Students at Maastricht University share their COVID-19 experiences
Students from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University, digitised in 3D personal items that spoke to their experience of the pandemic. These models were woven into digital stories that explore their experience from personal, cultural, and social perspectives. These objects, connected to wider themes that will resonate with all of us, are being presented on a new website, which will be launched at 20.00 on 22 October 2021 at the Boekhandel Dominicanen as part of Museumnacht.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected all our lives, disrupting our daily routines, our patterns of work, and our relationships. Nowhere was this description more evident than in the education sector: from primary school to university. Most students and teachers suffered through the pandemic with teaching methods not developed for online delivery and substandard internet access; but twenty-seven students from the master’s programme Media Studies: Digital Cultures at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, used the pandemic as an occasion to create a lasting testament to their experience -- both individual and collective.
For three months in Spring 2021 they collaboratively built a website that would become part of an online, international dialogue of their experience during the pandemic. The collection is built around one object that each student chose to represent what the pandemic meant to them: from a Peruvian Matej cup, to earphones, to a meditation pillow, to puzzles and games. These objects brought solace to their owners, helped them with stress and loneliness, and kept them connected to the outside world.
These twenty-seven objects were digitised in 3D, which were then woven into narratives about the pandemic, both personal and societal. These individual stories were then collected into larger themes, which also spoke to the feelings that so many of us experienced during this time: Escapism, (Re)constructing Reality, Documenting the Period, Nostalgia, and Health.
The result is a website that many will be able to relate to as we slowly and tentatively emerge from the pandemic. This student project, however, will remain a testament to that period in our lives.