Keeping up with de L.K.V.
Of course, most students already know about the L.K.V., but for those of you who do not know us (do not be ashamed, it’s OK!), we are the study association for Art History and Arts, Media and Society. We organize excursions, borrels, and other activities. Most of them art-related, of course!
In the Netherlands, there are two types of associations: study associations (that’s us, the L.K.V.) and student associations. Because we are a study association, our connection is solely to the university programs while student associations are not tied to any study program and accept members from all backgrounds. The organization of the L.K.V. (Leidsche Kunsthistorische Vereniging – Leiden Art Historical Association or Union) is the responsibility of the board, which consists of the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Head of Excursions, Head of Travels and Head of Activities. In the following lines the different members of this year’s L.K.V. board will introduce themselves.
Ana (President and Head of Excursions)
When I started my Arts, Media and Society bachelor last year I had no idea I would be eventually joining a study association. I wanted to do something extra alongside my studies so I decided to join the excursion committee of the association and I ended up organizing excursions to different exhibitions during the year. Being part of the committee gave me certain responsibilities which I quite liked and made me interested in becoming part of the board of the association. As Head of Excursions and President of the board I am responsible for overseeing both the board’s and the excursion committee’s productivity.
Being part of the board of de L.K.V. has been a learning and fun path. I have to say the beginning was a bit stressful as we had to deal with so many new things at once, but having such responsibilities really makes you grow not only professionally but personally as well. Moreover, I not only got the chance to meet amazing people with whom I spend all my Mondays discussing what will happen next within the association, but I have made best friends for life. We also get in contact with several levels of our faculty that I didn’t even know existed such as the faculty assessor and the different committees. We also get to meet the boards of all the different study associations of the Humanities Faculty such as the History and English Studies associations, all of whom host their CoBos (aka constitutional borrels) in October (lots of beers and bitterballen guaranteed). Finally, I think being part of a study association in The Netherlands has made me feel way more connected to the country and its culture and I am so happy to be able to do it all within an international environment.
Back in May, the prospect of joining the board of de L.K.V. was both appealing and intimidating. Across the course of my first year I had learned the importance of the Dutch studievereniging within university life. Having decided that I might give it a go, I joined the travel committee and took a trip to Edinburgh in January 2019 that although a success in sum, definitely incited a few mini-breakdowns on my behalf at times. In hindsight, this exercise in group management and leadership taught me basically all the lessons I still apply as a board member. When the time came to apply, I was initially reticent to do so (hard to imagine, I know) as I was somewhat apprehensive about my basic language skills in Dutch, not to mention my even less remarkable accounting skills. After a great deal of persuasion by my predecessor, I succumbed and found myself the member of the most diverse L.K.V. board ever, drawn together from different countries across the world. I am very proud to be a part of this landmark chapter in the association’s history, and it is a true privilege to be a caretaker of the finances, without which we would not be able to organise activities, trips, excursions (the list goes on…) for the members we serve.
Today, I will give an exclusive peek into the life of a Secretaris. Since the beginning of this year I have started my adventure of being the secretary of de L.K.V.
To organize the several activities hosted by us, but also to make sure the association can function, we need someone to write, get in contact with the members and update our members on what we are doing. Well, that task has been assigned to me. I write the newsletters, both English and Dutch, and believe me sometimes the translation is harder than you might anticipate. I am also in charge of the social media and the website, which is a lot of fun, I love challenging myself with graphic designs and digital technologies. As a result, I have learned A LOT about setting up letters, Instagram stories and posts and the occasional meme.
Being a secretary, but also being the only Dutch member in the board, can sometimes come with difficulties. Especially, because diversity and accepting international students in Leiden is not as developed as we want it to be. As a result, we as a board experience backlash, ignorance but mostly conservatism, with our plans and ideas about modernizing and internationalizing the association. But, we do our bests to hopefully pave the way for everyone to be a part of our association and Dutch culture.
So, life as the secretary is mostly fun, busy and a bit messy. But I am glad to be able to make a change and to talk to all of our members, share ideas and create a positive and accessible environment for all of us at the university.
Barbara (Head of Travels and Head of Activities)
A random day in June 2019 I stumbled upon Raphael on my way to the station. He proudly announced to me that he was the new treasurer for de L.K.V. After a congratulation on my part, he let slip that they were still missing a Head of Travels. Impulsively, because that’s usually how I work, I said ‘you know what, I could do it’. That same evening I sent a motivation letter to the previous board, still without realising what I was getting into but feeling quite confident about the overall concept. It was only after getting the position, and receiving a ton of documents to read that I understood that I now had responsibilities. I was suddenly in charge of organising trips, having a committee and dealing with money (definitely the most stressful of them all). Let’s be honest, the first month was terrifying… and yet, after getting the hang of it, it has been running smoothly. Yes, it is quite a bit of work, and yes it takes time and energy, but I strongly believe it is worth it. Not only did I get to discover Dutch traditions (still not over the rules of CoBo!), but the human contact with fellow board members, students and teachers makes up for the stress of booking a hostel for 20 people.
Find more about De Leidse Kunsthistorische Vereniging on their website.