Becoming. An Inquiry on Identity. | Symposium SIB-Utrecht

Becoming. An Inquiry on Identity. | Symposium SIB-Utrecht


Let’s take a moment to look back at the wonderful SIB-Utrecht Symposium “Becoming. An Inquiry on Identity” of May 11th at Instituto Cervantes. The day started with an enlightening lecture on developmental and life course psychology by Jaap Denissen and Lisanne de Moor, setting the stage for the symposium’s central theme. Next, a series of workshops took place, offering our 60+ participants a range of workshops to choose from. They could uncover their own conversation style with Christi Siderius and Katlijn Van Der Haagen, engage in thought-provoking conversations with ‘living books’ of the de Mensenbieb stichting, or dive into self-discovery through creative expression. The event was closed with a philosophical lecture by Jacques Bos, shedding light on the historical development of views on identity and the intricate relation between self and society. The variety of all parts of the event ensured a valuable learning experience for all attendees, and much to share and exchange amongst each other during and after the symposium.

Symposium Countdown


Welcome: 12:45-13:15


Opening lecture: 13:15-14:00

Developmental psychology by Jaap Denissen and Lisanne de Moor

Workshops: 14:15-15:00

Self-development by Christi Siderius and Katlijn van der Haagen

Foundation De Mensenbieb

Chat and Portrait

Closing lecture: 15:15-16:00

Historical development of views on identity by Jacques Bos

Sessions & Speakers

The opening lecture was on the theme of developmental psychology. We have paid attention to how you as an individual form your identity and how you identity changes during your life. The lecture was be given by two experts in the field of developmental psychology, namely Jaap Denissen and Lisanne de Moor.

Jaap Denissen is a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Utrecht. He is the head of the Departments of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, and Developmental Psychology. He is also currently conducting a study in which a group of young adults will be followed for ten years to investigate which strategies the young people use to achieve their goals. In a nutshell, he is the ideal person for a lecture on developmental psychology.

Lisanne de Moor is a lecturer at Tilburg University in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and an assistant professor at the Development Psychology department. She recently completed her PhD, she examined the autonomy and identity development in adolescents. In addition to her work at the university, she is a co-host of the Personality Psychology Podcast as well.

During the workshop round, there were multiple sessions to follow. We could join Christi Siderius and Katlijn van der Haagen, the "Mensenbieb" or enjoy 'Chat and Portrait'.

Christi Siderius and Katlijn van der Haagen are both coaches and found each other in their shared vision. At the Symposium they will take you on a 45-minute adventure to find out more about your own way of communication. This way you will become more aware of your own needs and those of others, knowledge you can perfectly use during your studies, on the work floor, or during those difficult family dinners.

At a regular library, one can find almost every book you wish to learn from. Any inquiries you might have, just go ahead and find the book that suits your quest! But suppose a library would let you ‘lend’ a person. Someone you do not know, someone who may be different from you, and you can ask this person anything you want. How special would that be!
At the “Mensenbieb”, you can. It is a ‘library of human beings’, allowing you to lend a complete stranger and have a conversation with them. These ‘books’ are a collection of people with each their own unique identity. They are people you may encounter every day, yet they are not quite average because they do not fully meet “the norm”.
At this workshop with the Mensenbieb participants will engage in a personal conversation with a ‘book’ in small groups. You can ask the person anything you want which you were always afraid to ask before. Examples of living books are a refugee, someone identifying as LGBT+, or an imam. Find out which 'books' will be for a loan on May 7th!

The Mensenbieb is a non-profit NGO with the aim of increasing understanding between people and removing prejudices. Since 2005, they visit festivals, schools, libraries, companies and government institutions. This leads to highly valued encounters that open people’s eyes.

Identity can be expressed in various ways. It can for example be very insightful to let your creativity flow and to put something on a canvas. At the “Chat and Portrait” workshop you will be able to experience this, however you will not do it alone. Your creativity and expression will be shared with another participant who may until then have been a stranger to you. After chatting with each other about your identities or something that is very dear to your heart, you will create a painting for each other (or each for yourselves, if you choose so together).

The closing lecture was given by Jacques Bos.

Dr. Jacques Bos works at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam. He is an expert on the history of thinking about the self. For the final talk of the afternoon, he will join us with a talk on the historical development of views on identity and the relation between self and society.