Documentary by former LTS student to be shown at Flatpack film festival

This year`s Flatpack film festival in Birmingham (4th – 9th April) will feature a never-seen-before music documentary about one of England`s most promising and unconventional rock bands. The duo “Sleaford Mods” from Nottingham is singing about timeless problems like unemployment, underfinanced towns and hopelessness in a monotonous world, all topics which especially appeal to young people. One of these young people is Christine Franz, a former LTS student from Aston University. Right after listening to the band for the first time it was clear to her that she had to do a music documentary about this exceptional band. The result is a highly anticipated documentary about two musicians following their dreams against all the odds.

The documentary will experience a limited UK cinematic release this spring and is definitely worth watching, especially because it was made and directed by one of our former students, Christine Franz.

Launch of new research project on German Pop Music

This event marks the launch of a new project on German Popular music at Warwick/ Aston unis. It takes place on Wed 8th Feb, 5-7pm in the Occulus building, OC1.09. Warwick Uni Campus. No tickets. Event free. Come along!

This ia a new research intiative that seeks, through collaboration with Warwick University, to promote the serious academic treatment of German popular music and its (much underrated) cultural value and contribuiton to world culture. The topic, perhaps oddly, remains something of a blindspot within German Studies as a discipline. We start with two venerable speakers, David Pattie and Luis-Manuel Garcia.



Aston academic discussesTrumponomics

Earlier this month, Dr Stefan Manz was a guest on Radio Sputnik where he explained how US president Donald Trump’s unpopularity in Germany and his threat to impose import tariffs on German cars could have negative consequences not just for the German economy, but for the US as well.

Click here to read a write-up and hear the audio clip of the conversation.

Review of “Futur II” by Gruppe Ja, Panik


Uwe Schütte has contributed an extensive review of the literary debut of Berlin band Ja, Panik to the magazine Volltext. Their singer and songwriter, Andreas Spechtl, was DAAD Songwriter in Residence at Aston in 2015. Futur II commemorates the tenth anniversary of the band. You can read the review by Uwe here. Ja, Panik have also released a new song called Futur II to accompany the album – watch the video here.

“Mal ordinär / mal neureich nobel / hängt man so ab / zwischen unten und oben”

New book on WG Sebald edited by Uwe Schütte


Our Sebald expert Uwe Schütte has just published an edited volume on Sebald that contains chapters in both German and English. The aim of the book is to provide a counterweight to the dominant strands in Sebald criticism by excluding over-researched topics like the novel Austerlitz and themes such as melancholia, Holocaust and memory.

Instead, the volume explores unpublished texts (such as Sebald’s early novel and his film script on the life and death of Immanuel Kant), revisits the critical discussions initiated by his polemical writings on Alfred Döblin and Alfred Andersch, and explores the Luftkrieg und Literatur debate. Another focus of the volume is philological groundwork, as it were, to establish the biographical and factual background to Sebald’s writings on his native region, the Allgäu, and to his prose volume Schwindel. Gefühle.

In addition to addressing often overlooked or ignored aspects of his writings, the specific approach of the volume was to include contributions from post-docs, Auslandsgermanisten and private scholars in an attempt to break free from the often tautological critical debates taking place within German academia.

You can find more information on the volume here, and can download a flyer here.

New Teaching Assistants at the German Department

Hey there!

We are Ben and Martin, the new teaching assistants for German at Aston University and would like to introduce ourselves to everyone.

I`m Ben, 23, from a small town in the Ruhr Area. I am studying for a Bachelor of Education with the subjects German, Maths and English for primary school teaching and I am about to finish my degree. I like reading, sports (ice hockey, football, darts) and hiking. I am looking forward to travelling GB, getting to know new people and learning about British culture.

I`m Martin, I am 21 years old and I come from Paderborn. I’m in my fifth semester, with the subjects English and History in order to become a teacher. I am a huge sports fan and try to stay fit by doing sports myself. Moreover I like reading and travelling around. I hope to learn as much as possible about the English language and culture during my time here at Aston!

We will be giving oral and aural skills sessions and drop-in clinics (Mo 10-12, Fr 9-11) at Aston University and are looking forward to meeting all of you there. So if you have any questions regarding grammar, your homework or if you are just interested in having a conversation in German, please come see us in N807.


We look forward to seeing you all,

Ben and Martin

Andreas Spechtl and Uwe Schütte in Wuppertal this Friday

Our colleague and pop music expert Uwe Schütte will discuss the very German topic of “Utopie Heimat” with Ja, Panik singer Andreas Spechtl this Friday. The event is part of the Wuppertaler Literatur Biennale literary festival.

550x475.pm1.bgFFFFFFAndreas was Aston 2015 DAAD Songwriter in Residence and has recently released his much acclaimed solo album SLEEP. With Uwe, he will talk about his song lyrics and the role of pop music in a neoliberal world where there is increasingly no Heimat left…..

For more info check out this blog post from the leading pop music magazine SPEX.

You can watch Andi playing “Nevermind” here


Manner-wafers and Halloren-chocolate coming to Britain?

Last weekend more than 40 students arrived at Aston University to attend international marketing workshops given by Aston staff. Pupils from all over the country came to Birmingham and experienced a weekend full of fun and information. On Saturday morning, the weekend began with a Welcome session after which the students went into different groups depending on their language.

Five pupils joined our German workshop and did not only learn a lot about marketing and its different areas but of course got the chance to improve their language skills as the workshop was held in German. Different marketing theories such as “The four P’s” or “AIDA” were explained to give them an idea of what marketing is about.

On Sunday, the students then had to put their knowledge together by designing marketing strategies for different Austrian and German products such as Manner-wafers and Halloren chocolate bubbles. They prepared their presentations as well as TV advertisements. At the end of the day each group presented their project in front of the group as if presenting their marketing strategies to the companies that produce the products. Both groups came up with very creative ideas as well as great advertising spots. So put your hands together for the great turnout and thanks again for coming from all over the country!

The students as well as the LSS staff and all our passionate organizers had a lot of fun last weekend and enjoyed their time with the visitors.

And who knows…maybe someday we will get products such as Halloren and Manner in Britain! 🙂


The German students with our two Aston student ambassadors Hannah and Morgan.
An advert created for the marketing campaign for Manner wafers. Yum!