Semesteret vi er inne i er på alle måter et annerledes semester, det gjelder også semesteravslutningene. I går hadde jeg gleden av å delta på årets første digitale semesteravslutning ved HiØ, på Akademi for scenekunst. Det var en imponerende og veldig flott opplevelse å være til stede i livestudio i blackbox på Kråkerøy. På tross av at få av oss kunne treffes fysisk hadde akademiet gjort det beste ut av markeringen, der blant annet de første avlagte mastergradene i performance noensinne ved HiØ skulle feires.
Jeg bidro på arrangementet med en tale fra rektoratet til studentene, og gjenngir den her:
Dear candidates, dear students, dear colleagues, dear guests.
The current situation has made us all reflect on what it is that we do, and why we do what we do, in our lives. For my part, in my role as prorektor, this has included thoughts on what it is that Østfold University College does, and why.
One of the things we do is that we provide the knowledge and knowhow that society needs to handle the crisis. We train nurses, bio-engineers, social workers, teachers, IT professionals, economists, the list goes on. Professions that are needed to develop and sustain infrastructures in a resilient welfare state that is able to face a crisis like corona.
But culture is also part of the infrastructure, society is complicated and the well-being of society is a lot more complicated than the well-being of the individuals that it consists of. You can treat a single human through the use of knowledge from medicine or psychology. But how do you treat, how do you do diagnostics on a society? As you all know, to do this we need a broader perspective, we need different instruments, we need to open our minds. And to do these exercises, we need help. We need help from professionals within the arts, within theatre, within performance.
It is therefore with great pride I stand here today, being able to say that not only do we, ØUC, deliver candidates for health care, the economy and other professions that comprise the nuts and bolts of the welfare state. We are also providing candidates that can help us understand what is to be a society, what it is to be human, how bonds between humans form and develop, how they get strengthened and how they break. And in new ways unveil the graveness of the situation that we all face now, but also perhaps help us find hope.
Today we celebrate the end of the studies you have worked very hard to complete here in Fredrikstad. The roles that you now will fill in society are perhaps more important now than ever. As artists you will be our collective curiousness, our collective reflections, and you will help us all as a society ask new and necessary questions and force us to look at our practices in ways that we need to see them.
On behalf of Østfold University College, I would like to congratulate you on completing your master’s studies, and I would like to thank you for all your efforts, hard work and what you have given to your fellow students, to the teachers, to the college and to yourself in the last years. And last, i would like to wish you the best of luck in the important work you will be doing for us all as you now will become our collective critical sense.