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Last updated on Oktober 9, 2021

Before I met her in real life, I believed that Fieke, from her computer desk, had a view into a spacious studio. Thus was her body language in front of the zoom camera. She has not, in fact. The studio she shares with colleagues is awesome, but her desk is against a wall. Still, for me, it is a strong symbol for what she is like, because Fieke creates space in other people’s minds. She can see things into existence, and thereby makes the world richer, and full of opportunities.

Fieke is a graphic designer and facilitator, she designs learning experiences and creates opportunities to grow. When mainstream in design thinking follows the call to move towards „design doing“, she’d do something entirely different and stress the „thinking part“ by introducing the philosopher Derrida into the conversation – by no means easy listening. And of course, she gets the participants at her WWJ session into a mindset of stretching the frame of, for example, a table, and radically think of very extremes concepts of tables. And the world expands.

She invited me to her family home in Woerden/NL, on a weekend. When I arrived, she was not quite back from work. And of course, as a mother of three lively boys, she would be taking her youngest one to the soccer ground before 8 am the next morning. And still, I was allowed to go with the flow, given the impression that there was space enough and time. With three boys, talk of homework and school, football competitions, sports gear and all these shoes that you have in those years, I felt thrown back to when my own kids were the same age. It is so easy to get lost in trivia, and they don’t.

Fieke and Bas have a clear focus on healthy communication. And it was never about „clear up this“ or „stop that“, but the conversation would be specific, and center around more profound topics. „What is art?“ would Josse ask, and the family starts to explore…

The creativity gene has been handed down from mother to daughter. Fiekes mum is an artist, and she motivates her grandsons to train their graphic talent, too, and widen their repertoire to express themselves. „When I was a child, I wanted to become a colourist“, says Fieke. Meaning to bring colours into the world. „She has the most flexible mind“, says Bas, her partner. 

So, it must have been hard to come back to her hometown, Woerden, which is safe and green, but not exactly what one would identify as the ideal stimulating environment for an overboardingly creative mind. Obviously, the confines of a little town do not limit her in the slightest. She is involved in the Da Vinci Project at Utrecht University, has more projects in university and other contexts in Amsterdam, Utrecht or online. 

Doing sports is one of her ways to keep balanced. And again, she does it her way. While I got nervous (I might fail her expectations!) when she asked me to bring my running shoes, she told me to take it easy. So we had the nicest run’n walk through parks and along waterways. „I was an adrenaline junkey“, she confessed, and that she had to learn to go slowly. What a revelation for me! It hadn’t even occurred to me that anything apart from yoga could be without adrenaline. Thank you Fieke for all the eye-opening opportunities you gave me access to! 

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