ERLNMYR is the busi­ness of impro­vis­er and doc­tor in lin­guis­tics Ben Ver­ho­even. Dur­ing his sci­en­tif­ic career he became fas­ci­nat­ed with sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion for which he used more and more of his impro­vi­sa­tion­al skills. Below you will find an overview of Ben’s back­ground and run­ning projects in both sci­ence and improvisation.


Ben has been act­ing in impro­vi­sa­tion­al the­ater since 2011. After a cou­ple of years in the prover­bial class­room, he co-found­ed Swaa­jp Improthe­ater with a cou­ple of like-mind­ed spir­its; a real Antwerp the­ater com­pa­ny and lat­er on even impro­vi­sa­tion­al school. Swaa­jp does not only pro­vide the­atri­cal per­for­mances in Dutch but just as well in English. 

Ben is also a mem­ber of Com­motie, a musi­cal improv ensem­ble that in 2017 earned the award for “best long­form improv show in Flan­ders” at the improv com­pe­ti­tion Kemphanen. 

Ben is often seen at inter­na­tion­al improv fes­ti­vals, whether it is to watch per­for­mances and learn from work­shops and mas­ter­class­es, to teach work­shops him­self, or to per­form for exam­ple with the Dutch-Bel­gian ensem­ble Were­wolves, The Improv Show or with the trio Prism. With the lat­ter group he won the Kem­pha­nen award again in 2019. 

As a pas­sion­ate orga­niz­er he is also found­ing mem­ber of The SIN — an inter­na­tion­al net­work  of ambi­tious improv play­ers and orga­niz­ers in Europe.

Last but not least, Ben is very inter­est­ed in music. He shows this not only with his voice, but just as well with his hands and feet. It’s not uncom­mon for him to step aside from the stage to assist the the­atri­cal per­for­mance as per­cus­sion­ist. A beau­ti­ful exam­ple is Improove­li­cious, an inter­na­tion­al improv fes­ti­val in Leu­ven where he was the in-house drum­mer in 2018. 

His lat­est accom­plish­ment is writ­ing the chap­ter “Impro­vi­sa­tion and the Sci­en­tif­ic Method” for the book Essays on Improv.


Ben is a com­pu­ta­tion­al lin­guist by edu­ca­tion. In short, this means that he is a lin­guist that stud­ies and mod­els lan­guage with computers. 

His aca­d­e­m­ic career start­ed in 2012 with the inter­na­tion­al intern­ship at the North-West Uni­ver­si­ty in South Africa, where he researched how the mean­ing of new­ly com­pound­ed words can auto­mat­i­cal­ly be discovered. 

Some time lat­er he start­ed his doc­tor­ate at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Antwerp with the AMi­CA project, a project that uses text tech­nol­o­gy to auto­mat­i­cal­ly rec­og­nize trans­gres­sive behav­iour on social media. In 2014 he received a Young Researchers Grant from FWO Vlaan­deren (the Flem­ish foun­da­tion for sci­en­tif­ic research), which allowed him four more years to research author pro­fil­ing. The main research ques­tion: “Which char­ac­ter­is­tics of the author can we pre­dict sole­ly based on their text”. 

Dur­ing this doc­tor­ate, Ben got inter­est­ed in sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion. With suc­cess, as show his third place at Fame­Lab Bel­gium, his sci­ence com­e­dy at Bright Club Brus­sels and his pres­ence at many Sci­ence Days, Sci­ence Weeks and the Children’s Uni­ver­si­ty. Because of these efforts and achieve­ments, in 2017 he was award­ed the Annu­al Sci­ence Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Prize at the KVAB, the Roy­al Flem­ish Acad­e­my of Bel­gium for Sci­ence and the Arts. 

In June 2018, Ben defend­ed his doc­tor­al the­sis and was suc­cess­ful­ly grant­ed the diplo­ma and title of Doc­tor in Lin­guis­tics.