Category Archives: Campus & Local

“A chipped glass is ruined forever”

Could you imagine giving away your child? To some stranger you’ve never met? In a completely different country? With a different language which your child doesn’t speak? Completely impossible for a parent, right?

Or from a child’s perspective: could you imagine leaving your parents in order to head off to a new country with a language you don’t speak? Meeting some strangers that will look after you and possibly keep you safe? You wouldn’t know if or when you’d see your parents again. Could you imagine such a thing?

Flashbacks

1_kleinOn stage, we meet a mother and her child; the mother is teaching her daughter to sew a button on her coat. The girl is about to leave – without her parents. And she’s only nine years old. She doesn’t want to leave, but the mother promises to join her later. “When is later?” “In a month, or two…”

The light fades and another part of the stage becomes the focus. A mother and daughter enter the attic; the young woman is about to move out. Her mother tries to convince the young adult to take this and that, crystal glasses (only eleven, as one of them has a little damage and “A chipped glass is ruined forever”), cups and so on. We, the audience, can sense some slight disagreement between the two: things unspoken, stories untold. As the story on the stage unfolds, we are introduced to all the things that are happening now and all the untold secrets from many years ago, in a well-hidden past.

The first pair we meet are Eva Schlesinger (Lotte Albrecht) and her mother Helga (Mel Schuster). The second pair are Faith (Jorid Kretzschmar) and her mother, Evelyn (Anna Hilbl). But Evelyn IS Eva. She has been adopted by her foster mom, Lil, (Nika 2_kleinKriss), has been given a naturalisation certificate and changed her name as well as her birthday. She has got rid of her past as a Jewish-German child that was sent away to England for safety reasons. Her daughter, Faith, didn’t know about her mother’s past and by chance finds out about it while she’s rummaging through her own childhood treasures in the attic.

Lots of emotions

The play is about the individual struggles of a child who is sent away because of the Holocaust. There are lots of stories about the children transport that mainly the British organised to help save at least some of the children in danger. Between 1938 and 1939 ten thousand children were taken to Great Britain. When we read about this Refugee Children Movement, we usually get information about their safety or that they more often than not were the only members of their families to survive and consequently most of them never saw their parents again.

What we don’t read about are the struggles and their individual stories of suffering and distress that must have come with being relocated in another country, with people they had never met before, and having to adjust to the new environment. The hardships they went through, growing up and not knowing about their families.

Great teamwork

TitelbildThe AnglistenTheater has succeeded in bringing these struggles to life in the flashbacks during the play between the “now” and “then”. They take the audience on a journey through the life of a young girl who is developing into a woman that at some point has developed into the mother we see in the “now”. To a great extent, this is director Rudolf Beck’s achievement, of course. But there is so much more that makes this production an outstanding experience. Both the stage and costume designs as well as the light and sound help to draw you right into the story; the actors’ marvellous skills make everything absolutely believable. They all played their parts extremely well and if I had to choose, I couldn’t say which performance I liked best. But I imagine that it must have been very difficult to play the young Eva and the grown-up Evelyn in such a convincing way that you can almost feel all the emotions yourself.

Go watch it!

3_kleinWhat I especially liked was the great sound design (Josef Demling). For example, when the ratcatcher (Ian Steffy) – a recurring figure in the play – makes his first appearance by sneaking in from behind the audience, a beautiful but at the same time eerie melody accompanies the action. We hear this lovely, dazzling tune during all his appearances. Whenever you hear it, it feels like it’s hitting something deep inside you and almost makes you want to jump up and follow the ratcatcher and his flute.

Considering the topic of the play it is obvious that it is rather strong stuff to digest, but it is well worth watching. So go and see Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport produced by the AnglistenTheater! There are still three more shows: Mon, 11th | Tue, 12th | Thu, 14th, all starting at 8 pm in lecture hall II (Hörsaal II) in building C.

Text: Angie Czygann
Fotos: Klaus Satzinger-Viel
Cover picture: AnglistenTheater

Student species

student_About 20,000 students populate the University of Augsburg, which means different people from all over the world, who, at first sight, have almost nothing in common. Well, they’re all students, of course – mammals with particular habits, such as the mass migration from the campus buildings to the Mensa at 1.16 PM. So, as I’ve spent a lot of time in lectures and courses, it’s quite simple to divide the student animal kingdom into three main categories… 

Those who bring food to class

Everybody longs for a snack, above all when you’ve spent the whole day at university and you’re getting a little peckish. A muesli bar, some yoghurt or an apple re the most popular. But not for him. No, the food lover goes big. It’s five p.m., and a pungent odor in the university corridors announces, well in advance, the arrival of BigFood. And here he comes, almost limping, since he’s trying to walk and devour the noodles at the same time. Red sauce all over his mouth and a passion for chopsticks – because eating with a fork is too mainstream. Big food’s ready to contaminate the air of another lecture theatre, usually sitting next to you, and contributing indecipherable questions – his mouth is full! – to the class discussion.

Those who pinch your things

No, I don’t mean your bike, money or smartphone. University thieves don’t aim that high – they just look for your stuff. Innocent copies, pencils and clips, which fall into the hands of those professional thieves. The strategy is always the same: they sit next to you, ask if they can read your copies, and, once the class is over, your marvelous printed sheets have disappeared. After the “Gosh-why-am-I-so-forgetful?” moment, you realize your neighbor has pinched your materials, and sometimes even deprived you of your motivation to study (in the process increasing the number of procrastinators among students as well as Netflix sales).

Those who can’t hold it anymore

Who doesn’t love lectures? Listening to the professor talking away, jotting something down, snoozing in your seat. Not really. Someone in the middle of your row stands up and turns up all the tilt-top desks, as if they were dominoes. The incontinent student faces an obstacle course, with hurdles made of jackets, backpacks and other (unfortunate) students, who are mercilessly attacked by the athlete’s knees. The gymnast finally reaches the door, while the heads follow him, making sure he hasn’t injured himself (or hoping that he has!). Nature is calling and it’s only polite to answer – and go to the loo. Pity that it’s always the same person, sitting in the same place, during the same lecture.

Text: Veronica Armellini
Picture: Daniela Armellini

Social counseling

Sozialreferat_BildWhen I started to study, I didn’t realize how many different ways of volunteering there are. Since I had to give up my voluntary work in my hometown, I wanted to get involved again. A friend took me to the Sozialreferat at the University of Augsburg. From the beginning, I was enthusiastic about their ideas and I’m convinced that if they’re implemented, they’ll benefit students a lot. But see for yourself…

Timetabling
Timetabling is not an easy task, especially when you’re starting off. Often the lectures clash with each other or you have a job. Module handbooks, professors and even fellow students from higher semesters sometimes don´t make matters better either. Through our schedule support we – the Sozialreferat – want to give you advice and help you with various issues throughout the semester(s).

The Monday meeting (an informal  chat)
We offer an opportunity for an informal chat every Monday. We talk about all kinds of things (concerns, etc.) regarding university and personal things. Sometimes we just act as a sounding board so students get new ideas for their studies and replenish energy reserves. Sometimes you only need a sympathetic ear or an objective opinion to cope.

Seminars

Bafög-Seminar
In this seminar, students find out about the various ways of funding their studies. There are some sources which aren’t widely known about, such as study loans, scholarships or housing allowances. We also discuss how and where to apply for these “cash injections” and who is entitled to do so.

Future projects

Sozialreferat_2Social Foundation
Up to now, students here who are experiencing an emergency haven’t been able to apply for short-term loans. In certain situations, the Sozialreferat wants to make this possible. So we’re trying to convince the responsible ministry.

Psycho-social counseling
In this consultation, we hope to be supported by the Chair of Educational Sciences: in the “Counseling for schools” training course, students have to complete a one-week internship at a counseling center. We’d like to offer this internship on our premises.

Guidelines
With regard to the increasingly heterogeneous student body, a manual with the most important contact information, as well as tips for your studies is being planned. The purpose of this manual is to create a flexible problem-solving resource for students and to complement the work of current and future counselors and employees.

The first semester can be confusing and nerve racking in every way. Receiving timetable aid, for instance, is very important in order to plan your studies efficiently and is one of many factors that will make things less stressful. I still remember exactly how confused and overwhelmed I was in the first semester when I had to create my own schedule which was in the end not very effective. I wish someone more experienced had helped me at that time.

Now being part of the team I hope that we can achieve a lot and that students will benefit from our help. We’re there for you for all concerns and problems that occur during your daily student life. We offer you a wide range of services such as consultations, seminars or lectures.

 If you’d like to support us, please contact us and become part of our great team!

Author & Pictures: Carolin Steinke

A mole on the campus

20170707_113730_edited_oval.jpegHi, let me introduce myself. My name is Stefie; like you, I’m a student at the university of Augsburg and I’m rather short-sighted. Please, let me assure you that I’m not one of those disabled super heroes who are often shown on TV or mentioned in newspapers. What I mean is that I’m short-sighted, but none of my other senses have developed in an extraordinary way. I’m a completely average student struggling, more or less, with the same issues as you.

Hail to the public transport service

I have to consider things that have possibly never occurred to you. Take, for example, the criteria for choosing the university you wanted to go to. In my case, I not only had to take into account the subject I wanted to study, or if I liked the city the university is situated in, but also if the university is one where everything is on the same site or if it’s easily accessible with the public transport system, or not. I’m not able to drive a car or cycle so I completely rely on the more or less (in some cases rather less) efficient public transport system, my own two feet or the help of my family for getting from point A to point B.

A mole in sheep’s clothing

What’s more, I have to tell people who I’m in a professional or close relationship with about my disability. So if you met me, you wouldn’t know that my short-sightedness is so strong. See, I’m a mole in perfect disguise; I wear glasses, but so do hundreds of other students. The difference is that many can perceive the world like completely healthy persons if they’re wearing their glasses, but for me this doesn’t work. Mine can only help me to perceive the contrast between different things more easily. And, so I’m talking about this to avoid misunderstandings like “I waved at you but you completely ignored me…”.

Communication, communication…

Of course, communication is very important for me because even when people know about my poor eyesight, I can’t expect them to think about it all the time. Take the lecturers at  university, for example; the majority of them are very nice and I’ve met no one who refused to help me or to make the slides for the presentation bigger so that I could follow the course. In order to be able to help me, they have to know that I have this kind of problem; and I have to remind them from time to time because they’ve not only got me sitting in front of them but sometimes over a hundred of students to think about.

‘Inclusion’ – what a wonderful word

In general, I like studying here but there are some things that still need to be improved. For example, there’s no general information anywhere on university website for people with disabilities. Well, there is someone you can consult for questions about studying with a handicap. But, it’s very difficult to approach this person and when you finally do, don’t expect too much. He probably doesn’t know more than you do.

 

Author & Pictures: Stefanie Sohnle

An interview with Prof. Dr. Catriona Seth

Portrait

Could you please introduce yourself and your work?

I was lucky enough to be brought up in several different countries (England, Scotland, Switzerland, Venezuela and Belgium) and to go to university in the U.K. and in France. Until 18 months ago I worked in France, as a professor at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, which has a joint study programme with Augsburg, thanks to Rotraud von Kulessa, my colleague in Romanistik. I am now the Professor of French at Oxford, which is wonderful. I am a fellow of All Souls, a beautiful College in the centre of Oxford—and my study overlooks the iconic Radcliffe Camera.

Which role do languages play in your life?

As I was brought up speaking both French and English, languages are a way of life and a part of my identity. I also love learning new words and how they work or where they come from. I’m sorry not to have more occasions to speak some of the foreign languages I have studied—or picked up along the way. I’m happy that by spending time in Augsburg I am getting to practise some German.

What is your favourite book?

It would be impossible for me to choose a single book. A couple of French novels I find admirable are Laclos’ Liaisons dangereuses, which I have edited, and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. I enjoy reading widely, fiction, poetry, but also non-fiction.

How did you develop your passion for literary studies?

I have always loved reading. I had some inspirational teachers at school. I really enjoy my job!

Could you please briefly explain your project (Transcultural European Literature) with Ms. Kulessa here in Augsburg?

Rotraud von Kulessa and I have worked together quite frequently. Our most recent venture is an anthology of Enlightenment texts about Europe (originally written in French, German, Spanish, Italian and English) which are freely downloadable.

We put the anthology together in French, very rapidly, for it to come out before the French elections. My colleagues and 121 students in Oxford have translated it into English and we managed to have it ready for the first anniversary of the Brexit referendum, which many of us consider to have been a very regrettable day for Great Britain and for Europe.  You can read The Idea of Europe. Enlightenment Perspectives free online here:

There will also be a German translation with the help of students from Augsburg.

Which topic have you worked on so far?

I have done a lot of work on the novel and poetry in the eighteenth century, but also on women’s memoirs. There is a cultural history aspect to some of my research: I have written on Marie Antoinette as a literary and historical figure, for example. I also have an interest in medical humanities and have looked at smallpox inoculation in the eighteenth century and its impact on mentalities.

What are your goals for your stay at the University of Augsburg?Uni_Aug_Logo_JFZ_RGB(1)

I’m looking forward to learning about how teaching is organised here. I enjoyed the Aktionstag called Gegen einfache Wahrheiten, which brought students and teaching staff together in a less formal way, to discuss wide-ranging social concerns, and involved engaging with the wider public.

What relevance does the work with the students have for you?

As I mentioned, I enjoy teaching. I always learn new things when preparing my classes. I enjoy the contact with the students, which is intellectually stimulating.

Why did you choose Augsburg for the guest professorship?

I was invited to Augsburg and am delighted to be here. I very much enjoy working with Rotraud von Kulessa. I am looking forward to looking into some of the bibliographical treasures in the Augsburg libraries. I also hope to visit some of the parts of Bavaria I do not know and to take advantage of the natural and cultural resources of this beautiful part of Europe.

 

Author: Janina Girschick, Andrea Schneider

Pictures:  Catriona Seth, Jakob-Fugger-Zentrum

Augsburger Sommernächte

Thousands of people in the streets. The streets turn into stages. Different squares turn into dancing areas. In the centre of the city people, feast and dance to various sounds. Well, let me tell you what I’m talking about: the Augsburger Sommernächte. This event took place for the second time this year from Thursday June 28th until July 1st. For those of you who participated this year it should be crystal clear why it’s definitely worth a visit. For all those who don’t know why they should actually go there, I’ll givAS5e a few convincing reasons. But first of all, some of you may not even know what the Augsburger Sommernächte are…

What is it?

Augsburger Sommernächte is probably the largest party in the whole of Augsburg and the surrounding region. Some restaurants and bars spill into the streets, and sell all kind of foods you’ve never dreamt of. The nightly entertainment also keeps the place bustling: all over the city thirteen areas present nearly every imaginable kind of music! From mainstream to HipHop straight to Indie – everybody of all ages get their money’s worth. From the Königplatz over the Maxstraße to the Rathausplatz – the whole city is a party, and takes place from 5pm to 1am.

A few reasons why..

It’s not just like one party, but many morphed into one! You can spend quality time with your friends under the clear night sky, because who doesn’t prefer a party under the stars instead of spending the night in a muggy club? AS3The Sommernächte also gives you the chance to meet new people. Everybody’s in a good mood and always ready for a chat! Apart from this social aspect, what is really cool is that the Neue Szene presents newcomers. Not only young bands try to entertain the people with their music, but also poetry slammers who try to catch the listener’s attention with their own texts.

Next to the small stages that are spread all over the Maxstraße, you’ll find delicious food from all over the world. It’s like a mini street food market. These smells of freshly made falafel, curry and burgers make you think you’re on holiday in Ibiza. All of these new impressions are so overwhelming that you will need to go there again in order to see everything! Unlike an expensive holiday, the Sommernächte don’t cost anything (but you’re not allowed to take any kind of food or drinks with you).

Save the date!AS4

So, I’ve not completely convinced you? Take a look yourself! Next year the Sommernächte will take place from 28th June to 1st July. So what are you waiting for? Take out your calendars and mark the date!

Author: Chiara Leick

Pictures: CIA Veranstaltungs GmbH

What goes on behind closed doors?

anglistentheaterOn Thursday, 6th July, the Anglistentheater premiered their latest play “Speaking in tongues”, by Andrew Bovell.

Have you ever wondered how other people cope with their problems? How they seek a cure for their emotional wounds? This play starts by showing us a pretty drastic way of handling an unstable marriage: cheating. Jane is married to Pete and Sonja is married to Leon, yet here our play starts with everyone in a cheap hotel room with the other’s partner. But only Leon and Jane go through with it. Disaster unfolds and Pete leaves Jane and Sonja leaves Leon and as the guys meet each other in one bar and the girls in another, they find that judging and forgiving is harder said than done.

At this point, I was kind of bored, thinking “Great. Another modern play about adultery. So innovative…”, but as the play unfolded it left me speechless. It’s about so much more than just that. It’s a play about mutual love and unrequited love. About unconditional love and doubted love. About trust and betrayal. About therapist and client. About murder and innocence. About sanity and mental illness. About past and present. And about cruelty and kindness. It’s a play about Leon, Sonja, Pete, Jane, Valerie, Sarah, Nick, Neil and John. Each with their own story but still intertwined through all these elements.

I won’t go into further detail, since I don’t wanna spoil the fun, but let me tell you: it’s shocking and mysterious. I also found it devastating to see what horrible things people want to happen to their “loved ones”, just for the sake of their own convenience… enough said.

Andrew Bovell has written an amazing play about the depths of human relationships and the enormous impact apparently small acts can have. The Anglistentheater has done a great job performing it. The actors were marvelous and the stage design really paid attention to detail and came up with great concepts. You could really see how much time, effort and practice everyone had put into making a fabulous premiere.

I recommend you go and see the play for yourself – it’s amazing. But make sure to borrow one of the cushions (the play takes about 2:15 hours, and, let’s be honest, a lecture theatre isn’t that comfy.

Speaking in tongues will be performed on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th July 2017

At 8 p.m. in Hörsaal II

 

 

Author: Michaela Lappler

Picture: Anglistentheater