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International students stand up for Humanities in light of budget cuts

Marta Campa,
24 januari 2019 - 10:35

‘Sound in Action’ gathers academics and artists to reflect on the importance of the Humanities and to experiment with an alternative transmission of humanistic knowledge. Folia spoke to two of the project’s initiators. ‘Music is often left out when we talk about the importance of the humanities.’


‘Sound in Action’ is a response to the fact no one was talking about the important role of music in the debates about the mooted budget cuts to higher education, according to António Maria Cartaxo and Ieva Gudaitytė, two of its initiators. António: ‘By organising these events we aim to show the kinds of things we do at the musicology department and how this is valuable in our everyday. Our message is that music shouldn’t be forgotten, even if it’s not something you can put a price on like a product in the capitalist environment.’


There are many examples of how music plays a role in every day society, Ieva tells us. ‘Think about the rhythmic nature of protests. Or the South Korean protest songs about unification of the Koreas. Or how in Lithuania, where I come from, rock ‘n roll music is considered a reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union.’

‘I come to the Netherlands for a one year master’s but it was never my intention to just get my degree and move on. I care about integration’

‘Sound in Action’ is supported by academic institutions like ASCA and the UvA Musicology department and by the WO in Action movement. The series will consist of three nights of debates, music and performances for which speakers and artists from different background will contribute to the main themes of ‘music and protest’, ‘music and migration’ and ‘urban spaces, crisis and music’


Why are these international students so committed to Dutch higher education? Ieva: ‘I think it’s increasingly difficult to talk about one country without talking about them all. I’m from Lithuania, did my undergrad studies in Scotland and now I’m here. I feel like I’m part of the academic community.’ According to Ieva, a lot of people leave Lithuania to study abroad. ‘I come to the Netherlands for a one year master’s but it was never my intention to just get my degree and move on. I care about integration. I want to learn the language. I work at CREA. We’re trying to challenge this in/out mentality among students. University isn’t just a service.’


Music and protest 

On Wednesday evening during the launch event, professor Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and activist musician Mavi Veloso discussed the topic ‘music and protest’. The idea of the series is to mix together intellectual discussion, music and performances in order to present academic knowledge to a broader audience. Ieva: ‘We want to break down university walls.’


The second meeting of Sound in Action is planned on 7 February in Studie Yalla at the Derde Kostverlorenkade in Amsterdam. You can find more information here.