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Raising awareness with tea and cookies

Raising awareness with tea and cookies

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

A group of seven gathers in a tight circle, balancing coffee mugs and cookies on their laps, on Monday evening in the new building of the InnBetween Student Chaplaincy on Capucijnenstraat 122. Beneath paintings entitled Life, Process of Life, and Flow of Life, they sit discussing the artwork as well as topics that reach far beyond the scope of any brush technique. This is the first day of InnBetween’s Connect Festival, and artist Yvonne Goertz opens it with an introduction to her artistic endeavours, which she pursues alongside her PhD research.

Goertz sees her art, from painting to nature photography, as a form of self-expression necessary to balance out the mainly theoretical focus of her research. “Being in nature helps me appreciate the small things in life,” she says, whether that be as simple as “sitting in a group and just discussing things” or finding a few flowers in an industrial area. Likewise the festival itself. In Goertz’s view, by raising awareness and promoting personal development, it helps to strengthen one’s “core values,” in turn allowing the participants to “flourish, and connect with the things that are good for you.”

University chaplain Petra Kai Körmendy agrees. In her view, individuals must seek connections in three dimensions: first with yourself, then with other people, and thirdly, “with the transcendent.” Accordingly, she says, despite the practical aim of the Connect Festival – to serve as the launch event for InnBetween’s new location – its philosophical aim also shines through: to help students connect with one another, the chaplains and the organisation as a whole.

In keeping with the focus on the arts, the discussion was followed by a concert by Maastricht based trio Bayou (formerly known as Mokaji Bayou). The small audience, fidgety up to that point, welcomed the band enthusiastically, tapping their feet and swaying along to the basement-jazzy tunes.

Finally, professional belly-dancer Nataliia Kysil added another splash of colour to the evening with her rhinestone-speckled costume. After a performance to the dizzyingly fast beat of drums, she distributed colourful scarves decorated with jingling coins and invited the participants to take part in a workshop to learn the basics of this choreographed cardio workout.

Amira Eid

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