StudentSpeak Undergraduate conference

On 5 June 2010, Aston’s department of Sociology and Public Policy is pleased to host StudentSpeak – a conference which will allow undergraduate students to make real contributions to defining, studying and intervening in the pressing social problems of our time and provide a forum for critical discussion amongst peers and academics.

For more information, go here or contact Dr. Sarah Amsler on .

Writer in Residence 2009

Lorenz Schröter Lorenz Schröter

In 2009, our Writer in Residence was Lorenz Schröter: In addition to being known as a German “pioneer of pop journalism”, Lorenz has published a number of novels – Das Buch der Liebe (2007), Lucy (2002), Venuspassage (2001) etc. He has lived in Hongkong, cycled around the world, and travelled through Germany in the company of a donkey (Mein Esel Bella, 2000). His first collection of nautical trivia, Das kleine Kielschwein (2006) has been translated into 7 languages (The little book of the sea, 2007) and was followed by Das kulinarische Kielschwein (2007) and Die kleine Kielsau (2008).

Writer in Residence 2007

Jan Volker Röhnert Jan Volker Röhnert

In 2007, the award-winning German poet and writer Jan Volker Röhnert came to Aston to hold student workshop and to read from his works. He has written about the renowned German poet Rolf Dieter Brinkmann, has translated from both French and English, and has published a number of poetry collections, e.g. Metropolen (2007), Sonnenquartette (2006), Die Hingabe, endloser Kokon (2005).

In one of the workshops, a group of 1st year students created a back-translation of Jan’s poem “Nach Kenneth Koch”, inspired by Kenneth Koch’s poem “A big clown-face-shaped clowd“:

Nach Kenneth Koch Einer Wolke großes Clowngesicht

Flog eben hier vorbei

Ohne daß Dich irgend jemand sah.

Für eine Wolke ziemlich wohlgebaut

Blieben dir gerad ein paar Minuten

um zu leben.

Du sprachst etwas, oder es schien mir so:

Weit aufgesperrter Mund, der sich

Mit einer engelsgleichen Wolke unterhält

Die eilig vor ihm in die Höhe steigt.


Im Wagen der grünen Metrolinie, unter

dem Wort Wolke saßt

du engelsgleich und last

in einem Buch und sahst

mich an als ich lange am

Wort Wolke hing,

bis die Station erschien.

 by Jan Volker Röhnert

After Kenneth Koch  A great clown-face of a cloud

was just floating by,

without anyone even seeing you.

For a cloud you were quite substantial

but only a few minutes left to live.

You said something, or so it seemed:

wide-open mouthed, you spoke with

an angelic cloud rising swiftly up above.


In the green line subway car

you sat angelic, beneath the CLOUD

reading page by page,

I saw your fleeting gaze,

as I sat fixed on CLOUD above

‘til the train came to a stop.

by Jan Volker Röhnert

 translated by LG1001-2


Aston student makes the headlines in Germany!

LSS student Karina Burrowes is making quite an impact during her placement year in Germany.

The contribution she’s made during her time as a teaching assistant has made such a positive impression in the local community, that she was interviewed by the local newspaper. Karina, 21, from London has not only been working as a teaching assistant, she’s spent some of her spare time running a student club for young people – introducing them to the English culture and customs.

The reporter from the local newspaper commented on Karina’s excellent command of the German language and her drive to go the extra mile.


German Pub Quiz

Quizzers at work Quizzers at work 

For the third time since our first event in 2007, Aston University and University of Birmingham met in March 2010 to battle it out in that most British of traditions, a pub quiz. 13 student teams and 4 staff teams answered tough questions about all things German, Austrian and Swiss, and the winners took home fabulous authentic prizes.

The winning team: Universally Challenged The winning team: Universally Challenged 


Here are some of the tricky – or not so tricky for some – questions our quizzers had to answer:

1. Welches berühmte Symphonieorchester dirigiert Sir Simon Rattle? / What is the name of the famous symphonic orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle?

a. Symphonieorchester des Bayrischen Rundfunks – b. Münchner Philharmoniker – c. Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart – d. Berliner Philharmoniker

2.  Was ist ein Zwetschgendatschi? / What is a Zwetschgendatschi?

a. ein übles Schimpfwort / a nasty swear word – b. Pflaumenkuchen / plum cake – c. eine saftige Ohrfeige / a slap in the face  

3. Welcher österreichische Schauspieler bekam für seine Rolle in Inglorious Basterds den Golden Globe? / What´s the name of the Austrian actor who was awarded the Golden Globe for his role in Inglorious Basterds?

a. Walter Crismani – b. Christoph Waltzer – c. Christoph Waltz – d. Walter Christian

4. Was sind Salzburger Nockerl? / What are Salzburger Nockerl?

a. seltene, nur in den Salzburger Alpen vorkommende Wildrosen / rare wild roses found only in the Salzburg Alps – b. ein Salzburger Amateurfußballverein / an amateur football club in Salzburg – c. eine Seelandschaft im Salzkammergut / an area of lakes in the Salzkammergut – d. eine Süßspeise aus Eiern, Zucker und Mehl / a sweet dish made of eggs, sugar and flour