “Landelijk Overleg Minderheden(LOM)”, a consulting group that fights for the rights of everyone with a different cultural background. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, and member of the Advisory Council for Diversity and Integration (ADI) in Amsterdam. In 2013he received the honorary royal knighthood:“Knight in the Order of Oranje Nassau” On August 7, 2017 he was a guest on the well-known Dutch television program “Zomergasten”.
Photo by Merlijn Doomernik
Poster design by Dayna Casey
Installation by Alexandra Dalavagka and Mirka Kachrimanidou
“You are Always Part of the Game”
Glenn Helberg’s description text was loaded with information that could lead to a variety of different works. Since he is engaged with what happens in our daily lives regarding racial and social inequalities, as well as our political position to those matters, we decided to make a participatory work that brings all those elements mentioned above together, and “in the hands” of students. Formally, the work is very similar to an election booth, since it consists of a “ballot box” and “ballot papers”, suggesting to the students to choose which racial category they belong to, maybe want to belong to, or denying to be categorised in a specific racial colour. Ignoring is a way of participating, you are always a part of the game.