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Foto: Simone Both

First Uni for City theme afternoon: ‘Art in the community brings people together’

How important is art in the community? And which role can the University play in this? At the first open brainstorming session of Uni for City, artists, students and policymakers discussed the theme of art in the community.

Brainstorming at PLNT

The afternoon, which was held in PLNT, began with a debate between the University, the Municipality and the city. The lineup included Gijsbert van Es (Municipality of Leiden), Julia Schmitz (PS Theater) and Edwin van der Heide (artist and researcher). The debate was followed by break-out sessions led by Jennefer Verbeek from Peen en Ui and Lot Vegter from Nieuwplaatz

Bram Boesschen Hospers, who is studying for a master’s degree in history and studying at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, attended the afternoon. ‘I’m a student and I live in Leiden. I myself play the clarinet, and I want to do something with this theme in my neighbourhood, but I don’t know what exactly. I’m here today to find out what residents would like when it comes to art and culture,’ says Bram.

‘A place where art and academia meet’

After the break-out sessions, it was time for another plenary session, this time looking at the function of art in the community and the role that the University can play in this. 

The most important finding was clear: art in the community has to promote a sense of togetherness and bring people together. And if you want to bring people together, you need overarching networks that take people out of their bubble. It is important to collate which people are needed and where they can be found, but at present there is no one place in  Leiden where art and academic knowledge come together in the community. Various groups (residents, artists) also want to find out whether they can do something for the University instead of the University doing something for them

The first Uni for City theme afternoon was a useful and inspiring meeting for the speakers, the participants and the University.

What will be done with the results? In the Uni for City theme afternoons, we hope to identify the needs and questions relating to certain themes. This will enable us to work together to find ways in which Leiden University can shape its research and teaching in such a way as to make a valuable contribution to the city.

Upcoming Uni for City sessions

Art in the community was the first of four theme afternoons in the Uni for City series. The following three sessions will be held over the coming months

•    Diversity in the Classroom | Friday 15 November | 15:00 - 17:00 | The Hague
•    Poverty in the City | Friday 13 December | 15:00 - 17:00 | Leiden
•    Functional illiteracy in the Family | postponed to a later date | Leiden

More information? 

Uni for City theme afternoons.

Text: Michael Rizkalla
Photos: Simone Both

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