Interview with Elena Cassina, Student ambassador MA Arts and Culture: Contemporary Literature and Arts 2023-2024

Why did you decide to choose this master’s programme?
“I did my bachelor’s at University College Maastricht. During that time, I focused mostly on gender studies and identity studies. In my third year, I also took some literature courses. In these classes, I really liked the intersection between contemporary literature and gender and identity studies".

I was always interested in literature and even thought about studying English literature. However, I wanted something contemporary, and not only study the classical literature. In my second year, one of our professors was designing this new programme. It is still relatively new. But especially the contemporary aspect of the literature and arts, combined with social justice sounded very interesting. I think it is a natural continuation of what I was already studying and interested in.”

What do you hope to get out of this programme?
“We often think that social justice is all about a lot of hands-on action. But I believe that arts and literature can help to address matters of social and environmental justice as well. We need arts and culture to educate and activate people. In the master’s programme, we learn about the theoretical backgrounds behind things that are inherently unjust or unfair. Whenever I read or watch the news now, I can connect it to what we are learning here more easily. Basically, I think this programme helps me to make sense of the world around me.”

What would be your dream career?
“I am currently eyeing publishing houses. Some are very small and focus on niche topics. There are for example very interesting feminist publishing houses. Others are publishing works that address anti-hierarchical topics. Ideally, I would like to work as an editor at one of these companies. But I am sure there are more interesting roles within this industry.”

October 2023