Stay at home challenge: Double Degree student Ella Wijnen

Who: Ella Wijnen (20)
Study programme: second-year Double Degree at Codarts (Pop, Voice) and Erasmus University (Arts and Culture Studies)
Also: student-assistant at Codarts Agency; marketing officer at the Erasmus Music Collective; produced the video clip by Froukje (‘Groter dan ik’); manages the live streams on Codarts Instagram.
Lives in: Rotterdam
Currently: at parents’ home in Tilburg

You’re doing two studies in one: RASL (Rotterdam Arts and Sciences Lab). What made you decide to do this?
‘I’ve always said: if there was an academic art school I would immediately go there! Because I also find the academic world awfully exciting. So, I auditioned for/applied to the educational institutes that together make up RASL: the Erasmus University, the Willem the Kooning Academie, and Codarts. All three accepted me – Codarts as well, to my surprise! The open day at the WMDC was so cool that the choice wasn’t difficult. There are two other students in my year who also do the ‘double degree’; one of them studies drums, the other guitar.’

Two studies, and then also producing, making video clips, doing artwork, playing in a band: how do you manage?
‘Doing two studies means a lot of work, but it is compressed into five years. The overarching side activities is what makes it all so much fun to do, because they connect these two worlds. My study at Erasmus is now completely online, as is a large part at Codarts. I really have to keep a close watch on my schedule, as everything is happening from my own room. Before the crisis, I was either at the University or at Codarts, or on the way. Now, school, work, and private life are much more mixed. I do miss the WMDC! On the other hand, I now have lots of time to find out what I really like.’

Still from the live stream at Codarts Instagram with Froukje and Ella.

What is your favourite activity?
‘I really love the work at Codarts’ booking office, the Agency. I organise the live streams on Codarts Instagram on Thursdays and Sundays. I can tell that there’s a lot of interest in that. Students enjoy being able to perform again. For the rest, I focus on finding the balance between my studies. I also enjoy branding, making photos and video clips – like the one for Froukje. Perhaps later I’d like to work for a record label or maybe look for a managerial role.’

What can we learn from this episode?
‘Use this time to find yourself, and chin up! Look for creative ways, and create a lot. Support the musicians around you. I really liked Kuzko’s live session on BIRDtv. Soon in a Codarts live stream too! Personally, I now focus on my songwriting and we will be organising a weekly online meeting with fellow students to inspire each other. And I take more time for everything. Having breakfast, inline skating, and making care packages for my friends!’

Check out the playlist of Ella on Codarts Spotify: