Mindlab: A theatre performance that gets at the heart of science

Mindlab is a theatre performance that gets at the heart of the science community. Mindlab will inspire and challenge you to consider for ourselves and with others what is important to them in their daily work, career and personal life – within the university and beyond. With Mindlab, we aim to make a positive contribution to the working and living environment of our university; an open and safe environment in which everyone feels at home. Mindlab is breaking down barriers. Mindlab is captivating and above all unique.

"You are not who you think you are. You are what you do."

Mindlab back on Campus in the Spring of 2024

Mindlab will be back! Following the successful performances on 4 April 2023, there will be two additional performances in the Agora-theatre in Vrijhof in the spring of 2024. Everyone who works at UT is more than welcome to come and experience Mindlab. Keep a close eye on this page for the announcement of the dates, or e-mail teammindlab-hr@utwente.nl to be put on the sign-up list!

Curious? Watch the trailer!

How it all started

Professor Ellen Giebels (vice dean of the Faculty Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences) is the initiator of Mindlab. You can read her story here (in short) and in more detail in this article on Mindlab in U-Today (in Dutch).

This is why Ellen took the initiative...

"Science is under scrutiny, for integrity issues, social return, the quality of education, internationalisation and financing. In spite of the increasing demands, I still love to work in academia. During the past years, however, I’m thinking more and more often: how can I keep all the plates spinning? What is it that really matters? And I see that others ask themselves the same questions. So, the time is ripe for a reflection on what drives us, defines us, occupies our minds. What do we really value in our work? Last year I went to two theater performances by TheaterMakers Radio Kootwijk: Rauw (about working and life with the National Police) and Vuurdoop (about the Dutch Defence organisation). I was moved by the way the subject matter was dealt with and the artistic quality of the performances and the accompanying programmes. My first thought was: I want to do something similar for academia. And now the time has come!"

Ellen Giebels

The time is ripe for a reflection on what drives us, defines us, occupies our minds. What do we really value in our work?

Ellen Giebels

At the time Vice-chair of the Executive Board of University of Twente dr. Mirjam Bult encouraged the initative and explains why Mindlab is such a strong initiative:

"Integrity in all areas – social, scientific and business – is the fundamental principle for working in academia, which includes an open working and living environment, where facilitating discussions on dilemmas goes without saying. The issues may be ethical dilemmas related to a research project, inappropriate interpersonal behavior, experiencing work-related stress and performance pressure, or the feeling that there is too little – or unequal – appreciation and recognition for the work you do. Our university campus must be an environment where everyone can talk, work, study, reside and live safely. This is why integrity, safety and security are priority areas in our new strategy Shaping2030. Mindlab is a valuable and different type of initiative that can help us to identify, at times, difficult issues together, and use these to work towards creating an even safer university where we put people at the forefront."

Mirjam Bult

It is essential at our university that we foster an open climate to create a safe space where dilemmas can be raised, considered and tackled. The impressive Mindlab production makes a start on precisely that ambition.

Mirjam Bult

On 13 February 2020 Mindlab premiered in the Theaterloods in Radio Kootwijk, the home theatre of TheaterMakers Radio Kootwijk. This was an overwhelming success. Reactions range from 'impressive' and 'it really triggers you to reflect and start conversations' to 'very recognizable' and 'gripping'. After the successful premiere, Mindlab had six performances at UT in the Vrijhof. Over 550 employees joined Mindlab in February and March: 'Really good thing UT initiated this, Mindlab truly is gripping'.

After that, Mindlab was ready to move on. To Utrecht University for example. And later on back to Enschede, to UT. At the time that turned out to be impossible: the coronavirus outbreak started. However, Mindlab was back in May 2021. With Mindlab Online. Mindlab Online offered employees an unique opportunity to attend Mindlab nevertheless. Mindlab Online was an event that gave UT community members - at home on their couches or at their kitchen tables - a true online theatre experience.