ASAP News

Robin Goudsmit appointed as new Focuser

Pilar
The quest for the most inspiring and emerging thinker of the moment brought deBuren and Pilar to Dutch journalist Robin Goudsmit. Over the next two years, she will put focus on social developments. 'As a Focuser, I want to raise questions and provoke thoughts and ideas. No jumping to conclusions, but rather taking a closer look at the dilemmas and contradictions. Staying with the trouble, as Donna Haraway says so.'


Robin Goudsmit (1992) is a journalist at Trouw and previously wrote for De Groene Amsterdammer. So for her job she keeps a finger on the pulse and is always up to date with current events. 'As a reporter, I’m engaged in the themes of sexuality, diversity and inclusivity. These subjects are most deeply about emancipation and acceptance. As a journalist, you often examine power in the form of institutions, such as politics or government. What I find interesting about my position at the newspaper is that I can examine 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 influence how we look at history? Not only are these relevant questions for society, but also for yourself as a person.'

That is an attitude she wants to adopt as Focuser for the next two years. "I think it's more important to raise questions, provoke thoughts and ideas, than to take a position yourself. No jumping to conclusions, but rather taking a closer look at the dilemmas and contradictions. Staying with the trouble, as Donna Haraway says so. Nonetheless, there are obviously also things that upset me, and of which I think that maintaining neutrality as a journalist is not necessary. For example, I really hope I never have to write the word "racism debate" again. It is absurd how racism is still considered as a yes-or-no discussion in the Netherlands.’

'I think that asking further questions is, also beyond journalism, a good way of thinking, perhaps even a lifestyle'
It was during her master's in Cultural Analysis in Amsterdam, where she had to learn to view and write in a completely different way, that it started to dawn on her. 'Each time I handed in a paper with a clear question and a final conclusion, I received the following remark: but what does this mean? What further questions does this raise? I learned a lot from that. No jumping to conclusions, but rather taking a closer look at the dilemmas and contradictions. Staying with the trouble, as Donna Haraway says so. I think that's a very good approach. When you start in journalism, as I did, experienced colleagues often give you the advice to always ask further questions. For example, if you are interviewing someone and that person does not want to get to the heart of the matter, then you should not be satisfied with a plain answer. Keep your head and your pen there: where is the difficulty, where is it chafing? I think that asking further questions is, also beyond journalism, a good way of thinking, perhaps even a lifestyle.’

'I always consider it a privilege to be able to organize my own thoughts through of the ideas of others' 
As a domestic reporter, she is mainly concerned with the themes of sexuality, diversity and inclusiveness, and during her studies philosophy and cultural analysis, she immersed herself in trauma studies. Within her duties as a Focuser, she hopes to find the opportunity to do a lot of different things that may not seem very related to each other. For example, she is currently working on a piece about trauma and online culture. She wrote Trauma-talk especially for the 2022 edition of the Pilar ASAP festival, which revolves around psychological well-being for an entire month. In this piece, she looks at how a popular-scientific idea of ​​what trauma is, influences youth culture in particular. “If you take a look on Instagram, everything is traumatic: from dating a scorpio to cutting your hair. I have no moral judgment about that, it just fascinates me. I wonder what it means.”

Furthermore, she mostly looks forward to meeting other people by moderating discussion evenings and having lots of talks with experts and thinkers. ‘I always consider it a privilege to be able to organize my own thoughts through of the ideas of others’


She wrote Trauma-talk on the occasion of Pilar ASAP: Your Current Mood Edition. In this piece, she looks at how a popular-scientific idea of ​​what trauma is, influences youth culture in particular.

On Tuesday the 14th of March, Robin will moderate the evening 'Is social media doing you more harm than good?'

Discover the full programme of PILAR ASAP here
Written by Robin Goudsmit

Robin Goudsmit (1992) is a journalist at Trouw. She studied philosophy and cultural analysis at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Groningen. She previously worked for weekly magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.

10 March 2022
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