On 21 October, the National Research Fund (FNR) held its annual Awards Ceremony, a celebration of science and research in Luxembourg where researchers and science communicators are recognised for outstanding efforts.
The Award of Outstanding Mentor, a new category introduced in 2021, goes to Prof. Dr Andreas Fickers, director of the C²DH. Several of his PhD students nominated him for this award without his knowledge and when he found out about the nomination, he was truly touched. “Working with Andreas is like playing a game of Tennis” says Aurélia Lafontaine, one of his PhD students. “He picks up every single one of your ideas, gives valuable comments and then lets you rethink your proposal.” Or, as Dominique Santana puts it: “ For Andreas, if you are doing your best and you are being honest to yourself while doing it, then it is impossible to fail in research.”
Academic work is about people and if you don’t care about people, you cannot care about the science they do.
Winner of the category Outstanding Promotion of Science to the Public is the REMIX team for the interactive multimedia installation “Historical Voices from the Minett” which was on display from 26 September to 23 October 2020 as part of the temporary history lab in the Annexe22 pavilion on the Place du Brill in Esch. The lab and the video installation were part of the research project “Remixing Industrial Pasts in the Digital Age”, funded by the Esch2022 European Capital of Culture association.
The project investigates the history of the Minett, the industrial region in southern Luxembourg. It highlights the multiple and sometimes contested identities of the region and the people living and working there by zooming in on the lives of ordinary Minettsdäppen (people living in the region), rather than simply telling the story of the ironworks and steel barons. The video installation “Historical Voices from the Minett” was developed and produced in collaboration with the Italian artist Chiara Ligi and the artists’ collective Tokonoma. The installation featured six personal life stories related to the past and present of the Minett as a means of communicating results from the research project on the history of the Minett region to a wider audience. The personal life stories informed people about past events and also inspired them to reflect on current questions of local identities, family lives and creativity. In addition, the fictional character Anna – a composite character representing the researchers – revealed to a non-academic audience how academic historians work. The spoken stories were accompanied by images taken from various local archives, some of which had never previously been seen by the public. The video installation, aimed at a broad audience and featuring many of the languages spoken in the Minett region, resonated with both locals and foreign visitors.