Extra-Mundus Activities

I promise I’m not just drinking and being irresponsible in airports.

Outside of the Erasmus Mundus Journalism program, there is a lot going on.  There is a running joke in the group about the chia pet-like growth of Facebook groups about everything from football to cooking to photojournalism; at a meeting I had earlier this week, there was a collective groan about the creation of another.  But so far, the existing groups have been quite useful to get people together around common interests, and to decompress from hours of respatialization (and now world order) and to just have some fun.

Despite the seemingly endless influx of party and travel photos (of which I am equally guilty, so guilty), the Mundus students stay pretty busy. Some of us have jobs, volunteer work, kids (one being of the furry variety), and an interest in sleep.  There are photo societies and film competitions and freelancing opportunities to hone our skills.  One organization several of us are a part of is Jutland Station, and earlier this week we had the chance to explore one of Aarhus’s best and worst kept secrets: Godsbanen.

First, Jutland Station.  Jutland Station is an online magazine aimed at expats and internationals here in Aarhus, Denmark.   I work as the Photography Editor, along with several other volunteers who work in areas like Culture, Research, and Business.  While we have plenty of opportunity to contribute ourselves, one of our main functions as editors is to bring in contributors both from the Mundus programme and the general community.

This past Friday, I went to Godsbanen’s young venue, Radar, to shoot photos for an article about Norwegian electro-pop artist Emilie Nicolas.  The opening band was an Aarhus-local group called LOWLY who, for the record, were stellar.  After more people began showing up for the shows, I truly felt like I wasn’t quite stylish enough to be there — the writer with me commented that it seemed like the hipsters were there to see their queen.  She had a great voice and is definitely talented, but her genre isn’t exactly my favourite cup of tea.  I will say I did particularly enjoy this song.

The lights stayed quite dark (I know shows are usually dark, but I mean it was dark) for the whole thing, and while the blue lights were trained on LOWLY through their whole set, Emilie Nicolas had a much more dynamic light show, though the near-darkness outside the stage certainly made for a challenge for some decent photos.

See a gallery of my shots from this gig here.

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We have weekly meetings with Jutland Station, and while most of them have been at the Studenterhus at Aarhus University’s campus (with some sweet perks like free regular coffee and teas), we will likely be meeting mostly at Godsbanen from now on.

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Godsbanen (GODS- rhyming with SNOWS, BAN like the A in APPLE, EN like you think) is called the “multidisciplinary cultural focal point [of] Aarhus,” home to workshops, stages, conference rooms, a cafe, and other facilities geared towards the promotion and production of art.  Built in 1923, it originally served as the main hub for freight trains in the Jutland region of Denmark until 2000.  Between 2010 and 2012, the site was renovated to be the new “cultural production center” of Aarhus.

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The building itself is interesting, a mix of the old train depot and new post-modern design.  The roof is reminiscent of a sinking ship, and you can even walk on it!  (Though I strongly advise against wearing heels when doing so.)  While any place even remotely similar to this in the States would probably feel elitist and foreboding, Godsbanen gives off a totally different vibe: you actually feel welcome.

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Maybe it’s a bit of that good ol’ Danish hyggelig, but by the end of the tour we were all joking about moving in to the offices on the upper floors.  There are so many available work spaces for every denomination of art: woodworking, sewing, screen printing, leather working, analog photography darkrooms, printing spaces, ceramics studios with glazes and kilns, even equipment for bookmaking.  There are creative writing workshops and always professionals and artisans hanging around willing to give some advice.

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If you want more specific information about what Godsbanen offers, and you’re handy with Google translate, check out their website here.

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