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A Stage for Creativity

At an evening event called “Create!” on 23 May 2019, the University of Freiburg will present awards to the winners of the “Connecting Creative Minds” photography contest

Freiburg, May 13, 2019

A Stage for Creativity

Illustration: Jürgen Oschwald

What does creativity really mean at the University of Freiburg? The photography contest “Connecting Creative Minds” inspired students, researchers, and administrative and technical staff to address this question. The almost 100 entries submitted show that creativity at the University of Freiburg already has many aspects. At “Create!” on 23 May 2019 the jury for the competition will select the three winning photos and present the award to the university community’s favorite. Entertainment for the evening will be provided by the spoken theater group “Laut & Lyrik,” and a combo of the Uni Big Band Freiburg and the dance ensemble “The Circle.” Sonja Seidel spoke with the deputy director of the Freiburg University Library and jury member Dr. Franz Leithold about the impact of the competition and how difficult it is to choose a winning photograph.

In focus: Photographers at the University of Freiburg have depicted where they experience or their ideals of creativity. Illustration: Jürgen Oschwald

Mr. Leithold, what did you like best about the competition entries?

Franz Leithold: The diversity! The idea of “creativity” is not easy to grasp. It has a great number of aspects. What made it even nicer was that the entries showed a broad spectrum – from creativity in a natural sciences’ laboratory to creativity in a communal residence. It opened new perspectives for me, too.

So you received new insights into how people experience creativity at the university?

How they experience and imagine it. Because there are also images among the entries that have something visionary about them. Photography was exactly the right medium to use to explore creativity. There could’ve been a competition in which the participants sent in texts exploring the theme in an academic way. But that wouldn’t have had the same effect and wouldn’t have appealed to people in the same way.

What were you looking for as you selected the fifteen best pictures which are currently on display in an exhibition at the University Library?

On the jury we evaluated the originality of the ideas presented and also looked at artistic aspects, such as how has the image been made? Are criteria such as the golden ratio recognizable? What’s the lighting like? Is the space within the image structured? So we looked to see if the visual treatment corresponded to the idea that was being expressed.

The exhibition of the fifteen best entries at the University Library will continue until 15 May 2019. Visitors to the exhibition can vote for their favorites. Photo: Sandra Meyndt

How difficult was it for you to pick winning photographs from the fifteen images?

The jury did a great deal of debating, but in the end, the decision wasn’t hard at all. For us, there were pictures that did address the topic far more than others. We also tried to see to it that the winning photographs reflect the diversity of the contributions submitted. 

On your way to work every day you go by the exhibition in which three potential winning photos are hanging. What is your impression – in what way have the photographs as a whole affected people at the university?

Since the new University Library has been there, we’ve put on a few exhibitions that were also very well received. Nevertheless, I’ve got the impression that this one is stimulating special attention. I keep seeing students there who are voting for their favorite photograph, and who stand in front of the individual images and discuss them. Many people who work in the building, guests, and also researchers have spoken to me about the exhibition and say they are really keen on it. So it’s achieved what we were aiming to with the contest and the photography show – that the university community begins to talk about and share their opinions on creativity.


Create! – Photography Contest Award

On Thursday, 23 May 2019 starting at 7 p.m. in the MensaBar, the jury for the competition will select their three favorites at a special event called “Create!” The Popularity Prize –an image selected by a vote of members of the university community – will be awarded as well. Ballots for the Popularity Prize may be cast until 15 May 2019. During the evening, the spoken theater group “Laut & Lyrik” and a combo of the Uni Big Band Freiburg and the dance ensemble “The Circle” will give performances spotlighting creativity. Admission is free of charge.

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