Guest column

Martine Bouman

Special professor of Entertainment Media and Social Change

“You just do your best every day, the way so many people do; it’s not really something you think about. It was such an amazing feeling hearing the chairperson of the jury announce my name as the winner of the first Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award last year. You feel this burst of pride. It’s so wonderful to know that what you do with your team is appreciated.  You automatically feel like an ambassador for Marc Cornelissen’s philosophy, promoting cooperation and leadership to make the world more sustainable. It also makes you feel like an ambassador for Brightlands, although I must admit that last year I didn’t know exactly what goes on at Brightlands.”

  You just do your best every day,
the way so many people do.

Innovative research program, Y!P

“We are going to spend the cash prize of 25,000 Euros associated with the award on the development of new research lines, such as the innovative research program, Y!P, which stands for ‘Young, Inclusive and Productive.’ Y!P focuses on young people between the ages of 16 and 30 with a chronic condition, such as a colostomy, burns, diabetes or epilepsy. Their chronic condition presents them with additional challenges such as learning to cope with pain and medication, loneliness, anxiety, participation in society and relationships. This leads to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school and unemployment. It’s a huge loss of talent, health and employment potential. There are however young people in this group who have found ways of coping better with their circumstances then others; they’re the positive exceptions. We want to learn from and work with them to develop various types of interventions and prototypes which can support other young people with a chronic condition. This might involve technology, such as a smart app that sends an alert when it’s time to rest, but also helps with behavioral modification, conversation skills or coaching tools. We are still looking for companies and organizations that are interested in being partners in this Y!P research project. It’s only logical that companies from Brightlands spring to mind. They are more than welcome to join us!

The power of storytelling

“Another research line focuses on the power of storytelling. How can you challenge people in today’s world of social media with stories that encourage them to look beyond their own assertion that they’re right? Some groups mistrust the official communications from the government, for example, and place more stock in the claims being made in their own Facebook groups. We want to ‘pop the filter bubbles’ and connect groups of people. How can you work with famous YouTubers and Instagrammers, for example, to put these issues on their agendas, and invite people to talk to each other about themes such as willingness to vaccinate, organ donation or gene technology? We hope that our research will ultimately lead to these people not only being well-informed, but also feel as if they’re well-informed.


“I am so curious who my successor will be, the second winner of the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award. We’ll all find out on December 6. I will definitely be there! I’m mostly looking forward to meeting Marc Cornelissen’s family. It was an amazing and inspiring moment last year and this year is sure to be no different.”


Prof. Dr. Martine Bouman (1954) founded the Center for Media & Health (CMH) in 1999 in Gouda, where she lives. This knowledge center builds a bridge between popular media and social and health organizations in order to reach different groups in society in an accessible manner. 

Since 2015, Martine Bouwman has been appointed as an endowed professor of Entertainment Media and Social Change at Erasmus University in Rotterdam at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC).



Martine Bouman’s work and the Center for Media & Health have received multiple accolades. Last year, in 2017, Martine Bouman became the first person to win the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award. During that same year, she won the ZonMw Pearl prize for her innovative body of work in the field of health communication.

In 2010, she was the first European and the first woman to win the prestigious Everett M. Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment Education. During that same year, the CMH won a Golden Heron award for the project Sound Effects in the category audiovisual and interactive media.