Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Brand new bachelor's of Digital Society
MAASTRICHT. Two guinea pigs appear on the screen in the Gymnasium. “You are now our guinea pigs, or as we say in Dutch proefkonijnen‚” says Sally Wyatt, programme director of the new bachelor's programme of Digital Society at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. “Sometimes, guinea pigs have a hard time and they die.” There is a burst of laughter in the hall. “But we are not going to let that happen to you,” Wyatt grins. On the contrary, dean Sophie Vanhoonacker stated only ten minutes before. “You are our first batch and we will spoil you rotten.”
The atmosphere was immediately set, last Thursday during the faculty introduction of Digital Society, FASoS's third bachelor's programme (alongside Arts & Culture and European Studies). It is an interdisciplinary programme with the aim of providing answers to all kinds of ethical, political, cultural and social matters arising as a result of society's increasing digitalisation. Humanities, social sciences and technical subjects play a major role.
Some sixty to seventy first-year students (20 nationalities) turn up this afternoon, but the final number of registrations is not definite. “We have scheduled six tutorial groups of fifteen students each, whether they will all be full, we will have to wait and see,” it was said.
Clementina Rolando (18) from Rome will certainly be there. Initially, she thought of doing European Studies (ES), but that changed when she discovered Digital Society (DS). “We live in a digital century. This is a beautiful curriculum that is about the future.” She knows Maastricht already - “I love the city,”- through a friend who is studying Arts & Culture here. She is also from Rome.
Joel Guiness (22) from Berlin switched from ES to DS at the last moment. “I had already registered, but then came across DS. I immediately thought: this is for me.” He studied film in Denmark for two semesters and computer sciences in Germany for three semesters. “In the end, I didn't quite see myself developing algorithms for eight hours a day, deciphering codes and creating software. Although that knowledge will come in handy here.” The interdisciplinary aspect of DS appeals to him: the combination of technology, social impact, moral questions, and creativity. “Searching for solutions to social problems such as climate change and poverty.” To continue: “Technology often makes life easier, certainly from a practical point of view, but it doesn't necessarily increase the quality of life and people's happiness. I would like to join those two together.”