logo

weKONEKT.brussels

Starting this academic year VUB and ULB are launching a new concept: weKONEKT.brussels. Home court advantage for both universities all over the city with our students invading Brussels for their classes.

 

“How we approach knowledge and studying has to be rethought completely”

Over the past years Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have built a strong bond with Brussels on the crossroads between education, research, society and art. In the academic year 2017-2018 they want to further expand that relationship. From now on VUB and ULB play home games all over the city, under the brand-new flag: weKONEKT.brussels, including among other things their very own Brussels City Campus, closer collaboration with numerous cultural institutions and a pop-up university week.

Our students will go out into the entire Brussels Region and follow classes in companies, cultural centers, government institutions, hospitals, courts, sporting clubs, musea, social and international institutions and even prisons. There they will also be taught by people within the organisations, about things they will deal with later in their own professional careers.

Through weKONEKT.brussels we link students with the working field and the complex but fascinating reality of an international city. We will look at this from multiple angles:

  • BRUSSELS CITY CAMPUS: studying in the city, studying with the city at famous and lesser-known places.
  • ART&SCIENCE: art and science both originate from a reflection on society. We immerse ourselves in that understanding, together with various cultural institutions.
  • POP-UP UNIVERSITY WEEK: the week prior to the spring break all courses will discover and occupy the city. We go off campus in droves.

 

“All major issues converge in Brussels. Staying on the sidelines is not an option.”

Building bridges, taking up commitment

With weKONEKT.brussels VUB and ULB want to truly highlight the diversity and plurality of Brussels. We build bridges across disciplines, sectors, communities and cultures.

The future belongs to cities. It actually also starts there. As a university in the capital of Europe we commit ourselves to help shape that future. Our students, professors and researchers offer their expertise to strengthen Brussels by providing answers to its cosmopolitan, social challenges.

weKONEKT.brussels revolves around sustainable collaboration in the city. With future-oriented entrepreneurs, passionate people from social organisations, the cultural sector and the government. Together we mold our students into ambassadors for Brussels, critical citizens and true leaders of the future.

 

Caroline Pauwels

Caroline Pauwels, rector of Vrije Universiteit Brussel:

“weKONEKT.brussels is one big encouragement to discover the city and urbanity. In conversations with parents, alumni and students it struck me that they truly experience it as a statement to study in the capital. Choosing for Brussels is already a brave decision, often against the current. And so these students can fully emerge themselves into the city.”

 

Paul Dujardin

Paul Dujardin, art historian and general manager of the Center for Fine Arts BOZAR:

“BOZAR and VUB/ULB have already built a strong connection on the crossroads between art, research and society with initiatives such as Crosstalks or Difference Day. With weKONEKT.brussels we take that connection even further. BOZAR wants to be a natural learning spot for students, a laboratory for the society of tomorrow.”

 

Jamie Shea

Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges and Director of the new MA in Global Peace, Security and Strategic Studies at Vesalius College, Vrije Universiteit Brussel:

“Brussels as a learning center is somewhat unique. It is the center of the action. Students here are in the policy making hub with access to NATO, to the EU, to the think tank community, to all the international media. It’s one stop shopping allowing them to be an observer and participant while big events are being played out. Students get to be taught by both academics and professionals who are inside. Students here will have a leg in the future career they want to pursue.”

 

Hans Waege

Hans Waege, Director of the Belgian National Orchestra:

"The 'Belgian' in our name stands for a constructive interaction with diversity, it stands for an identity that sees multiplicity as a strength, as an enrichment and as a unique invitation to work together at the future. As a symphonic orchestra we stand for the delicate balance between individual freedom and collective results, from within the variety of strong personalities with different backgrounds. The project weKONEKT.brussels fits that philosophy and identity perfectly. The Belgian National Orchestra therefore joins it wholeheartedly.
 

In the city

Whether we would be welcome for a minimum of 13 weeks, close to the Ravensteingalerij? That is the question we asked a large number of corporations, cultural institutions and other organisations in the heart of Brussels.

Our intention? To set up well-known and hidden spots in the inner city as college rooms or working spaces, so that students could invade the city and follow classes during a whole semester. On their way there: see Brussels, experience it and fall in love with it.

The Brussels City Campus will stretch out across the entire city. The spaces of BOZAR in the Ravensteingalerij function as a fixed base camp of our city campus.  The new city auditorium in the heart of Brussels will host fixed classes, debates and symposia throughout the academic year. Aside for the Center for Fine Arts, there are collaborations with Muntpunt, NMBS, Beursschouwburg, Brussels Info Place, Belfius, the BELvue museum, Cinematek, the Belgian National Orchestra, MIVB, VBO, Syntra en many more.

The result of our call? So many generous donations of famous, less-known and even downright surprising infrastructure. Discover all the places where city and university meet each other this academic year.

 

With the city

What if organisations want to share not only their infrastructure, but also their experience, talent and vision with our students? Then you get studying in the city, studying with the city. Because konekt.brussels not only centers around the discovery of Brussels, but also around exploring the vast knowledge base that our capital hosts within its city limits.

Bringing that knowledge to our students - or better yet, bringing our students to that knowledge - results in quite a bit of added value. konekt.brussels strengthens our efforts to break down the walls between academic education and the (future) workplace.

Curious how this studying in and with the city might look? Have a closer look at the cases below, because obviously this is not something new at VUB:

 

BRUTUS

The BRUTUS-project is a student tutoring project of the Brussels University Association whereby student tutors from higher education (Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Erasmushogeschool Brussel) are used to offer learning support to small groups of disadvantaged kids, students with migration backgrounds and/or a high drop-out risk from the Dutch speaking secondary education in Brussels. They counsel these kids for two hours every week at no cost. Goal is to improve their success rates in high school and increase their chances of attending higher education.

Aside from these targets for the high school pupils, the project has specific objectives for the student tutors also. The project aims to accustom the student tutors, as potentially future teachers or workers in Brussels or other metropolitan cities, with the specific needs and challenges of multicultural and multilingual major cities, in this case Brussels. The student tutors get a chance to further develop their pedagogical and social skills by completing a tutoring path with youngsters in a relatively safe and guided context.

 

Visits to European and international institutions as well as corporations

Institute for European Studies at VUB organises various study visits to European and international institutions and companies for students. Students will e.g. attend classes at the European Parliament, the European Commission, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Airbus group and the European External Action Service.

 

Redelijk Eigenzinnig. Contemplating about Man and Society

Redelijk Eigenzinnig. Contemplating about Man and Society is a multilingual and interdisciplinary elective course for students and a lecture/activity cycle for a broader audience. It wants to spark critical reflection on major societal issues. It wants to bridge the gap between the academic world, professional life and the public sphere. The public activities take place at various locations in Brussels and are freely accessible to everyone who is interested.

 

Railway Technology

For the course ‘Railway Technology’, for master students of vehicle technology & transportation, VUB and ULB joined forces with Infrabel, the infrastructure operator of Belgian Rail.

Due to this partnership, experienced industrialists will regularly visit our campus, while our students get access to the Brussels’ locations and installations of Infrabel.

Video coming soon.

 

ARTS&SCIENCE

Art and science both originate from critical thinking. They both want to understand the world as it is, as well as help shape the world as it could be. Artists and academics also share a very similar process, albeit from radically different frames of reference.

ART&SCIENCE breaks down the walls between those frames of reference. VUB and ULB will work together more intensely with the internationally highly esteemed art scene in Brussels.

What will come from that cooperation? For now that remains an open question, one that artists and scientist eagerly sink their teeth in. One thing is for sure: the results will consequently shake up the frames of reference of spectators drastically.

That spectator is not only the student or academic. ART&SCIENCE wants to share the findings of this dance between artists and scientist with as wide an audience as possible. And in various ways:

  • KVS and VUB will intensely work together? That will stir up some controversy. Especially if artists and academics storm the stage together. MINDBLOWERS will be the name, ‘resistance’ the first theme. The cultural institution and university will collectively kick off the cultural and academic years together.
  • Also under the flag of konekt.brussels: Crosstalks, a widely appreciated program of profound dialogues between and about the worlds of science, economics, art and technology. In Brussel? Naturally. Bien sûr. Of course.
  • Ask away. Speak freely. Or not? A free press and freedom of expression are fundamental yet still not self-evident rights. Difference Day is here to help.

Getting as many people off campus simultaneously? That is our goal in the week before the spring break. Because from March 26th to 30th we take Brussels by storm. Every course will decide for itself when and why it will set up in shop in Brussels in that week.

A short but powerful initiative to underline that konekt.brussels is both a personal and collective exploratory journey. As well as a warm embrace of metropolitan Brussels.

 

Why

Without partners willing to take the plunge, no weKONEKT.brussels. Every experiment starts with action and creates reaction. Our genuine thanks to those who answered our call.

The starting point of our collaboration: you do not have to agree on everything to both want what’s best for Brussels. Especially if that shared commitment helps young people discover the city. And stimulates education and research too.

For all our partners konekt.brussels is also the perfect way to present themselves to future talent and to submit their projects to the critical but also open-minded view of these young turks.

 

What

Some organisations donated a space where classes can take place during a whole semester. Others went further still and offered to share from knowledge and expertise from their own context in these classes.

Finally we joined multiple cultural institutions in a cross-pollination we call ART&SCIENCE. What that collaboration is to result in, is not defined at the outset. Only that we wish to share the results with any and all that are interested in them. Student or not, academic or not. Everyone is welcome.