We met with Anne Karen at the AvP. She gave us a few details on start dates, and told us how different the Academy is to all other universities, but we still felt a little in the dark about what we will actually be doing there! We had a few days before we started our first week, so We decided to travel a little around the Netherlands. We caught a train to Arnhem, then visited Dieren and Nijmegen which gave us a chance to take some photos, see some sights, and practice speaking a little Dutch. Photos can be found on my photography blog under 'Trip two'.
Beginning of Winter Break! 27.02.17
Having only had 3 days of uni, we then had a week off! With no idea of how grading works, what we needed to prepare (other than answering a few questions about our project) and having found out that we got into the production house we wanted, we went travelling! We left early on Friday morning, and got a train to Ghent, Belgium.
Day 2- 18.02.17
We went to Gravensteen castle in the morning on Saturday, before getting a train to Bruges, Belgium. We spent the day there, went on a boat around the city before getting another train to Lille, France late in the evening.
Day 5- 21.02.17
Day 5 we spent time in 3 countries in one day! Woke up in Lille, France; spent the day in Tournai, Belgium, then had dinner and got to our hostel in Cologne, Germany for the evening!
Day 6- 22.02.17
Spent the Day in Cologne, Germany. Had a walking tour before going up the triangle and then visiting the love lock bridge. We got a train to Dusseldorf, Germany for the evening.
Day 7- 23.02.17
Spent the day in Dusseldorf, having not realised that it was Carnival! It was very busy, with a lot of drinking. We spent a little time having a look around, but didn't fit in without the costumes! We found food (no idea what I ate but it was very tasty and and as big as my head!) We then found a really great car showroom inside an old roundhouse on the outskirts.
We met everyone there, worked out what to buy, and decided that I was cooking for everyone, then went to a shop to buy supplies. We went for a walk around the countryside, all stood on a bird watching platform discussing art and culture and different societies. We all came back and worked on our projects before I cooked everyone dinner and we ate around the table together. After dinner, we finished off our mini projects, and met in another room to show our work. I had been playing around with different styles of digital drawing.
We drove home in the morning after breakfast, Jace and I were both exhausted but had 'Dinner with the Mayor' that evening. It turned out to be a fairly strange affair, we both dressed up, but it was a talk about Leeuwarden for international students, followed by a trip up the Oldehove, then for pancakes on the Pannekoekschip. It was a nice evening.
I spent the rest of the week trying to figure out the competences and core tasks I wanted to be assessed on, and helping to make scenes for animation, pretty proud of our factory!
Week 6 at AvP- 20.03.17
This week, we looked at our work in different contexts in Stroom. Adri also looked at my core tasks and competences, it turns out they were wrong so I need to re- do them now that I understand. I'm stressing out a little, I haven't been able to start my projects yet because I didn't understand what they needed to be assessed on, so i now have 2 weeks to create 2 concepts with 2 full portfolios.... We made robots in the animation lab!
Week 7 at AvP- 27.03.17
This week, I finally started working on my first project-
My EDS art piece.
A 3 minute video piece which can be shared on social media. The piece will be a mixed media project, with a projection mapping illustrating spoken word poetry about HSD, Chronic pain, invisible disabilities, and the social perception of it. The projection will be projected onto the speaker’s body or parts of the speaker’s body. The aim is to raise awareness of the condition and other invisible disabilities, to give viewers an insight into what it is like for sufferers.
In the production house, I did my presentation on my project for feedback. Every week, we do a 'Throw your shit on the table' session where we discuss what we have done that week, but twice a semester, we have to do a presentation to the group. Mine went well and I got some really great feedback from everyone.
Wednesday afternoon, we started to animate our robots, and got the factory scene animated. We set up 3 animation stations and got to work!
International dinner at our flat Friday. Everyone brought dishes from their home country, and we all shared food. Jason and I made a good old Eton Mess which went down a treat.
Jace and I went to Groningen on the Saturday to visit a photography gallery which had just opened. We then visited the Groninger Museum, it was a nice day out!
We left around 6am and traveled 10 hours by train to Lucerne, Switzerland. It was breathtaking. We spent the afternoon and evening around the lake, taking in the beauty of the place.
Day Two- 23.04.17
We spent Sunday in Lucerne too, and after walking around the lake for the morning, we rented a powerboat and took it out on the lake. Jason and I were both speechless. Neither of us could believe we were here, doing this, and all off of our own backs. It was a very special moment, one I will never forget. We were in such an incredible place, doing something we couldn't have dreamed of.
After that amazing hour, we got a bus out to a lift which took us up to the top of Mt. Pilatus. The views were so stunning, we were on the edge of the Alps.
Day Three- 24.04.17
We got a train to Lugano, Switzerland. Another stunning lake, I really didn't want to leave Switzerland. We drank lake water in both Lucerne and Lugano.
We then got a train to Verona, Italy for the night, and stayed in a strange, sea themed B&B.
Day Four- 25.04.17
Spent the day in Verona, A beautiful city with rich colours. We spent the day exploring the city, and had some amazing food in a wonderful little Italian restaurant.
Day Five- 26.04.17
I spent the day in Venice, Italy alone as Jason was ill, it was certainly a new experience exploring alone! Venice was like a maze, but I found my way out eventually!
Day Six- 27.04.17
We got a Train to Pisa! We decided we had to do the tourist ting while we were here...
Day Seven- 28.04.17
Rome! We got a train from Pisa to Rome, and stayed in a hostel overnight before spending the day absorbing the history. Such a big city, but very touristy.
When we landed back in the Netherlands, we took an unplanned detour to Rotterdam for the afternoon, and hired some very wobbly bikes!
This trip was amazing, such beautiful places, I didn't want to leave Switzerland, and would love to go back. Certainly a trip I will never forget.
Week 11 at AvP- 01.05.17
This week in the production house we made a plan for the block, both what we wanted to do in the production house, and for our projects.
Friday Jason and I went to a festival in the city which was really cool, some great live music!
The production house this week was a field trip to Groningen, to meet two guys who were living in a shipping container by an old sugar factory, and were living off of the land. They explained what they were doing in Dutch while we drank a kind of tea we had to make from branches. Elsalie translated for us.
We then went out forraging for food with the guys, before making nettle soup, pesto, and cooking some of the other plants we gathered! I met some great people, and got thrown into an odd situation with everyone, which was a lot of fun. the pesto was amazing too!
Jason and I were also invited to a Jam night by Justin, so we spent the evening listening to some amazing live music. One thing I'm realising about Leeuwarden is that every corner, there are new creative opportunities. It is such an experience being surrounded by such a talented and artistic group of people.
Week 14 at AvP- 22.05.17
Wednesday's production house was our Do Day this week. Everyone used the time to work on their projects in class, which meant that others could input ideas and help during the process. I helped Ymkje with making her tattoo illustrations symmetrical using Illustrator, and Elsalie helped me with projections while i was testing out projection surfaces. The ability to discuss with others is something I've found so helpful at the AvP, it's something I don't feel we do enough of generally.
On the Saturday, Leeuwarden held the Straatfestivaal, which was similar to the 'Out There' festival held in my home town, but with live music too. Lots of street performance during the day, followed by some great live music into the night.
Week 15 at AvP- 29.05.17
I spent the week creating my own projection visuals this week, it took a lot of long hours. I also filmed Elsalie's first performance for her graduation piece to document her work, which was additionally great experience for filming my own projections at a later date, and a chance for me to learn what looks good on camera, and how to manage my light levels.
After the production house wednesday, I went to the Oldehove to film my location for my sculpture project. I also created my sculpture in Maya, and painted it using Substance Painter. A very productive week!
Week 16 at AvP- 05.06.17
No production house Wednesday, but I finished my sculpture in-situ, and it is ready to be exported. I also finished my draft animation for my EDS project at last, I worked hours and hours on it!
Friday, Jason and I went to Amsterdam early in the morning to meet friends from home. We met them, and went to a museum in the red light district, before going to the top of the A'dam building, and going on the highest swing in Europe, 100m off of the ground. It was so much fun, I wanted to go again the second I got off of it.
We said goodbye to Lewis, Lydia, and Sophie at the station, before getting the train to Zwolle. We spent time in the park having food after looking around the city, before heading home. It was so lovely to see friends from uni and spend time with them!
Week 17 at AvP- 12.06.17
On Tuesday, I filmed the first attempt of my EDS project. I painted myself entirely white, and projected onto my body, recording the project along the way. It came out better than I expected, but didn't have a professional finish to it. It took me 4 hours to peel the paint off of myself before I could shower!
Wednesday was the production house, and my main presentation of the block. I showed my EDS project, and got lots of great, very critical feedback. There were many things mentioned, such as the shininess of the paint, and the angles used. One of the most important things came from Adri "it looks like a document of a performance, rather than a film piece." He was right. It was a group decision that I needed to re-shoot, and use more camera angles. It meant that I was also able to tidy up some of the parts of the animation I didn't like on the first take. I went to Space Lab after to get some feedback from the space and performance side, they mirrored what had been said in the production house, and helped me with angle ideas.
Saturday, Jason and I went to the dance festival for more live music, and we rode bikes which you pedaled upside down!
We also went to the cat cafe again for one last time!
Friday was our PopCultura (End of block show). We arrived early to set up, lots of people installing such a variety of projects.
The show was busier than I expected, I had people coming to me often to tell me they loved the piece. Live music, Adri was cooking food with electricity, and people sharing their creations with the rest of the school, as well as the public.
Loes had a small studio setup, she's so talented, and I admire what she does with her limitations. She has been a great help in creating my EDS project, as she suffers from EDS herself.
We stayed the night, and got a train to Walibi Holland (a theme park) on Thursday. We got very wet!
After Uni Travels- 08.07.17
So, Jason and I decided to make the most of things and travel some more! Saturday, we traveled to Schipol airport, for our flight to Budapest. After long delays, and the computer system going down twice, our flight was canceled. Many issues with the airline later, we had no option but to sleep on the airport floor, as advised by the manager!
Day Three- 12.07.17
Wednesday, we got a train out to Vienna, Austria for the day and spent time admiring the huge buildings, before travelling back to our hostel in Budapest in the evening.
Day Four- 13.07.17
Another day trip Thursday! This time to Tata, Hungary which was stunning, and so different. We found man made ice caves, and ruins, as well as going out into the more run-down residential areas. I'm so glad we went to some smaller places, and not just big cities.
Day Six- 15.07.17
Our last day in Budapest, and Jason and I visited the Basilica. We went up to the top to see the views, and spent the morning soaking in as much of this wonderful city as possible until we had to fly back to the Netherlands in the Evening.
A few days rest! Spent the time tying up loose ends in the Netherlands, sending home luggage, un-registering as a citizen, closing bank accounts. It's quiet in the flat, everything is coming to an end, and I want to stay longer. Jason's parents came to visit, and I cooked them dinner Wednesday night to thank them for all their help while we have been here.
On Thursday, Jason, his parents and I went on a little day trip to Giethoorn, 'the Venice of the Netherlands'. It was a little village with rivers instead of roads. We hired a boat for a couple of hours and Jason and I drove it around, it was a quaint little place.
We went back to Leeuwarden, and went out for dinner at a lovely restaurant.
We spent the day in Leeuwarden, Jason hired a boat as our final goodbye to such a cultural little city. Jason and I drove the boat, which was quite an experience dealing with boat traffic, bridges, and tunnels! This experience has given me a lot more confidence to jump into anything head first. I've learnt that you can't pass up opportunities just because they intimidate you, you just have to grab it with both hands and take it on.