German Film of the Week: Sonnenallee

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Less than 10 years after the East German state ceased to exist, we started to miss it. Ostalgie, a nostalgia for the East and for everyday life under Socialism, is a much discussed phenomenon which sprang up in the 1990s when East Germans increasingly felt they had been taken over by the West and memories of the East were being devalued. 2260745,yp+T7PMY5lKvdiJRNP2232rRcIxVh8A_S7N9IsWuz4QEwaEPZZrjpU+rJbihmueTTpJCTKIusJ0qmDEDRKo4WA==This resulted in an identity crisis for the generation which had grown up behind the Wall, and people started organising “East parties” and celebrating their “Easterness” with the consumption of regional products and re-introduced Eastern brands. Made in 1999, Sonnenallee is a hilarious comedy which takes the desire to reassert an East German identity to the big screen, simultaneously mocking and mourning the GDR.

Aston students can access the film through Blackboard. It is also available online here and  here.

Trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js9DphJ8JXU

Viel Vergnügen – and apologies for the poor quality of the subtitles!

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Annual German Quiz at Aston University

Like every year, Aston University and the University of Birmingham are once again hosting a German Quiz night where students – and staff! – from both institutions can test their knowledge of all things German-speaking. This year, the event is hosted at Aston campus and the winners will be awarded fantastic prizes from our sponsors.

PDF - German Pub Quiz Poster 2015

German Film of the Week: Goodbye Lenin

200_sThis week’s film is Wolfgang Becker’s classic Goodbye Lenin, which provides a comic take on the rapid transformation process that East Germany underwent when it joined the Federal Republic following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

When Christiane wakes up from a months-long coma and has to avoid all forms of excitement to prevent a relapse, her son Alex is faced with the challenge of hiding the changes that have taken place and recreating the GDR for her – complete with locally produced pickles and fake East German news.

Aston students can access the film through our VLE. Box of Broadcasts users can access the film here and it is also available online here and here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJb4efZcFUM

Viel Vergnügen!

Midlands German Network launched at Aston

The Midlands German Network was officially launched on January 21, 2015, at Aston University. Aston is one of six universities in the Midlands who joined up in the Network to build and deepen links between local schools, universities and employers. MGN also works with a range of partners from industry and academia in order to promote interest in German language learning and culture.

Q&A with panel of Network partners

Q&A with panel of Network partners

The launch event was attended by around 120 visitors representing local schools, the Network universities and other stakeholders. They were welcomed by Prof Simon Green, Executive Dean of Aston’s School of Languages and Social Sciences, and Network Director Dr Stefan Manz who officially launched the MGN website. At the following panel discussion with representatives from Network partners such as the German Embassy, UK German Connection, the Goethe Institute, DAAD, UK Trade&Investment, Routes into Languages and the German Honorary Consul for the Midlands, each partner briefly presented explained how they are promoting German and afterwards, the panel members answered questions prepared by students from local schools. The event finished with an interactive introduction to the activities of the Arsenal Double Club, a joint project by UK German Connection and the Goethe Institute.

The launch event also provided the perfect opportunity to thank the sponsors of the Midlands German Network for their support. The website was created with seed funding from the German Embassy, and our corporate partner E.ON, as well as the Institute for German Studies (IGS) at the University of Birmingham and Routes into Languages provided funding for the launch and the Network in general.

For more information about the Midlands German Network, please go to the website at: www.midlandsgermannetwork.org.uk.

Dr Georg Krawietz (DAAD), Dr Susanne Frane (German Embassy) and Prof Pam Moores, OBE (Routes into Languages)

Dr Georg Krawietz (DAAD), Dr Susanne Frane (German Embassy) and Prof Pam Moores, OBE (Routes into Languages)

Prof Katrin Kohl (Oxford German Network), Dr Sean Allen (University of Warwick), Dr Stefan Manz (Aston University)

Prof Katrin Kohl (Oxford German Network), Dr Sean Allen (University of Warwick), Dr Stefan Manz (Aston University)

 

Dr Ruth Crawford and students from Nottingham Trent University

Dr Ruth Crawford and students from Nottingham Trent University

 

Logistics company Kuehne+Nagel promoting their graduate programmes and placement opportunities

Logistics company Kuehne+Nagel promoting their graduate programmes and placement opportunities

 

German teacher and students from Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School

German teacher and students from Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School

 

German teacher and students from Kind Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls

German teacher and students from Kind Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls

 

At the reception, students completing a German quiz

At the reception, students completing a German quiz

How to become a fully qualified German teacher in four years

teacherFrom next academic year, Aston is offering a new undergraduate programme which combines a BSc in German, French and/or Spanish with Qualified Teacher Status within four years. After graduation, successful graduates will be able to apply immediately for modern languages teaching positions in secondary schools without undertaking a PGCE. Like all other MFL degrees at Aston, the new programme includes a fully integrated period of study abroad with extensive preparation and support offered by Aston’s award-winning placement team.

To find out more about this exciting new option for MFL students, please click here.

German Film of the Week: Requiem

indexThis week’s film is Requiem, Hans Christian Schmid’s 2006 drama based on the real life story of Anneliese Michel, who died in 1975 following Catholic exorcism rites. Her life also inspired the American film The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Aston students can access the film through our VLE, Box of Broadcasts users can watch it here  and it is available online here and here.

Viel Vergnügen!

German Film of Week: Go Trabi Go

"Go, Trabi, Go" BRD 1990 Walter StumphOur first film in 2015 is Go Trabi Go, a comedy about an East German family who decide to take advantage of their newly acquired freedom to travel and set off for Italy – following in the steps of Goethe’s Italian Journey which took place almost exactly 200 years earlier. Unlike Goethe, the Struutz family travel in the comfort of their own automobile, but “Schorsch” is an old Trabant car and the journey turns out to be quite a challenge for “him”.

One of the first films about East Germany to be made after the Wall came down, Go Trabi Go celebrates Saxonian resilience in the face of adversity and pokes fun at the developing tensions between resourceful East Germans and their richer cousins in the west.

Aston students can access the film through our VLE and it is available online here .

Here is a brief taster:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DM4RVvf5vwI

Viel Vergnügen!

Kraftwerk conference at Aston resounding success

Kraftwerk_astonimage

The Kraftwerk conference held at Aston University on 21/22 January 2015 was a resounding success, attracting an audience of over 160 participants. Particular highlights were the keynote address given by Dr Steven Mallinder (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire) and a lively presentation by DJ Rusty Egan (formerly of Visage) who also DJed at the after conference party in the student union bar. The conference attracted considerable media coverage by a number of publications and on several BBC radio channels as well as the BBC Breakfast TV programme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03rlLjppzz4&spfreload=10

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-30907513

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/the-kraftwerk-conference-why-a-bunch-of-academics-consider-the-german-electropoppers-worthy-of-their-own-symposium-9993879.html

Aston to host first ever academic conference on Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER

Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER

On 21 and 22 January, 2015, Aston University is hosting the first-ever academic conference on the groundbreaking German electronic band Kraftwerk. Uwe Schütte, organiser of the conference: “I think Kraftwerk are fascinating, and deserve critical, scholarly attention. They’ve received that, but only a little.”

Founded in the early 1970s, they were ahead of their time with regard to the use of technology in producing music. To quote the conference website,

Kraftwerk have long been recognised as major pioneers of electronic music. The group attracted keen interest particularly in the UK, where their innovative sound had a decisive influence on the development of 1980s synth pop.

Over two days, a diverse group of scholars will speak about such diverse topics as “Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn: Kraftwerk Challenging Germanness”, “We Are the Robots! On the Cultural-Historical Origins of the Man-Machine” and “Cabaret Voltaire and Dada Modernity”. And instead of the usual sit-down conference dinner, participants will get the chance to shake it up at the Kraftwerk Disco.

The conference has garnered great international attention, with a host of international speakers and more than 200 registered participants from across the world. It has also been reported on in the national and international press, for example in The Guardian, leading music magazine NME and German music platform Ampya.

Aston student blogger reporting from Austria

Christmas is everywhere! Birmingham is not the only place that can be proud of its beautiful Christmas market. Linz, the third-largest city in Austria, can also make you feel like Christmas was just a few days away. Beatrice from England has just had the chance to experience that first hand, enjoying Bauernkrapfen, berry punch and beautiful Christmas lights.

She is currently on her year abroad and has been blogging and vlogging about her experiences as a teaching assistant in Austria:
https://beatriceinlinz.wordpress.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/BeatriceThirkettle/videos