Friday, March 28, 2008

BPN 1051 Media aan de Maas offcially opened

There was a party in Rotterdam yesterday. The old sailors’ school in Rotterdam was re-purposed for digital media education, named Media on the Maas (river Meuse). In the building three courses into one media cluster are taught: communication and media design, Graphics media technology and Communication Digital Media.

It is a beautiful building, dating back to 1916. Seamen and sailors were educated there. It is a characteristic building with a tall tower, which was intended for observation of the starts, a discipline for former seamen, and a captain's bridge In front façade small terracotta medallions can be found, while the entry reminds people of a rock coast with beacons. By 1990 dilapidation of the building set in and it took a while before a new destination could be found. Media aan de Maas is now in the heart of creative arts and digital media area. The theatre school is in the neighbourhood; the music education centre is next door. And on the old harbour grounds a digital media house has been built. Besides the classes and lectures hall, the building has been adapted for digital media work with spaces for iMacs, a studio for photography and video.

The idea for the renovation of this building was conceived in 2005. By the end of that year I was on a trip to Finland with people from Universities of Applied Science, among which people from the HRO University of Applied Science in Rotterdam. Also the new managing direct and building responsible, Elsemiek Heins (see photograph) was present. We had talks about the building and longer talks about the possible integration of the three courses. And yesterday it was all reality. The building has been in use since September 2007 and the bringing together of the courses has been completed, while the real integration is coming on steam.

The school is also in dialogue with companies in and around Rotterdam. This has led already to an intensive co-operation between the Thieme GrafiMedia Group and Media aan de Maas. Together they are setting up Thieme Medialab, which will provide students with working experience in multidisciplinary projects. In Thieme Medialab research, concept development and realisations of prototypes will be done. One of the first assignments will be the creation of a portal for the buying and sale of modern art.

Spencer Kelly, presenter of the BBC programme Click On was the key-note speaker at the official opening of the Media aan de Maas building at the Pieter de Hoochweg. He basically addressed the students by telling them that they should start thinking 10 years ahead. Referring to the founders of Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, he noted that all those people were just out of university and had already made so much money, that they never could consume it during their lifetime. Using trends like music, he showed that in most cases there was a paradigm change involved. So the students should start thinking ahead and look for opportunities to change patterns or business. Spencer hoped that by the time the students had set up their company, lived in a big mansion and had a private jet, they would come to pick him up for a ride.

Blog Posting Number 1051

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