Sjoerd Yska – HoA

Sjoerd Yska, board member of Foton Arts

I am Sjoerd Yska and I am now in my second year of the master Industrial Design. Currently I am busy with graduating. I have been a board member of Foton Arts for about two years now. First I was a secretary, but now I am the chairman.

What can you tell about your activism of the cultural associations and other associations?
I am a board member of Foton Arts for two years now. When I started studying in Enschede I searched for different associations. When I saw that the university also had an associations for photography I knew I wanted to become a member. That’s why I became a member of Foton Arts immediately at the beginning of my study. After being a member for two years, Foton Arts was looking for new board members. I just rolled into the board life. I think it is challenging in a certain way: you need to have an overview of the whole association. As a board you don’t only have the board function, but we also have to organize expositions and, for example, the Kick-In. The challenge is to find out how everything works.

What can you tell me about your cultural background?
My parents weren’t specifically busy with culture. I started drawing by myself when I was four years old. Since then I have always been quite creative. When I was 6/7 years old my dad got his first photo camera. I thought that was quite interesting. We always made a lot of photos and videos in our house with that photo camera. When my dad got a new camera, I was allowed to use the old by myself. Eventually I bought my own photo camera. I think I was around 12 years old by then. Next to drawing and photography I also joined music classes. I played the guitar for quite a while. I really liked that, but I wasn’t that good in practicing. My parents stimulated me to practice for my classes, but eventually I didn’t see the value of the classes anymore. Now I don’t play the guitar anymore.

What moment would you never forget about a cultural event?
I think the moments that I will never forget are mostly the journeys. With Foton Arts we normally have one trip aboard each year and four trips in total (in one year). Those four trips in The Netherlands are mostly trips to the zoo or nature reserves. I have been to different locations: The Netherlands, but also Luxembourg and Germany I really like to go on a trip with my friends from Foton and to make photos at the same time. Foton Arts is an association that’s mostly for joy and social interactions. At the same time you get stimulated to do things that you wouldn’t do by yourself. It is a bit ‘out of the box’. I am not really made for extraordinary things, but at the end I always like what I have learned. An example: last week we did portrait photography. That’s not really my thing, but I like to do it once in a while.

What did you learn from culture?
I learn a lot about photography. I am mostly glad that I learned a lot about editing photo’s. I sometimes give workshops about editing or about the basic of photography. When teaching others I also learn new things. Next to gaining new skills for photography, I also learn about giving presentations.
To answer this question more in general and more about the board year(s) I am doing; I think when doing a board year you learn a lot about an association and how everything works in an associations.

What would you tell first years about Apollo/culture?
Just try things out! Go to open trainings/rehearsals from different associations. But don’t do too much; it is nice to be active in an association as well. In the beginning I didn’t know how the activism worked within Foton Arts, but most of the time you just roll into it.

What do you think of the culture at the University of Twente?
I can’t really compare with other universities, but I think our university has a lot of different associations. It is good to see that a lot is possible. With Foton Arts we first were only a photography group, but now we also have an arts group. There were a lot of possibilities when I set this up together with someone else. But it is also nice to see that you can involve students organizing stuff, like expositions.

Do you still dream of something to achieve with culture?
After setting up the Arts group of Foton Arts we didn’t do a lot of activities, because of COVID-19. I have a lot of ideas for the arts group and I hope I can try all of them. From my own bucket list I would like to go to different places in the world to make photographs. When I studied in the north of Sweden I also did a lot with photography. I mostly get inspiration from my photos to draw and paint. I would also like to get better in painting.