Universiteit Leiden

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From a rapper to an elegy: students of Italian make videos for a wide audience

A course that concludes with a video pitch, instead of a paper or examination: Italian Language and Culture students each recorded their own knowledge clip, speaking to a wide audience about Italian cultural expressions. We asked Goran Bouaziz, Cameron-May Bosch and Katja Timmer what they thought of this experience.

Goran: ‘The video pitch felt like a creative and instructive adventure in-between all the papers you have to write as a student. I was able to practise with finding a good balance between the character of a video pitch, aimed at a general audience, and the rather dry academic standard that’s more our usual style.

‘My pitch was about the poet and Nobel laureate Eugenio Montale, and the opening poem of his debut collection Ossi di seppia (‘Cuttlefish Bones’) in particular. My main hope is that my introduction will encourage viewers to read more of Montale’s work and more about him; I therefore ended my pitch with the words “[The poem] In limine (‘on the threshold’) was just the beginning...”’

Cameron-May: ‘You can really put a lot of yourself into a video pitch. This makes you more involved with the material you’re studying. For instance, I learnt how to analyse a poem, or a poetic text. I also have a better understanding now of what the similarities and differences are between Italian and Dutch texts.'

‘The filming itself was great fun. I spoke about Madame: a strong, young Italian woman and rapper, who tells of her life, her problems and her passions. She shows that in fact there’s nothing to stop women, even in groups that are still highly dominated by men.’

Katja: ‘I gave a pitch about mourning poetry, in particular the elegy Pianto Antico by Giosuè Carducci. I hope I was able to convey that a poem doesn’t just consist of words, but that there’s much more to discover in poetry.'

‘I personally discovered how much I like to analyse a poem. I also really enjoyed the rest of the assignment. I learnt a lot from creating a storyboard and giving a presentation in front of the camera. Those skills will be very helpful for other courses, where I will have to give a presentation at the end of the second semester.’ 

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