‘‘To create digital art, you do not have to be a good drawer’’
During the opening ceremony of the UM Academic Year 2020/2021, Professor Eric Mazur stated that higher order thinking skills like creativity are probably the most important thing to focus on during this 21st century. Student Marjorie Platero completely agrees with him. A few months ago, she even received a grant from the University Fund Limburg/SWOL to create a ‘Digital Arts Lab’, which stimulates the entire UM community to get out of the (online) box.
Marjorie: ‘‘I was born in Costa Rica, grew up in Canada and eventually I came to Maastricht to complete my bachelor’s programme Digital Society. Last year, I began thinking about how I could combine my studies, my desire to help others and the work experience that I had already gained in the digital area. Maybe by launching some type of online project...
In May, I read that the University Fund Limburg/SWOL was accepting grant applications for student activities. By this time, I had already started to develop the Digital Arts Lab idea and was thinking about how I could get this project off the ground. Being a UM student, I feel that there are many opportunities to create and launch new initiatives, and to give back to the UM community. There also exist great sources of financial and nonmonetary support, the University Fund Limburg/SWOL being one of them.’’ (Text continues below picture)
Marjorie Platero follows the new bachelor's programme Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of Maastricht University. She is also the founder of the Digital Arts Lab.
‘‘Due to the ongoing corona crisis, a lot of us are spending more time at home; learning something new and getting creative is a great activity to do under the current circumstances.’’
Mind maps and study break sketches
‘‘The Digital Arts Lab is a student-run website that is divided into three primary spaces: Learn, Create and Showcase. Each space offers links to online resources, including tutorials about online art and how to create your own artworks. You do not have to be an artist – or even know how to draw – to benefit from the Digital Arts Lab. Of course, you can create art, but you can also just use it to take notes in a creative way, create mind maps, draw pictures to remember and recall information, or even just to sketch while taking a break from studying or working.
Because the Digital Arts Lab operates based on inclusivity, innovation and collaboration, it is open to all UM students and staff – regardless of their existing digital art skills and the (technological) tools they possess. For instance, if they do not already have access to a drawing tablet, they can borrow a special Wacom tablet from the Digital Arts Lab. Moreover, the ‘Lab’ is available for both academic and non-academic purposes. In brief, anyone is welcome to join!’’
Getting creative at home
‘‘I created the Digital Arts Lab for several reasons. First, I wanted to offer the entire UM community the opportunity to engage with the topic of (creating) digital art. Secondly, the ‘Lab’ develops transferrable digital and creative thinking skills - either for personal or professional purposes.
Finally, I wanted to add variety to existing extracurricular activities offered at UM, by creating an activity that promotes the productive and beneficial use of digital technology. Due to the ongoing corona crisis, a lot of us are spending more time at home; learning something new and getting creative is a great activity to do under the current circumstances!’’
The Digital Arts Lab will launch in the beginning of November 2020. The grant from the University Fund Limburg/SWOL was used specifically to purchase Wacom tablets that students and staff can borrow. You can find more information about the ‘Lab’ and the tablets on its website.
What is next?
‘‘Once the ongoing health pandemic is under control, I hope that the Digital Arts Lab can offer in-person workshops and opportunities for collaboration and group work within the UM Inner City Library. I would also love to see the ‘Lab’ giving back to the broader Maastricht community by reaching out to younger students. Five years from now, I hope that it will be a permanent part of the UM community, that it continues to be managed by students, and that UM students and staff enjoy everything it has to offer.
Launching and managing the Digital Arts Lab, as well as completing my bachelor’s programme, has so far been a great learning opportunity for me. I want to use all the knowledge and experience I am gaining to launch other digital technology-related initiatives in the future – wherever I may be living or working!’’
Text: Milou Schreuders
You can find more informatie about the University Fund Limburg/SWOL and its grants for UM staff members and students on: www.ufl-swol.nl/en.
The deadline for the next round of grant applications is 13 November.