Vilja Bemelen (The Netherlands), Art, Literature and Society
I’m less quick to judge these days

“I started out at Maastricht University in the Dutch-language track of the bachelor's in Arts and Culture. If the subject matter was going to be difficult, I figured I’d prefer to work in my mother tongue. I did have lectures in English, and I had to read English texts. Looking back on it now, the first week or so was tough, but you get used to English very quickly.

I was well into my bachelor’s when I realised I still had to choose a master’s programme. It didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted to stay in Maastricht. It has such a friendly, cosy atmosphere, and Problem-Based Learning works great for me, so I wanted to continue on with that.

This master’s programme is about studying current developments in their historical contexts. Take the development of abstract art installations, for example, and the question of how to preserve them. Or the attack on Charlie Hebdo. This programme inspires students to look at situations like that from all possible angles. Some people get uncomfortable when you ask whether the newspaper itself was in some way to blame, but developing such an open-minded view of everyday life is very enriching. I’m less quick to judge these days.

I’m very much into Impressionism, but I also like Banksy’s graffiti art, which often contains political references. This programme fosters my interest not only in art and literature but also politics. When I enrolled in the bachelor’s in Arts and Culture, I knew my career path would be less certain than it might have been with other programmes. The master’s programme, too, gives you the freedom to figure out what you want to do and where to do it. I’m convinced people are best at the things they’re genuinely interested in, so I’m sure everything will turn out alright.

I’m currently doing an internship at the Bonnefantenmuseum, where I’m compiling a monograph about The Hours of the Day, a work by Richard Serra, so that visitors can learn more about it. Thanks to an initiative of the website erfgoedtalent.nl  , I’m able to do a three-month internship after my studies followed by three months of paid employment. That way I’ll be able to expand my network, gain work experience and carve out a place for myself.”

Other testimonials

  • Beata Stolnykh
    Beata Stolnykh, Student Ambassador Art, Literature and Society 2016-2017
    “This is an inspiring environment with like-minded people where I can pursue my own interests.”
  • Nina Paszowski_MA_Arts, literature and society
    Nina Paszkowski, Art, Literature and Society
    Everybody in my class comes from a completely different background and it helps you see things from different perspectives