The first European presidential debate

In Society
Thursday, 10 April 2014 10:23

Writing European history in Maastricht

At the end of May, it is up to us to decide what course the future of Europe will take. We, the citizens of Europe, will elect a new European Parliament. This allows us to have a say in who will succeed José Manuel Barroso as president of the European Commission – the most powerful post in the European Union. During a debate broadcast around the world, the presidential candidates will cross swords for the first time. Date: 28 April. Location: Maastricht. Where else?

UM alumnus Floris van Wanroij debuts at TEFAF
Alongside the internationally renowned galleries featuring masterpieces by Van Gogh and other artists, this year’s TEFAF will feature pieces curated by Floris van Wanroij Fine Art. Newcomer Floris van Wanroij, a UM alum, will present pieces from his collection of Old Masters and late medieval sculptures. “TEFAF is the best platform you could have.”

Modern architecture was brought to Africa in the 20th century to ‘civilise’ this ‘underdeveloped’ continent. It was primarily a manifestation of (failed) colonialism. In his PhD dissertation, Maastricht University (UM) researcher Christoph Rausch spotlights the heated debate over modern heritage in Africa. What should be preserved? And would you really want to preserve ‘innovative’ architecture that is now well and truly outdated?

Schönberg’s loss

In Culture
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:50

Groningen, early 1980s. The sociology student Peter Peters – now a lecturer at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – attends a performance of modern classical music for the first time. The Schönberg Ensemble performs chamber music by Anton Webern, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. It is a revelation; Peters is deeply moved by the intensity of the performance. A few years later he meets De Leeuw, a veritable ambassador of contemporary classical music, in the flesh. Many meetings later, Peters would write the musical biography Klankwerelden. De twintigste eeuw van Reinbert de Leeuw (‘Sound worlds: The 20th century of Reinbert de Leeuw’), which was published for the conductor’s 75th birthday.

The science of fans

In Culture
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:52
Most people play computer games for fun. But for assistant professor Karin Wenz, gaming is serious business. At the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, she coordinates the project Narrative Fan Practices, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The researchers scrutinise fans not only of computer games, but also of TV series, movies and other forms of popular culture. The content they generate constitutes more than just fun: it has an impact on our very culture.

What is it like to live in a castle in the year 2013? Like a fairy tale – or just really expensive? Eduard de Loë and his three brothers grew up in the Mheer castle in South Limburg. Today he lives in the German district of Kleve, on an estate he inherited when he was three years old. De Loë is one of the owners who participated in a recent UM study on the conservation of historical estates in Limburg.

Intellectually disabled, sexually active

In Mind
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 10:10
Large prints of 3D drawings of the human body, images of sexual abuse and photos of people masturbating – the sex education materials used for people with intellectual disabilities are neither underpinned by theory nor evaluated in terms of their effectiveness. What’s more, the target group is rarely involved in materials development, and care providers make insufficient use of the available materials. “Yet, sex education – preferably starting from a young age – can play a part in preventing or managing many of the sexual problems experienced by people with intellectual disabilities”, says PhD candidate Dilana Schaafsma.

When given the opportunity to coordinate a fine art minor at Maastricht University and introduce one of the first academic creative writing courses in the Netherlands,the Pushcart Prizewinning novelist Ana Menéndez couldn’t say no. “This was a chance to rethink things and take a more European approach. It was exciting to consider how we might offer this programme to people who are interested in writing, but who come from different academic or cultural backgrounds”, Menéndez reflects.

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