UU honours students make podcast 'Loop ik nou over dode mensen?'

De honourstudenten Anne Jaegers, Tristan Hofkes, Gijs IJpelaar en Eva Luberti © Menno Bausch
F.l.t.r. Anne Jaegers, Tristan Hofkes, Gijs IJpelaar and Eva Luberti. © Menno Bausch

"Imagine: you are walking through the church and on the ground you see a tomb, all worn out by thousands of shuffling feet. And you wonder: is there someone under there? Am I walking over dead people now?" begins the podcast created by honours students Tristan Hofkes, Anne Jaegers, Eva Luberti and Gijs IJpelaar together with art historian Sanne Frequin. The students take us on an exploration of the world of medieval funerary monuments.

Medieval funerary monuments

Hofkes, Jaegers, Luberti and IJpelaar took Frequin's Site Exploration Tutorial as part of the Humanities Honours Programme. "For someone with a passion for medieval funerary monuments, the subject of the tutorial was of course easily found!" says Frequin, laughing. She herself has been researching the monuments for years.

In the Middle Ages, death was closer than today. People only lived to be about 40 years old on average, Europe was ravaged by famines and infant mortality was very high. After death, medieval people wanted to show that they had lived according to God's rules, and they did so through the tombs they left behind. They also commanded their relatives to pray for them, hoping that this would shorten their time in purgatory and they could quickly get a place in heaven.
Podcast 'Am I walking on dead people?'

"Besides the traditional research and writing skills, I also wanted them to develop other skills that are important for academics," says Frequin. "And the students wanted to introduce young people to medieval funerary monuments in a modern way." So the idea for a podcast was soon born. From Medieval Memoria Online, the UU database of medieval objects and texts surrounding the remembrance of the dead, the students chose the item that most appealed to them, and then immersed themselves in it completely.

Picked up by the media

The students were enthusiastic and wanted to create the best possible product. So they wrote to the Stichting tot Nagedachtis fund, asking for a contribution that would allow them to have the podcast professionally edited. They succeeded. "Meanwhile, the podcast has already been picked up by various media," Frequin says proudly. "There was a piece in the Telegraaf and they will soon be a guest on Focus Science on NPO Radio 1!"