Art by and for students: ‘A matter of priority.’

29 May 2019

‘Why the hell not’, Sönke Linnemann, Adrian Breit and Martin Wimmers thought as they decided to host an art symposium. In three months, they have set up Symposium Synesthesia, an open platform for students to present their art.

On Wednesday morning, the Global Lounge is empty except for a student sitting in front of a laptop and three stressed-out psychology students from Germany. They are in the middle of organising an art event for students called Symposium Synesthesia, which takes place this Wednesday. Sönke Linnemann, one of the three organisers, shares the story behind the event.

Symposium Synesthesia, what does that mean?

‘Synesthesia is a psychological phenomenon where different sensory experiences overlap. People with synesthesia can hear colours or smell music. As psychology students, we decided to use it as a metaphor. We want to create a place where there is art for different senses at the same time.

‘The setting of Symposium Synesthesia will be filled with photography and painting. In between, there will be live acts like music performances, a comedy ensemble and even sushi preparation. Anything involving passion and creativity is allowed.’

Why organise such an event?

‘It started with the idea of combining music and photography into one event, thinking “why the hell not?” From there, it grew into a more distinct goal as we started including more art forms. The further we got, the more students told us they would like to present their work. That has happened quite a lot in the past few weeks, so there seems to be a demand for our symposium.

‘It would be great if we could help people step out of their comfort zone’

‘We think art should get a lot more appreciation than it currently does, especially among students. We often don’t have enough time to focus on creative things: our main task is to be a student. For us, art is often just as important. It also deserves a time and place to be expressed.’

Should you not be studying?

‘I should. Now I’m worried my mother might read this.’

‘When you organise something like this, people often tell you they don’t have time. I don’t think anyone has time for any project – it’s always a question of priority. The same goes for art.’

What would you like to achieve?

‘I hope people go beyond just looking at art and talk to each other about it to broaden their horizon. Besides that, it would be great if we can encourage even a few artists to step out of their comfort zone and present their art. Think of a musician sharing their work on YouTube, or a beginning photographer sending in pictures for an exhibition.’

What is it like to host an event in Nijmegen as a German student?

‘I’ve been studying here for almost two years now, so the environment is not new to me anymore, but there have been some obstacles for me as an international student. None of us speaks fluent Dutch so we had to do all of it in English, which has worked out pretty well so far. That is a great thing about Nijmegen: people speak English here who I would never expect to speak English in Germany.’

‘Also, only a few Dutch people are involved in this project. We are proud of being diverse, but we don’t want to exclude them.’

Symposium Synesthesia takes place in Filmhuis042 on May 29th starting 19:00. Entrance fee for students is €3,00.

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