Thursday 23 March 2023 — For the sixth year running, students, academic staff and partners are joining forces in Brussels for the weKONEKT.week. From Monday 27 to Friday 31 March, 4,000 students from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EhB) are heading out into the city. The project aims to inspire students by introducing them to Brussels and its people in a unique way. Students and partner organisations have come up with their own initiatives. Over 100 activities and guest lectures will take place, that frame within various courses.
Student initiatives: building a better future together
The student initiatives during the weKONEKT.week take many forms. An exhibition in collaboration with the Royal Library of Belgium, a visit to the Sewer Museum by the VUB Green Team, a captivating poetry walk around Brussels organised by de Moeial student newspaper and the association Klad: activities aren’t limited to the classroom or the campus.
Students’ social engagement is more important than ever in building a better future for all. By creating their own initiatives, students not only gain valuable leadership skills and experience, they also have a real impact on their communities and beyond. They highlight important issues, challenge the status quo and inspire others to make a real difference.
Behind-the-scenes in Brussels: exclusive access
Communication and Medialab students get an exclusive look at the operations of cultural institutions such as the concert hall Ancienne Belgique, the creative space Reset and the Flemish Royal Theatre. Participants will have the chance to meet curators, conservators, and other professionals who, very passionately, work every day to bring dreams to life.
“We are excited to offer this programme to students,” says Professor Tim Raats. “We hope to inspire our students by offering them a look behind the scenes and introducing them to the workings of our Brussels partners in a different way.”
Cultural institutions play an important role in our society, giving us access to art, history, and other forms of creative expression. Many students are not always aware of the cultural richness in Brussels or the important work the institutions realise. In addition, there are many career opportunities available. By giving them a unique look behind the scenes, weKONEKT.brussels seeks to increase appreciation for arts and culture and inspire the next generation of cultural leaders.
Students of Law and Political Science dive into the Flemish Parliament, the Senate and the European Parliament. What’s on the agenda? A course on protecting the fundamental rights of Belgian citizens. And VUB alumna Louise Hoon will explain the importance of good communication at election time.
“VUB’s greatest asset is its embeddedness in the rich, European and cosmopolitan city of Brussels. During the weKONEKT.week, our law students will take classes in one of the many parliaments in our shared capital. This interaction between knowledge and practice is invaluable, for both our university and our city,” says VUB professor of constitutional law Karel Reybrouck.
By immersing students in the world of the legislature and putting them in touch with MPs, they get a unique hands-on experience and insight into the workings of the various institutions. They are encouraged to be informed and critically reflect upon important issues in our society, as well as to actively help decide the policies that shape their future.
Let’s talk about sex & sports
During the weKONEKT.tables, groups of students will engage in a conversation about sex and intimacy. Guided by VUB experts, they can share their experiences as well as practical thoughts on topics such as polyamory, adultery, sex work, normativity, and the origin of sex. Bruzz radio presenter Bram Van de Velde is our host, while participants enjoy a sustainable dinner served by the non-profit Cosmos and artistic interventions by Neoza Goffin in collaboration with Pilar.
In Bozar’s remarkable Horta Hall, first-year students of physical education and movement sciences will be challenged to depict what moves them in painting and sculpture. The representation of the human body in motion will be visualised during two intensive yoga sessions. Passers-by are also welcome to help shape the exercise.
During the weKONEKT.week, students are encouraged to reflect critically on sex and sport, as it can broaden their view of the world. The human body is a subject that enjoys intense attention in both sport and sexual activity. And there is a powerful connection between sport and art, from the graceful movements of a ballet dancer to the intense focus of a basketball player. Some of the most iconic moments in sport have been immortalised through artistic expression, be it a photograph capturing a decisive moment or a painting depicting the grace of a gymnast. Sport can inspire art, and art sports.
Building the weKONEKT.week together
As urban engaged universities, VUB, ULB and EhB are strengthening their bond with Brussels. During the weKONEKT.week, they will connect 4000 students to the richness, complexity and beauty of their city. In collaboration with over 90 partners, more than 100 activities will take place, including guest lectures, workshops, excursions, tours and parties.
“In collaboration with our partners in Brussels, teaching activities are organised for our students in unique locations. We aim to familiarise our students with the richness of the institutions present in the city and region,” says Lynn Tytgat, coordinator of weKONEKT.brussels. “This always provides an added value in terms of both content and pedagogy.”
“By consciously focusing on partnerships, we as urban engaged universities are strongly connected to Brussels and committed to a better world and future,” says VUB rector Jan Danckaert. “Social commitment and the pursuit of a sustainable and humanistic society are truly in our DNA.”
“I am particularly pleased that the weKONEKT.week brings together students from our two universities and Erasmushogeschool in a wide range of activities, with a strong student contribution,” says ULB rector Annemie Schaus. “By doing this, we confirm the strong ties that unite our institutions, as well as the fundamental place we occupy at the heart of the city and the Brussels-Capital Region.”
“Erasmus University College Brussels is anchored in Brussels and strives for continuous cooperation. Within weKONEKT we realize sustainable impact on the future by working creatively and transdisciplinary together with VUB and ULB.” says Managing Director Dennis Cluydts. “As an open, humanistic and pluralistic university of applied sciences and arts, we like to build and strengthen bridges with our inspiring and complex Brussels environment.”
weKONEKT.brussels and the weKONEKT.week are made possible thanks to the support of Innoviris, the Humanistisch Verbond and all our partners.
Discover the complete programme of the weKONEKT.week 2023.
Lynn Tytgat, coordinator weKONEKT.brussels: [email protected], 0485 11 19 29