Hi there! My name is Sofia Kaliarnta-Aalbers! I was born and raised in Greece but moved to the Netherlands in 2006 for my Master’s study, and well, I never left. Now I am married to a Dutchie, and we live in Utrecht with our Greek kitty Portatif, an ex-stray from the streets of Athens!
I love reading, listening to music, dancing (even if I have to do it alone in my living room!) and going for walks out in nature – our neighbourhood has many parks and green areas, which make it ideal! I love travelling and exploring new countries and cultures (sadly due to COVID my travelling plans are postponed indefinitely). My dream country to visit is Iceland – I want to experience its otherworldly beauty! I have been very lucky to have visited Kyoto in Japan, Sydney in Australia, and I saw the Northern Lights in Norway, which was an indescribable experience!
I come from an academic background with a very mixed bag of expertise in different areas: Bachelor in Psychology, Master’s degrees in Media and science and technology issues, plus years of experience as a researcher in the ethics and philosophy of technology and the way it affects our lives.
This translates itself to courses such as Digital Media and Culture, a course that we offer in our Minor. In the course, we discuss how the cultures that we live in are not only affected by the media and technologies that we use, but cultures have also had an impact on the way citizens have decided to use technology. We examine contemporary cultures and how the use of (digital) media technology has constructed new ways of power and control, but also how they have impacted our sense of self and subjectivity. The students read key academic texts each week, but the texts are also connected to audio-visual media items that students will watch each week, ranging from Netflix documentaries to Dr. Phil episodes; in this way, the students understand how concepts and theory can be traced in contemporary pop culture. After the end of the course, students obtain a foundation in recognizing and analyzing the political and economic structures in digital media cultures.
My advice to the future CB students: if you have an open mind, if you are willing to learn a lot of things not just about the Creative Industry, but also about yourself if you love working together with people from different cultures, races, nationalities, genders, ages, sexualities, abilities, religions and life outlooks, then this can be the program for you! For our current CB students, I am proud of how you are adapting to the hybrid teaching model, which requires a lot from you (loads of online lessons and not as much face to face classes). Learning to use all the digital learning environments to your advantage will be extremely useful once you enter the work field since current predictions show all industries will adopt remote working to a degree! Keep up the good work!
My own motto is twofold: ‘’Treat others the way you wish to be treated’’ and ‘’Be kind’’. In this increasingly polarized world, I think it’s so important that we hold on to our humanity and that we treat others with respect and care, even when we disagree.