28 Oct — 17 Mar 2024Buy tickets
LOBBY – Between Green Deals and Ideals is a photographic research project by Suzanne Schols, once a lobbyist and now a photographer, that aims to increase the visibility and transparency of the world of lobbying. She has focused specifically on the Brussels climate lobby and has contacted a large number of organisations that wanted to influence the European Green Deal, for which Frans Timmermans was responsible as European Commissioner in recent years. The plans to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent affect various sectors and the lives of 450 million EU citizens.
Schols chose to photograph the organisations’ reception areas, the so-called lobby. The word ‘lobby’ comes from the Latin ‘lobia’, which means a portico or covered walk, and in a political sense originally referred to the spaces in the House of Commons in London where the public could speak to Members of Parliament. Nowadays, lobbying is seen as something that mostly takes place behind closed doors and remains hidden from the public, an image that is confirmed by the fact that it was not always easy for Schols to get permission to take photographs in the Brussels offices of the lobbying organisations.
To select the organisations, Schols used publicly available information from the EU Transparency Register and ultimately selected 122 organisations based on the number of meetings they had with Frans Timmermans and his advisors in recent years.
The exhibition is accompanied by a photo book of the same title, which, in addition to the photographs, contains information about the interest groups she approached.
The photographs visible in the photograph of the office of Commissioner Frans Timmermans are by photographer Willem van den Hoed. Left: 2310 (2008). Right: 101 (2009).