After NYU Berlin’s Director introduced herself in the previous Berlin Blog, it’s now time for the Academic Life team to do the same. The Academics team is made up of Dr. Katrin Dettmer (Arts Coordinator & Faculty), Dr. Roland Pietsch (Assistant Director for Academics) and Julia Rogers (Program Assistant Academics), who will introduce themselves this week, and the German Language team (which you will meet in three Blogs time):
As Assistant Director for Academic Programs, Roland Pietsch coordinates NYU Berlin’s academic program and is your point of contact for any issue you have with your choice of courses, your professors or even with good old Albert. As Academic Program Assistant, Julia Rogers supports Roland in these areas and runs NYU Berlin’s small library. If you have questions about using the Humboldt University library or other Berlin libraries for your research, Julia is also happy to assist you. NYU Berlin’s professors and courses will be new to you, so we urge you to make use of our course presentations that conclude Orientation Week, when you will meet all professors, can grill them about their courses over dinner, and then make an informed choice during the drop/add period. Furthermore, Roland and Julia can also give you guidance on how to audit or even enroll (if you stay in Berlin for longer) for courses at Berlin’s Humboldt University. Roland’s and Julia’s office is in our main academic center in the Kulturbrauerei, right next to the Student Life office, and you can drop in any time you are around.
Katrin Dettmer is the Arts Coordinator for NYU Berlin and your guide to Berlin’s varied and exciting art scene. During the spring semester, she coordinates the Tisch special program, Stanislavsky, Brecht, and Beyond, which offers an integrated approach to actor training, including movement, voice, rigorous actor oriented dramaturgical research, and attendance of several contemporary productions in Berlin, including the F.I.N.D. Festival at the Schaubühne. While students are taught by faculty from the world-renowned Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Berlin University of Arts, Katrin serves as the connecting point for all individual studio classes. She also teaches a class on 20th century German theater and coordinates Q&As with actors, directors, and dramaturgs in Berlin. Katrin is also your point of contact for art projects and specifically the end of semester exhibition. Additionally, Katrin is your on-site source for any queries in academic writing. You can find Katrin’s office at St. Agnes campus in Kreuzberg, which is very close to the student residence, so please drop by.
Blogging about academic advising is probably not the most exciting read, so we thought we rather tell you about the other bits that we do beyond academic coordinating.
Katrin’s academic endeavors center around German Studies and Theater Studies with a strong focus on German theater of 20th and 21st century. She is particularly fascinated by the way historical developments and debates in society influence the function of theater as a space of public discourse, which cannot only be traced in the content of plays, but also in the continuous development of aesthetics for the stage. This phenomenon is also very true of theater in the GDR, although one may easily believe that due to censorship processes and cultural programming the theater, like the other arts, was merely a vehicle for propaganda. But theater makers like Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller were very resourceful in creating layers of meaning that provided critique not only of the system itself but also of German history and society. This political heritage can still be felt in Berlin theaters today, to varying degrees, while there is a constant search for new forms and interaction with the audience. Katrin has been working as a dramaturg both in the US and in Germany for many years and so she is also very invested in the realities of making theater by finding plays and approaches that will captivate the audience as much as they will inspire debate. For her, the rehearsal room as such is one of her favorite places on the planet, as it offers the possibility to work together in a creative team, test ideas, think big, and also fail, all in order to present a work that could have only been created in this way through collaboration.
Prior to joining NYU Berlin, Julia taught English as a Foreign Language in Berlin, at Brown University and in Washington, DC. She holds a M.Ed. in Intercultural Education from the Free University, Berlin where her academic focus was on adult literacy and language acquisition. Having spent time as both a student and teacher in the US and Germany, she looks forward to supporting you in your academic endeavors while at NYU Berlin. As a German-American Berliner, Julia hopes that you will enjoy the city’s unique, sometimes brusque, character as you explore its past and present while making it your own new home.
Roland is a historian of the 18th century, more precisely, the social history of sailors and seafaring. It sounds like a far-away time of tall sailing ships, undiscovered islands and one-legged pirates with parrots on their shoulders, yet it is actually not such a far-away world. Most 18th-century sailors were about your age. Their first voyage was what shaped them. It would take months or years till they could see their home shores again. They returned a year later but ten years wiser. Their journeys hadn’t always been plain sailing, at times the weather got rough, the work testing, and their new masters too disciplinarian. At other times their longing for home overcame them. But there were happy times too, times to party, times in which they made new friends, discovered new places and cultures, gathered confidence in their abilities, and learned to see things from a different angle. When they returned they suddenly noticed that they even saw their homes from a different perspective. They had become the world’s first global citizens and had stories to tell their families back home, like the sailor depicted in the illustration.
So there you go, sailor boys and girls, your ship is about to leave New York, Abu Dhabi or Shanghai harbor.