weKONEKT.brussels is an extensive collaborative partnership between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Erasmus University College (EhB) and numerous organizations in Brussels and beyond.

weKONEKT.brussels is a movement that focuses on co-creation, the connection between art & science as well as the connection between university & Brussels, Europe and the world. It has a strong pedagogical and infrastructural angle. The project is pioneering and underpinned by the humanistic values of the VUB. It contributes strongly to the three pillars: education, research, and engagement.

Universities offer students opportunities to develop into independent and engaged individuals, critical global citizens and social leaders of the future. Brussels becomes a lecture hall and workplace. Together they connect students with stakeholders and the field. They strengthen the Brussels community by organizing education and research on, with, in and for Brussels and by putting the scientific expertise and knowledge of our students, teachers and researchers at the service of the city.

Institutions of higher education are a great added value for the city. They are an important source of employment, they guarantee a continuous influx of young and new talent, they have scientific expertise that is crucial for the innovation and transformation of city and society. The various actors, organizations and institutions in Brussels have much to offer each other. For a scientist or artist, the big city is a dream laboratory, an ideal learning place for students and a particularly interesting test bed for companies.

People

Lynn Tytgat

Lynn is the coordinator of weKONEKT.brussels and is responsible for the local and international partnerships. Within the framework of Art & Science, Lynn works closely with the internationally renowned art scene in Brussels to strengthen synergies between science, education, and art. She is, among other things, the driving force behind Mindblowers, the opening of the cultural and academic year in collaboration with the KVS. Lynn studied Literature and Theatre Sciences as well as international and European Law at the VUB, and management at Solvay Brussels School - ULB. She built her career in New York, Paris, Bruges and Brussels where she worked for UNESCO, United Nations University (UNU), the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the UN and Erasmus University College Brussel (EhB).

Rocketlynn.tytgat@vub.be

Linde Moriau

Linde has a passion for education, Brussels and social engagement. Three things that are central to UNIVER.CITY, one of the pillars of weKONEKT.brussels. UNIVER.CITY explores the opportunities and conditions for society-related education and research. Urban networks, contexts and dynamics serve as the starting point for processes of shared knowledge development. Academic and extra-academic actors learn with, from and for each other and together we build the city of tomorrow.

Rocketlinde.moriau@vub.be

Ian Komac

Ian is project assistant at weKONEKT.brussels, supporting the connection with Brussels on a strategic and operational level. With a background in communications, Ian aims to translate the weKONEKT.brussels initiatives into engaging storytelling to activate and inspire our academic communities. Ian connects and facilitates various internal and external actors to set up inspiring initiatives that enrich the cultural and academic offer in Brussels.

Rocketian.komac@vub.be

Margot de Smaele

Margot, with a master's in Comparative Modern Literature, is currently pursuing a master's degree in Conflict and Development Studies at UGent. She is in charge of the coordination and organization of the Brussels City Campus. Within weKONEKT.brussels, she helps build bridges between students and the city of Brussels. She likes to bring interesting, student-driven initiatives in contact with committed Brussels partners

Rocketmargot@wekonekt.brussels

Lien Mostmans

Lien is passionate about interdisciplinary and socially engaged research and research policy. She studied Germanic Languages and Cultural Sciences, and obtained a PhD in Communication Sciences at VUB, and worked for years as a researcher in the social sciences. At VUB, she supports quality, future-proof and society-involved research, in close collaboration with various Brussels actors far and wide. She also coordinated European projects for years, including Erasmus+, Horizon 2020/Europe and the EU Green Deal. In her free time, she participates in all kinds of projects with all kinds of people who want to make Brussels an even better place.

Rocketlien.mostmans@vub.be

Brecht Van der Schueren

With a degree in history and urban studies in his back pocket, Brecht is helping to better align education and research at the VUB with everything that lives and bubbles in the metropolis of Brussels. Social challenges such as climate change and social inequality can only be solved through broad partnerships. He wants to help the VUB put its commitment to being an Urban Engaged University into practice. Brecht coordinates the VUB side of the Wetenschapswinkel that connects research questions from organisations to students. Social challenges such as climate change and social inequality can only be solved through broad partnerships. He wants to help the VUB put its commitment to being an Urban Engaged University into practice.

RocketBrecht.Rik.Van.Der.Schueren@vub.be
A portrait of Hélène Fréché by Jean Cosyn

Hélène Fréché

Hélène is the operational manager of the Brussels University Alliance (BUA). BUA is an alliance that promotes collaborations between VUB and ULB in the areas of education, research, society, and internationalization. Hélène is the point of contact for weKONEKT.brussels at the ULB.

Rockethelene.freche@ulb.be

Art & Science

weKONEKT.brussels facilitates and initiates collaboration with the internationally acclaimed art scene in Brussels. It underlines that art and science both stem from critical thinking. Both disciplines want to understand the world as it is, but also to shape it. Artists and scientists go through a similar process, but from a radically different frame of reference. weKONEKT.brussels strengthens both the link between art and science, artists and scientists, and between academic and cultural institutions. In collaboration with various partners, projects are developed, research questions are formulated and innovative forms of knowledge development and exchange are shaped. Through weKONEKT.brussels, in collaboration with cultural and artistic partners, new methodologies of co-creation and co-authorship are developed, where transdisciplinary and humanistic thinking and acting are central.

Through various art and science initiatives, weKONEKT.brussels consistently involves alliance and association partners ULB and EhB. Hence, the project contributes to the essential deepening of strategic cooperation between the institutions and different communities. Multilingualism is propagated and developed as an asset. Within this movement, the students and lecturers/researchers involved play a pioneering role. In the connection of art and science, they invariably collaborate with the various VUB departments that also focus on the connection between art and science (Pilar, Crosstalks, CAVA, etc.). This contributes to a stronger cooperation within the institution on the one hand and avoids fragmentation and unwanted competition on the other.

→ Art & Science

Europe & The World

weKONEKT.brussels contributes to the image of the international and European character of Brussels. It strengthens the position of VUB as an important European player in academic diplomacy. As the capital of Europe and home to international institutions, representations, embassies, academic organizations and networks, the potential for internationalization is greater than ever. Internationalization begins in Brussels and is an important aspect of weKONEKT.brussels.

Together with its partners, weKONEKT.brussels contributes to the development of this strong asset. This has a pivotal impact on student recruitment, development of regional and international partnerships as well as the positioning of the VUB as a committed player with regard to the important European challenges i.e. digitalisation, inequality, sustainability and multilingualism. Themes that play an indispensable role within the project. As a university in the 21st century, we are all inextricably linked to international partners all over the world. It is our ambition to take activities supported or initiated by weKONEKT.brussels beyond its national borders.

→ Europe & The world

University & Society

weKONEKT.brussels initiates and facilitates collaborations between researchers, students, entrepreneurs, artists, city planners, neighbours, architects, activists, business leaders, administrations and governments. It also facilitates collaborations across disciplines and brings together academic and non-academic actors to learn from each other. It is through dialogue and the exchange of different forms of knowledge that new insights and opportunities arise. The weKONEKT.brussels initiatives contribute greatly to challenging, broadening and renewing or even changing existing worldviews and frameworks.

weKONEKT.brussels seeks to activate knowledge and expertise to address societal challenges. Knowledge developed at institutions of higher education actively contribute to a sustainable and polyphonic world. weKONEKT.brussels encourages and supports students to become critical world citizens and engaged professionals. By organising classes off campus and in collaboration with a variety of partners, the pivotal role of Brussels is underlined and strengthened. The weKONEKT.brussels network provides unique opportunities for all actors involved. It connects young and new talent with different stakeholders and contributes to the innovation, transformation and future of Brussels.

→ University & Society

Toolbox

The co-development of weKONEKT.brussels with various actors has allowed us to develop a series of instruments that are available within the weKONEKT.brussels toolbox. These tools range from guidelines, handbooks, publications, knowledge clips, infrastructure, and various other resources. This way, weKONEKT.brussels aims to support and open doors to students and staff in higher education to actively engage with Brussels, Europe and the world.

With the Brussels City Campus, weKONEKT.brussels resolutely opts for Brussels as a meeting place, lecture hall and research environment, embracing metropolitan opportunities and challenges. These aspects are not only personally enriching, but also nurture and strengthen the core pillars: education, research, and engagement. The Brussels City Campus aims to facilitate a way in which students and academic staff go off campus and benefit from the rich infrastructure and knowledge present at the weKONEKT.brussels partners.

→ Toolbox