Cultural Policy Group of KU Leuven Launches Their Roma Genius Project

RomaGenius is an annotation tool designed by four students from the Cultural Studies Master’s program at KU Leuven University. As part of their Cultural Policy course, they collaborated with the Weave/Europeana project and made their contribution by creating a platform where Roma & Non-Roma people can share their knowledge of Roma music by engaging in respectful dialogue and mutual interaction. Now in its proto version, the logic of the RomaGenius project is quite simple. Currently restricted to a sample of selected Roma songs, the participants are encouraged to make entries in terms of the historical background of the song they pick from the list and explain the meaning of its lyrics, the context where this kind of music is performed, the instruments used and any other relevant information that may extend our understanding and knowledge on Roma music. The team selected these songs from Europeana’s Roma music collection and tried to make the selection as representative as possible of the community. To this aim, they selected songs originating from different countries and contexts with lyrics written in various European languages, and they created a Spotify playlist (link below) accessible to participants for listening while making the annotations.

The tool is incorporated on the website of the RomaGenius Project, and it can be accessed via the link below by everyone interested in Roma cultural heritage and Roma music in particular. In the following weeks, the project team plans to develop the tool further by extending the scope of songs and incorporating the tool to various platforms via hyperlinks.

Screenshot from RomaGenius Website

The team now is excited to promote the project in a public event called “Reboot the Future” to be held up from 19:00-22:00 pm on 30th April 2022, in Machinezaal at Termotechnisch Instituut of KU Leuven University’s Arenberg Campus. The presentation will consist of the introduction to the website and the tool in their proto versions; the discussion on selected Roma songs with their contexts, historical backgrounds, and lyrics; and the portrayal of other visual & audio material pertaining to Roma music.

Spotify playlist:

RomaGenius Website:

From left to right: Zhuo Li, Caro Raedts, Ilker Bahar, Mengyu Li

Exhibition “Blues Skies, Red Panic” in Ludwig Erhard Zentrum, Fürth

Written by Fred Truyen

From October 2021 to February 2022 the exhibition “Blue Skies, Red Panic” will be on display in the Ludwig Erhard Zentrum in Fürth, Germany. 

This exhibition was one of the results of the Connecting Europe Facilities funded generic services project “Fifties in Europe: Kaleidoscope” which focused on user engagement and had as a main theme the visual identity of the Fifties in Europe, reflected by digitised photographic heritage collections. With the funding for generic service projects, the European Commission supports the further content development of the Europeana portal. The project was led by Cultural Studies KU Leuven CS Digital

Photo courtesy Ludwig Erhard Zentrum

As usual for exhibitions created by Photoconsortium, “Blue Skies, Red Panic” features high-quality reprints of vintage photographs from various European collections, brought together in an appealing, modular and layered narrative. The exhibition was curated by Sofie Taes, who made several exhibitions for Photoconsortium using digital, physical as well as hybrid formats. Next to online publications, mainly through and, the outcomes include museal exhibits in several European countries and a multi-sensory heritage experience pairing a physical setup consisting of a tv screen and HDMI-stick running on the innovative MuPop technology, with a digital, interactive showcase to be operated by smartphone. 

“Blue Skies, Red Panic” tells a story of hopes, aspirations but also fears and concerns in the turbulent era of rebuilding Europe after the Second World War. While the East-West divide – which inspired the exhibition title – was an unavoidable lead theme, the multi-part narrative addresses a wide array of themes that evoke how this post-war generation saw themselves and their future. From the political struggle that erupted on both sides – reciprocally and internally – of the Iron Curtain, the story moves on to recount instances of social upheaval (migratory waves, decolonisation etc.), the emergence of countercultures, the interplay between seemingly conflicting aesthetic concepts, and the firm belief in the positive power of technological advancement. The black-and-white photographs, varying extensively in terms of style, inspiration, perspective and provenance, allow visitors to catch a glimpse of how these (self)perceptions and projections were expressed in an increasingly visual culture. 

A German novelty in Girona, July 1954 – Martí Massafont Costals / Ajuntament de Girona / CRDI. CC BY-NC-ND. Messerschmitt produced famous warplanes in WWII, as this was no longer allowed postwar they experimented with consumer products such as this three-wheeled “Kabinenroller”. 

The exhibition first opened in Pisa, at the Museo della Grafica located in the Palazzo Lanfranchi in September 2019, and went from there to Centre Cultural in Girona, the Campus Carolus visitor’s hall of KU Leuven, and the famous Museum für Fotografie in Berlin in February 2020. Another chapter recently opened for “Blue Skies, Red Panic”, as its newest re-creation is now hosted at the  Ludwig Erhard Zentrum in Fürth – named after the minister of economic affairs and later chancellor of West Germany who was in office from 1949 to 1966, and is credited to be instrumental in the Wirtschaftswunder that heralded the economic post-war revival.

Not traveling (that way) just yet? You can view the web version of the catalog online on the website of Photoconsortium and a  reconceptualized version of this exhibition is available as a virtual showcase on Europeana

Migration on film: How to turn a book into an exhibition

What is this project about?

“Migrants on film” is a project that tackles the conceptualization of an exhibition based on the book Polish Migrants in European Film 1918-2017, with the aim to be presented at an ideal venue: Muzeum Emigracji in Gdynia (MEG), in Poland. Therefore, this exhibition would be addressed to a certain public, the Polish local audience. Counting with a list of materials, a list of films, the book and the aforementioned information, the group worked on the preliminary phase of the exhibition by realizing the design and the structure of the entire exhibition.

What is the book and the exhibition about?

The exhibition is based on the book “Polish Migrants in European Film 1918-2017” written by Professor Van Heuckelom. The book accounts for the portrayal of the figure of the Polish Migrant in European cinema. This excludes solely Polish productions, for the target is the portrayal of this figure by foreign countries. The exhibition aims at exploring the representation of international migration on screen and how it has gained prominence and salience in European filmmaking over the past 100 years.

Where is the exhibition happening?

Even though we need to wait for the confirmation of the museum (which is the aim of this project), the location of the exhibition is the Muzeum Emigracji in Gdynia (Poland) that used to be a Marine station, and which has a strong meaning for the Polish migrants. The museum consists of both permanent and temporary exhibition spaces where the exhibition will be held at. The scheduled opening date for the exhibition will be in 2022 but it might be postponed to 2023 depending on the Covid-19 pandemic.

What were the working framework and guidelines?

In order for the proposal to be successful, we had to take into consideration MEG’s guidelines. The time goal was to fit the exhibition in the Spring 2022 season, coinciding with the Gdynia Film Festival. MEG works with them yearly, and for 2022 “Stereotypes” was the chosen topic.

Fortunately, the book had potential to provide content fit for this theme.However, The most challenging aspect of the whole process was to translate the content of an academic book into a content suitable for an exhibition space addressed to a general public. Both, as devices and as languages, differ in significant ways.

How did we approach it?

As each chapter of the book had a different structure based on the historical events that took place over the XX century, we decided to set 3 categories that would structure the exhibition and to analyze the book’s content through that lens. These categories would be: historical context, filmic context and characters/stereotypes.

How was the space of the venue for the exhibition and how did we use it?

MEG’S space for temporary exhibitions includes two different rooms: one is a long hall and the other a squared room. From our perspective, the first room, which we named ‘The Corridor’ , presented the ideal shape to reflect the diachronic approach of the content in the book. The second room, that we named ‘The Square’ , was an open space that invited the visitors to explore, interact and reflect over the content and the yearly theme, ‘stereotypes’.

The division of the exhibition space

The Corridor

We used the longitudinal structure of The Corridor to our advantage by staying truthful to Professor Van Heuckelom’s “Polish Migrants in European Film 1918-2017”. Applying the book’s diachronic approach allowed us to use the major chapters of the book to section off this space. The length of each section is dependent on the acquired film related materials of the corresponding decade. Our general aim for this space was to create a multimedia space for the viewers by giving them both film clips as well as posters, film novels, photographs of famous actors, etc. But also provide for a filmic experience—since the film clips are the central component of the exhibition—for the viewers by darkening the space as much as possible and using screenings on the walls to display the film clips.

The Square

Our idea of The Square was to create a space for the visitors to reflect and potentially connect what they have seen within The Corridor to their own live experiences, memories, stories, etc. The Square is, in contrast to The Corridor’s historical linearity, a space of freedom and movement where the visitors can interact with the provided materials. These materials are not materials of the past but materials of the present, which should help to connect the historical content of The Corridor to our contemporary world. These materials will be works of art—that will be acquired by the museum after an art student contest—interactive tables with quizzes as well as apps that will possibly be created by the museum team. Technologies such as deepfaking and meme generators are proposed in order to create activities based on the content of the exhibition that might help to bring light to its loaded experience, and to foster the interaction of the visitor.

It is important to note that all these materials for The Square are currently mere possibilities for we are still in the preliminary phase of the realization of the exhibition. Which means that the financial and hence physical realizations for these materials have not been considered yet.

Where are we now and where are we going?

Through the entire progress of the project, we were satisfied with the amount of work and the development of incorporating the information of the book into a concept for an exhibition.

We had a meeting with the MEG’team in May to present our conceptualization for the exhibition. They praised our work and wanted to follow our concept for the curation of the exhibition. Although there would be changes due to technical restraints and content curation.

Due to some internal issues of the museum, the next meeting will only start at the beginning of June, professor and project coordinator Kris Van Heuckelom will keep us posted in the long run.

After we created the theoretical concept and design of the exhibition, which is the first part of the project, the remaining work from the second part will shift to the next group that takes over. We believe that it is possible for the next group to continue working on this basis.


In the year that impacted all aspects of society, culture was no exception. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that culture has stopped developing. Leuven has done everything in its power to keep the cultural scene alive, despite the circumstances that were thrown at it. In this academic year, even though it was as remote as possible, we have still managed to find the bright side of culture and its development in this cosy, beautiful and diverse little city located in the heart of Flemish Brabant. Most projects involving culture share an orientation towards the future. The future is still something to look forward to and it promises us better times than the ones we are currently living in. For that reason, the project of the candidacy of Leuven for Creative Europe’s European Capital of Culture 2030 (ECOC) is an ideal representation of the aspiration for a better future, filled with diversity and culture.

What is ECOC?

For the past 36 years, Creative Europe has been assigning the title of European Capital of Culture to two cities in Europe every year. The aim is to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe. In addition, they want to celebrate the cultural features the European people share. The goal is also to strengthen European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area. Finally, the aim is to foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.

What did the Leuven 2030 team do?

The City Hall of Leuven asked our group of cultural policy students to study previous ECOCs and come up with key success factors that could help them present themselves as the best candidate for ECOC in 2030. For this research we selected cities that shared similar parameters with Leuven, such as population, infrastructure, environment and capacity. After thorough research involving multiple cities within Europe, the team has concluded that the results of the research would be best presented through five key factors which have demonstrated to be present in every evaluation that has been part of our research. These five key success factors are Infrastructure, Participation, Cooperation, Sustainability and Identity. On top of that, the key success factors were chosen in consultation with Hannes Vanhaverbeke from City Hall, because he has the best insight into what factors could be interesting for Leuven in practice.

What should Leuven do?

Through the information gathered from evaluations from previous ECOC title owners, we elaborated on five key success factors Leuven can use to achieve success not only in those areas, but in its complete candidacy. We also shed a light on areas Leuven still needs to work most on. We hope the city can now move forward with its bid based on the new insights we have offered. We are rooting for the city of Leuven to be able to call itself European Capital Of Culture in 2030.


Hopefully in 2030…


Are you a history buff, a professional or amateur translator? Do you want to actively participate in making European Cultural Heritage available to everyone?

Then the Europeana XX: Subtitle-a-thon is the right thing for YOU!

Together with members from Europeana, we set up a website and event schedule for online subtitle-a-thons in the framework of the Europeana XX: Century of Change project. Four of these subtitle-a-thons are already planned to be held later this year, with more to come.

Europeana XX: Century of Change is a thematic project co-funded by the European Union in the scope of the ‘Connecting Europe Facility’ programme: an initiative to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through infrastructure investment at a European level.

The Europeana XX: Subtitle-A-Thon is a crowdsourcing initiative that allows you to create and add subtitles to archival audiovisual content. By sharing your language and subtitling skills, you will contribute to making audiovisual content more accessible to multilingual audiences and widely available.

The four upcoming online events are coordinated by four members of the project:

  • The Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum – DFF (Germany);
  • The Istituto Luce Cinecittà (Italy);
  • The  National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute – FINA (Poland);
  • The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision – NISV (The Netherlands).

During the events, people with different language skills work together toward a common goal: to create and add different subtitles to archival media fragments coming from various European collections. You will have the opportunity to use specialized technology to subtitle the content.

The subtitle-a-thons are open for every European citizen with an interest in history and culture. When you join an event, you will be rewarded with a certificate of participation. Furthermore, the top 3 contributors to each event, based on the amount and quality of submitted subtitles, can win an online gift card.

Recently, we held a short trial subtitle-a-thon together with some of the partners of the Europeana XX project, as a stress test for the website and the subtitle editor we helped create. You can see an example of a video subtitled during this trial here:

Their feedback was overall a positive one, with some expected bugs to be worked out still. Either way, it was an amazing learning experience for all of us!

The next public marathon, the Warsaw Subtitle-A-Thon, will take place on Saturday, June 12th 2021 at 11.00 CET. For more info on this and other events, click here. Please note that the website is still under construction and will be added upon during the following weeks! The information about the Warsaw marathon is already available, however.

Join us for the Europeana XX: Subtitle-a-thon challenge in Warsaw and share with us your language and subtitling skills to


In these troubled times, in which covid-19 is driving our bodies apart and the cultural sector is facing untold challenges, centre for audiovisual arts ARGOS in Brussels is nonetheless dedicated to reconnecting people through the binding power of the arts. In line with their commitment to involve an even wider and more diverse audience in their activities, ARGOS now wants to stay close to home and strive for further engagement with their neighbourhood, the Quartier des Quais / Kaaienwijk. We want to contribute to this endeavour by setting up a community building project that aims at connecting the residents of the Quartier by means of the audiovisual arts.


The Quartier des Quais, or the Kaaienwijk in Dutch, is the old port district of Brussels, a neighbourhood with a century-old history. What used to be a traditional working class-neighbourhood, is now also an area known for its trendy shops. It’s a quartier that brims with life: asylum seekers, migrants, sex workers, city dwellers, … all of them try to make themselves a home here. Important landmarks are the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) and l’église du Béguinage – places where people come together to show their solidarity.

Who are the people living there? Do they feel at home in the Quartier? What does ‘home’ mean to them? And how did the pandemic affect their sense of belonging?

By sharing the individual experiences of the residents of the Quartier, we want to shed light on the cultural differences inhabiting the collectively shared commitment to ‘stay at home’ during the lockdown. But at the same time, we also believe that the audiovisual arts are able to address something universal in the individual of these stories.

That is why we put the stories of the people living in the Quartier des Quais at the centre of our project by linking them physically with places in the neighbourhood that are meaningful to them, while at the same time giving it resonance in the audiovisual works of the ARGOS archive. This concept resulted in our project called Quartier des Quais, Quartier de qui?


Quartier des Quais, Quartier de qui? is a free audiovisual waking tour along characteristic places throughout Brussels’ Kaaienwijk / Quartier des Quais in collaboration with ARGOS, Kiosk Radio, iMal and Nadine, and is funded by the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC).

We spoke to the different people living in the neighbourhood, collected a multiplicity of voices in English (e.g. of Andrea, ARGOS’ curator), French (e.g. of Mohammed, a young man who is participating in the manifestation for sans-papiers at the Béguinage) and Dutch (e.g. of Selim, co-founder of Toestand vzw) and made their stories available in seven podcast episodes. Visitors of the tour pick up a map with the route at the ARGOS bookshop or at iMal (or download the map online), scan the QR codes on the posters they can spot at the audio locations, and listen to the podcast episodes on their smartphones. In that way, the voices of the residents will guide you through the neighbourhood, while their stories bring the city back to life: we will be thinking of Léonard when we will pass by the washing saloon at Rue de Laken, reminding the life-lessons of Kadhija while crossing the Canal, as well as recalling Marie-Christine’s story when strolling through the small streets that connect the Canal with the Marché aux Poissons.

Brussels-based laboratory for contemporary transdisciplinary arts Nadine forms the video stop of the tour, where we present an experimental video selected from the ARGOS archive: a short film by Ria Pacquée (Running Around, 2015), who makes the experience of walking around in the city during lockdown very tangible. This video will only be available during the first weekend of our event (17 – 18 of April). Afterwards we will show a music video of Lucia Kagramanyan she made during lockdown, provided by KIOSK radio. Over the course of one month, every weekend we will make a video from the ARGOS archive available online, via ARGOS tv.


Of course, the challenges posed by the global health crisis have severely impeded the execution of this project (we had to adjust our concept many times), but at the same time these circumstances have made the need for intrapersonal connection even more urgent: paradoxically, they precisely formed an impetus to carry on and keep believing in the importance of a community building project.

Nevertheless we have come across some fragile points, inherent to any socio-cultural project fixed in time and space and bound by corona measures.

The first concerning accessibility: during the launch weekend, we did the tour with one of our interviewees who has a smartphone but no wireless Internet access, which caused him not being able to scan the QR codes. The same problem arises regarding the online screenings of the ARGOS videos. We had originally planned to solve this by placing screens and speakers at each location or volunteers who can hand out MP3 players and headphones, to prevent restricting ourselves in making another online event as much as possible. However, the Brussels police gave us negative advice on this at the beginning of April because of the new corona measures, which made us drop these alternatives in favour of a more coronaproof, but less accessible event.

The second being the aspect of sustainability: how to sustain the connections that are made over the course of the project, not only between the different socio-cultural players, but also between the residents that participated in Quartier des Quais, quartier de qui? Our goal was to create a dialogue with the neighbourhood itself; to get its residents open themselves up to the wide array of voices, living at the borders of their perception but within the same quartier. The stops/locations on our walking tour all share the same hopes for the neighbourhood they love and are nested in. However, a project that is fixed in time and space and subject to so many restrictions because of Brussels’ corona policy, complicates this wish severely.

Recently we received nonetheless the unexpected great news that VGC has granted us a project subsidy, which gives us the opportunity to carry out our original plans for the Quartier des Quais (uniting the people of the neighbourhood and its various socio-cultural players) this summer and organise a part II of our project – hopefully in better circumstances.

The Sound of Culture: the awakening sound after the cultural silence

Hello culture, my old friend! We’ve come to talk with you again. Remember this iconic song of the mid 1960s, Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel? We know it too well, that is why we believe that it is time to look for some new sounds! The Sound of Culture provides the awakening sound after a long period of cultural silence.

What is the event about?

The first of May, seventeen student groups are presenting their cultural projects that have kept them engaged and creative since October. The projects will be presented in various formats, starting from video presentations to posters. The content is related to different social topics. It is organized by three students of the master Cultural Studies: Marie, Gabrielė and Nora, with the support of Anneleen Masschelein and Ewout Decraene.

The idea behind the Sound of Culture

Along with the students and their projects, we began brainstorming and working on our event in October. As optimistic as we are, we started thinking about a physical project where cultural students could meet others. We wanted to provide drinks and snacks for the guests with  nice musical and artistic entertainment on the side. In addition, we booked an authentic auditorium at the Thermotechnisch Instituut in Leuven, which has a unique atmosphere. The pandemic challenged among other sectors also the cultural one. As a team we decided to change our live idea into a partially online and offline event. Instead of inviting guests to have a look at all the presentations live, this year we chose to film every group presenting their projects on the 1st of May and then publish all the presentations online, so that everyone who is interested in the projects has the ability to get to know more about them. In addition, we want to make the most out of the filming sessions. We will provide an informal environment for the students so that they can relax and enjoy the day. Even though every group will have a time slot when they can come, we encourage students not to leave right after filming and hang around a bit longer. If wanted they can meet other groups (by keeping in mind all the current measurements). A big advantage of the Thermotechnical Institute is the green environment and the Castle of Arenberg!  We hope that the big finale of the cultural awakening can happen soon.

If you are a student of Cultural Studies and are interested in what your colleagues have been doing for the past months, or a professor at KU Leuven, or someone who has been thinking of joining the Master’s programme of Cultural Studies (KU Leuven) and want to learn more about it, or maybe you are just simply a culture enthusiast? With great pleasure, we invite you to participate in the event! Check out our Facebook event for more information about the projects and the event itself! Or if you are too excited, you could check out the video below to get a little sneak peek of the event.

Team Sound of Culture

Gabriele, Marie and Nora

Archiving The Festival That Never Happened

Archiving The Festival That Never Happened

The current global pandemic has influenced every aspect of our lives, including the way in which we consume (performing) arts. Forced to move to a digital space, festivals and performing arts have had to adapt, or even change their format completely. This new configuration, however, has brought along many new challenges. Some prevailing questions remain: How does one create and curate an online performing arts festival whilst remaining true to its ultimate agenda: forming connections and cultivating dialogues? Adapting to a digital space, thus, poses a vital, yet difficult question not only to artists but to curators as well: in a field that relies so heavily on physical presence —  how does one interact and connect with an audience in a digital setting?

Group project: extending the digital festival experience

Throughout our project we have gotten to witness how platform “In De Maak” adjusted its format to fit current Corona-related restrictions, creating an immersive hybrid festival format. Instead of live performances, the audience got to experience various artworks in digital format during a city walk, whereby they followed a map that led them to a multiplicity of QR codes. When scanned, each QR revealed a new artwork in a digital format. For us as a group, finding the right format to add something relevant and sustainable to the project was crucial.

After careful consideration, we opted for the creation of audio profiles for each individual maker/group of makers. The main idea was to introduce the artists engagingly, adding another dimension to their profiles. The audio profiles brought to life the voice(s) of the maker(s) before, during, and/or after the festival walk. The series of 15 short podcast episodes represents an alternative way to meet the artists behind the festival and the artworks. In each episode, the maker(s) answered a set of 8 questions they chose from a list of 15 previously provided questions, with the exception of 2 mandatory questions we chose for the sake of consistency. With the selection of different questions, as well as the manner in which they chose to address them, the artists brought themselves forward in a way that is not only representative of them as artists, but as people as well.

Audio brochure: the future of the festival experience?

It is inevitable that certain novelties brought about by the necessity to go digital will remain even after the pandemic is over. With an increasing need for innovative solutions to keep the audience engaged and stimulated, audio-style brochures like ours, may eventually replace the old-style written-out brochures.

Podcasts have the potential of becoming a vital medium in the performing arts industry/sector. An audio profile of the artist, the historical background of the play, the story, or elementary references… You name it. The options are as infinite as the creativity of podcast producers. What would you think of a podcast that travels with the performance and is made available to the audience beforehand? No more poor quality flyers at the entrance of the theatre, that you quickly scan through before the lights go down. And you probably didn’t read that long e-mail with background reading sent out by the theatre yesterday.

The podcast serves all this info on a silver platter. Are you cooking before tonight’s performance? Why don’t you put on the podcast and discover the dance company’s unique preparation process? Or are you cycling to the theatre? Why don’t you put on the podcast and learn something about the play’s first performance back in the 19th century?


However, it is not as simple as it seems. The principal challenge of this medium is its accessibility. The internet generation has the required skill set to navigate themselves to the podcast. They would only need an extra QR-code on their theatre ticket to access it. The challenge lies with the elderly, who might benefit most from this audio format. How will this online content be brought to their attention? Or how can the theatre present it without the technological burden?

It is undoubtedly the case that the shift towards the digital festival experience brings about many challenges, including the threat to an interactive experience for/with an audience, accessibility issues, as well as matters regarding financial sustainability. That being said, this shift has resulted in many creative and innovative solutions that have opened up numerous possibilities. For instance, going digital allows for a significant expansion of the festival community, both in terms of organization and curation, as well as the audience. In addition, the necessity to think creatively in order to provide the most immersive and interactive experience with the audience as possible may have proven to be a milestone for the future festival experience. One must wonder how the way in which we experience festivals, as well as performing arts will change after Corona. What will this shift to “normality” look like? What will this new “normality” look like? What tools and methods with regards to festival/performing arts experience might stick around even after this period is over? Will, perhaps, audio brochures be one of them?

Facebook: @platformindemaak

Instagram: @platformindemaak

Podcast (Re)considering Club Spaces: now available on Soundcloud

Thanks to the numerous efforts of the collective Nachtplan in collaboration with the city of Leuven, the Leuven residents can look forward to a new club in their own city. To involve every possible voice before the arrival of the new club, Nachtplan has called in the help of a group of students Cultural Studies to examine different views, each in their own way, sharing a special bond with nightlife. The result of this process is a threefold podcast, (Re)considering Club Spaces, where we research some conditions for an ideal nightlife experience. All episodes are (freely) available in Dutch on Soundcloud.

Our episodes have been released weekly, each one focusing on a different episode.  The first theme deals with the community as an essential part of its nightlife. We enter a dialogue with the local community in Leuven, but also with the many social communities that sometimes experience difficulties at night or the nightlife because of their orientation, ethnicity, appearance, disability, etc. The guests are: Seppe De Ceuster (member of the collective of Creative Dubs), Celine Govaerts (coordinator of culture LOKO) and Benjamin Khalil Zare (coordinator of STUKcafé and member of Nachtplan)

The second conversation is related to the architecture and infrastructure of the club. In the first part, the physical space of the club will be questioned. The structure and design of a club has an impact on the club experience that should not be underestimated. We talk with Stan Vrebos (student Architecture, Nacht, Onkruid), Laure Robenek (student Idea & Innovation management, Fabrik Leuven) and Ken Standaert (student Urban Design at UGent and interna at Robrecht en Daem Architects) to examine the interaction between the physical space and the mental experience.

Finally, we focus on the importance of inclusion and diversity within nightlife, specifically applied to the city of Leuven. Together with some activists we question if a club that targets a wide audience can also be  a “safe-space” for specific communities –BIPOC and LGBTQIA + in particular. Together with Nyira Hens (BeHuman) and Brahim Tall (DJ, photographer and former event organizer in Leuven) we are going into dialogue about the position of the underrepresented groups in Leuven’s night culture and what role the city of Leuven has, or should have, in this process.

The podcast does not pretend to have an ideal club proposal in mind. Thought is given to matters that are essential to this nighttime experience. A club that continues to strive for values such as solidarity, equality, innovation and creativity, must listen and must remain open to reinvent and adapt. (Re)considering Club Spaces implies an ever-evolving club element that must be questioned again and again.


Listen to the podcast here:

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for detailed information about our guests and regular updates. 

Background Image Logo © Jente Waerzeggers

Logo Design © Mirco Angiolini

WOMEN ON THE MOVE: 20th century gamechangers

Walk through the city of Leuven and discover the evolution of women’s work in postwar Europe with the exhibition Women on the Move (Vrouwen in Beweging)!

Women’s position in society changed at an unprecedented rate after 1945, ushering in new perspectives on domestic labour and women in the workforce. This small exhibition will discuss the reflection of economic position of women in the cultural landscape, the glorification or downplaying of certain family earning models and the rising awareness around intersectionality during the postwar period.

The name of the project is a play on the term “women’s movement” (both in English and in Dutch), but also expresses the shift from the idealised 1950s housewife to the working woman outside the home. Five television screens, each containing one section of the exhibit, are scattered across the city. Through the power of the MuPop tool (and the internet), the screens can connect to the visitor’s smartphone using a web browser. The phone can then be used as a control remote to flick through the exhibition pictures at your heart’s desire while accompanying audio plays. Earphones or headphones are therefore recommended! The exhibition will run from 23 April to 21 May, usually from 9 AM to 5 PM on weekdays (some of the locations’ opening hours differ) and around the clock on weekends, at the following locations:

  1. Europahuis, Blijde-Inkomststraat 5
  2. KADOC, Vlamingenstraat 39
  3. Lokaal Dienstencentrum Edouard Remy, Andreas Vesaliusstraat 10
  4. Buurtcentrum Sint-Maartensdal, Rijdende Artillerielaan 6
  5. Familiehulp Leuven, Martelarenlaan 6a

A suggested route on google maps can be seen here. We decided to let the walk take the visitor through the city’s historic centre, so they can take in the cultural sights (or grab ice cream if the weather is nice) on the way over to the Buurtcentrum and Familiehulp. The exhibition will be presented in both English and Dutch; the preferred language can be selected once your smartphone has connected to the MuPop tool.

This exhibition is the result of a partnership between KADOC and Europeana within the framework of Europeana XX: Century of Change, a project focussing on the documentation of the transformations that took place in twentieth-century Europe. KADOC is the Interfaculty Documentation and Research Centre on Religion, Culture and Society at KU Leuven, an institution dedicated to cultural heritage. It houses an impressive collection of archived material. Europeana is an initiative of the European Union which aims to empower the cultural heritage sector by allowing the public to access a vast archive of digital material. We also partnered up with Femma Wereldvrouwen, an organisation created from a women’s movement that strives for a better quality of life for working-class women.

Of course, such a project, although small, brings about its own challenges. The utilisation of the MuPop tool added a physical dimension to an otherwise digital experience. This meant finding television screens that could be rented for a month, roping in people to fetch and transport those to each location and asking individual organisations to house each part of the exhibition, all the while adhering to the corona measures. Keeping the costs down and finding adequate funding also proved to be a difficult task. Another challenge we faced was combining women’s history from Femma’s perspective with a more pan-European overview. We attempted to do this by linking specific facets of Flemish working-class women’s struggles to the overarching evolution of European female emancipation in the workplace.

We hope that you will enjoy this upcoming exhibition!

Special thanks to our sponsors, the Culture Commission of the KU Leuven, TopFoto UK and the Province of Vlaams-Brabant, for their help and support.

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