Photographer:Fotograaf: archief Zicht op Maastricht
Media Culture students make documentary about Maastricht
MAASTRICHT. When the two Media Culture master’s students arrived in Maastricht last August, one thing struck both of them: “Walking through the streets, we saw many students and a lot of elderly people. The group in between is notably absent.” Curious about the people and the city, Christine Spiteri (who did a bachelor’s in Psychology in Malta) and Hazal Orhon (who did a bachelor’s in Visual Communication and Design in Turkey and film workshops in New York) are now making a documentary film on Maastricht and its cultural identity. It will be part of the cultural biography project Zicht op Maastricht.
“Our interests match perfectly”, says Spiteri. “The first few months of my stay in Maastricht I lived in an international student bubble. Now I want to bridge the gap between students and the city. I want to get to know the soul of the city through the people who live here.” Orhon knew from the moment she arrived that she wanted to “investigate something about Maastricht”.
While Orhon knows how to film, Spiteri has the interviewing skills. Over the last month they interviewed 10 people with very different backgrounds: from students to real Maastrichtenaren. “We wanted to see Maastricht through their eyes; we were looking for different perspectives and asked them to describe Maastricht to an outsider.” One thing is now clear to them: the mix of elderly and young people gives Maastricht its unique character, its identity. What’s more, newcomers describe the city as “cosy” and “peaceful”. “They feel at home very easily here”, smiles Orhon. “Just as I did. I felt at home right away, it’s so peaceful here. I’m so happy I’m here.” As for the older people, the students observed “a sense of pride” in their stories about their lives in Maastricht. “The dialect is important for them. It’s a way of keeping their identity now the city is becoming more and more international.” At the same time, they are positive about the international students who come to Maastricht. “It makes the city alive, they say. Of course they also see the nuisance, but at the end of the day they think it’s okay.”
In autumn the documentary will be published on ZichtopMaastricht.nl, a site that tells the history of the city and its inhabitants through stories, pictures, films, exhibitions, lectures, etc.