On May 11 my former PhD student Lucy van de Wiel was awarded the Erasmus Dissertation Award. This is about as prestigious as honors in the Netherlands can get. Lucy’s thesis, entitled Freezing Fertility: A Cultural Analysis of Oocyte Cryopreservation and Aging, hit the heart of cultural analysis so precisely in its integration of theory, history and critical readings of documents from films to newspapers and even advertisements, on a subject of great social relevance, that this well-deserved honor also rubs off on ASCA, the research institute devoted to just such projects.
Here, Lucy explains the gist of her thesis to an audience that, in addition to proud supervisors, parents and partners, included the jury of the Foundation Praemium Erasmianum, and the founding director of Women on Waves, Rebecca Gomperts. The women of WoW sail over the world in a fully medically equiped ship to offer safe abortions in extraterritorial waters to women in countries where this is not possible or not allowed.

Lucy generously donated part of her prize money to that foundation. If you want to follow suit you can transfer a donation to the Organisation’s Bankaccount: 3316 Bank: ING BIC: INGBNL2A IBAN: NL54 INGB 0000003316 to the order of Women on Waves P.O.Box 15683 1001 ND Amsterdam. Here you see Rebecca bravely braving a large group of (mostly male) portesters against her endeavor.

The award ceremony took place in the 17th century building of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences. This building evoked sweet memories: in the same room we had shot some scenes of Reasonable Doubt just a few years ago. So, it seemed proper, that Lucy posed for a photo underneath the portrait of the great scientist Christiaan Huyghens where Thomas Germaine / Descartes stood in November 2015.

And also, the two of us posed next to Huyghens’ marble bust. Here, Thomas did a great improvisation on the motive of the seeing - hearing - speaking monkey. I love the contrast between the somewhat grumpy-looking Christiaan to our own happy faces.

It was also a great pleasure to see Lucy’s parents again. The last time we met was at Lucy’s dissertation defense. They were already so over-the-moon then, but of course, little did they, and we all, know, that their only daughter would end up being honored in such a big way barely two years later.

I wish Lucy the fabulous career, and hope she will be enabled to continue her integration of academic and activist work. My heartfelt congratulations, Lucy!