Universiteit Leiden

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New minor cooperates with Film House in The Hague: 'Looking at world issues through artists' eyes'

The new minor in 'Creative strategies for a society in change' will start in September. The Leiden Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA) has entered into a partnership with the The Hague Film House and will be letting students experience what it is like to work as an artist. ‘We want to teach students to deal with scientific questions in a different way.’

‘The idea is that we look at problems in the world through the eyes of artists,' explains Professor Erik Viskil, one of the initiators of the minor. ‘One part of the minor focuses on reflection using the essay film. In the other, the emphasis is on social justice activism in the visual arts.'

Getting started in the Film House

Viskil will teach about the essay films. Both the lectures and the film screenings will take place in the Film House in The Hague. ‘It is great that the Film House is willing to cooperate in this track and really sees it as something important. It gives students the opportunity to discuss essay films and their view of the world in an attractive setting, with the theme of migration as the common thread.’

He gives these lectures together with university lecturers Janna Houwen and Thijs Witty. ‘The essay film touches on a number of very fundamental questions about what knowledge is, how you relate to the world and what forms of engagement are appropriate for research,' says Witty. 'These are questions that also play a role in daily life.'

Artists transform the social landscape

The minor will also focus on social justice, a theme that is very much alive among the younger generation. Lecturer Julia Morandeira Arrizabalaga is responsible for this track. ‘We will investigate the repertoire of tactics, strategies and gestures that artists use to transform the social landscape and develop advanced forms of social political activism,' she explains. 'One of the artists we will be working with, for example, works with tribunals, from traditional courts to constituencies. That kind of art allows us to look at issues like climate change, racism, colonialism, gender and so on from a different perspective.'

Make your own essay film

Students who follow the minor will not only study art, but will also get to work themselves. For example, for the first track you have to organise a symposium to present your own essay film. ‘It isn’t the intention that students all become filmmakers,' laughs Witty. ‘But you can use the essay film medium to think about a relevant subject such as migration. I think it's very exciting to approach such a topic in a more creative way than students might be used to.'

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