research

This page is dedicated to the research interest I have developed in my three years of my undergraduate studies. It will encompass the interdisciplinary nature of my bachelor studies, the academic skills and responsibilities I have developed and taken on, my exchange semester experience, and lastly extracurricular activities that are important to my academic development.

INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES

The Bachelor en Cultures Européennes (translates to: Bachelor in European Culture) already indicates that—while I specialised in English literature and linguistics—the very essence of this bachelor degree is to evoke in the student a interdisciplinary approach, and thus develop a well-rounded and open-minded modus operandi to various fields.

In this process, I discovered a love for literature in various languages.  As a student being born in Luxembourg, one is quite quick to take the variety of languages for granted, but my bachelor degree allowed me to develop an interest in the position of English, German, and Luxembourgish in the Luxembourgish literary landscape. Classes such as Luxembourgish Literatures in English and Ausflich an d’Geschicht vun der Lëtzebuerger Literatur ultimately led me to write a bachelor thesis focused on this; my thesis analyses and contextualizes the portrayal of Luxembourg in Guy Rewenig’s Your Heart of Ice Is Hot As Vice (2016), a recently translated collection of satirical flash fiction. This interest in German and Luxembourgish literature further manifested itself in my 5th semester, in which I spend a semester abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, curiously attending interdisciplinary classes about cultural studies, sociology, and narratology at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität-Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Castle. Picture taken by me.

Furthermore, the University of Luxembourg’s catalogue introduced me to the fields of philosophy, history, psychoanalysis, and much more, essentially allowing me to develop various critical lenses which added to my specialisation track.

It is this interdisciplinary nature of the Bachelor en Cultures Européennes which brought me to further study Luxembourgish literature and its new and emerging prevalence of English as literary language.

ACADEMIC SKILLS AND RESPONSIBILITY

Group work, proper academic writing, debates, and presentations were important elements in my undergraduate degree. Elements which I honed and forged through the three years of repeated usage. Group work allowed me to engage with other students critically, and to create an effective synthesis of a given task in a short amount of time. My English improved exceedingly, and I learned to efficiently apply various writing styles to various assignments, including a distance between academic work and creative work. Debates and presentations showed me that preparation and interaction are successful tools to improve the spoken aspect of English, and I learned that knowing the material in addition to discussions can be beneficial to one’s personal confidence and academic rigour. A rigour that allowed me to develop not only as a student, but also as an academic and a person. A rigour that allowed successful adaptation in a different environment, as I have experienced in my exchange semester in Heidelberg.

Moreover, I was admitted to leading a peer group; I took on the mentor role of a group of first semesters. I helped them in academic, as well as some personal struggles, becoming a point of information and guidance.

I acquired further professional skills as research support for a professor, in which I had the aim of working with a database specialised on British periodicals, analysing, filtering, and cataloguing articles that were of interest for the project. Ultimately, I had to plan my days ahead, organize a proper balance between work and university. It allowed me to develop practical, communicative, and organizational skills, and showed me personal strengths and weaknesses I had to overcome.

Lastly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students (and also professors) had to adapt to a digital every day scenario. I’ve learned to plan my days ahead more proficiently, organize workloads, re-learn technical, digital, and practical skills like video recording and even programming (most of the portfolio has been programmed by me with the aid of HTML, CSS, and the WordPress editor). This pandemic also led to having our bachelor defences online through video recordings, and my work has been acknowledged by the English studies teaching staff, who asked my help in the creation of tutorials for other students.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

While my academic research interest now lies in the multilingual aspect of Luxembourgish literature, my initial motivation to study English was due to genre fiction (I dislike this term, but for the sake of understanding will use it nonetheless). Fantasy and Science-Fiction has played a key role in my development—not only as an academic—but also as an artist. My creative work is genre fiction; retellings of Luxembourgish folklore, magic realism, popular fiction inspired, and so on. This ultimately allowed me publish three short-stories in Luxembourg (between 2018 – 2020), two of them being finalist in local literary contests. This recognition of my creative writing further piqued my interest in the local Luxembourgish literary scene. I started reading peers, prominent figures of the local canon, and researched native literary prices.

The course ‘Creative Writing’further motivated my interest in the craft that is telling stories, and it eventually allowed me to publish my first short-story ‘The Catking’ in les cahiers luxembourgeois. I was prior to this a finalist in the youth literary contest Prix Laurence with my short-story ‘De Café um Bock’. Lastly, my short-story ‘Beyond the Graveyard’ received honourable mention in the Black Fountain Press youth literary contest. These three short-stories were published physically in anthologies, and marked an important part of my interest in the native market. A market I intend to further enrich with my creative writing, eventually working in publishing, and furthermore encourage and teach others like me to venture into this realm.

Together with peers of the English studies track, we created a creative writing group, which we called The Writing Circle; a weekly meet-up with the intention to give each other feedback on our creative work. This group worked perfectly, and although the Covid-19 pandemic undermined physical interaction, the group successfully migrated to a digital platform. This project emerged from an idea, and follows the footsteps of the creative writing group I attended in Heidelberg, although with our own unique flair.

Additionally, my love for fantasy and science-fiction is not gone; on the contrary, it has taken a special place in my heart, and has become something I want to show Luxembourg. Genre fiction is often looked down, but there are active players in Luxembourg that try to promote the versatility of the genre to a broader public. And with the rise in popularity of superhero movies and even fantasy movie adaptations, it seems that the literature is steadily gaining in popularity too. This love ultimately led me to become part of LuxCon—a Luxembourgish fantasy and science-fiction convention. Merchandise, meet-ups, and also insightful lectures of established writers in the genre take place in the span of a weekend. A weekend where I help at the box office in cooperation with my significant other. A weekend where we try to show the magic of the genre, because, after all, Luxembourg is the birthplace of Hugo Gernsback, who coined the term science-fiction!

(Find more about my creative writing here: click!)

Working at LuxCon. Credit: LuxCon.lu
Prix Laurence finals. 2019. Picture taken by my significant other.
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