The Leuven Hundreds

Portraits of a city's people, today

We’ve joined forces with Leuven to highlight 100 local people, places and projects that contribute towards making the city what it is today. From artists and architects to producers and professors, these are the driving forces powering Leuven forward one ingenious initiative at a time.

Beatrijs Albers

Beatrijs Albers

Visual artist / Professor of Interactive Media, SLAC (1959)

Can you describe what you do?

I’m a visual artist, based in Brussels near the canal, where I share a studio with my partner Reggy Timmermans. We regularly work together as a team: our artistic practice deals with a diverse range of subjects such as architecture, forms of social codification, and the boundaries between the functional and dysfunctional. The relationship between presentation and representation also plays a central role in our work.

In Leuven, I teach Interactive Media at the Academy of Fine Arts, SLAC; as well as work for their co-ordination team. The school aims to build partnerships with different, local cultural partners in Leuven; annually organises several projects extra muros; and offers an interesting series of artist talks. Last but not least, I’m also part of the selection committee for Cas-co, a project and studio space for artists here in Leuven.

How do you perceive Leuven?

As we all know, Leuven is a pretty small city – but the University and its many schools, with over 50,000 students makes for a very vibrant city. Again, considering its size, Leuven hosts an impressive array of high-quality art spaces, theatres, and dance and music venues. Yet having said all this, and in spite of its many migrants and international students, I still feel that Leuven is too homogeneous for me. I was born and raised in Leuven, where my family is still based, and I come here regularly for work – so the city will always be a part of me. Still, at the age of 23 I decided to study and work elsewhere, and relocated to Brussels.

Decision-makers in the art scene make it a key focus to collaborate with other cultural partners; and it’s precisely this network and communication which have helped to boost Leuven’s recent vibes and image.

What would you say is Leuven’s main appeal as a city? What gives it its edge?

There’s always something going on all year round: festivals, shows, concerts – you name it – with visitors flocking in from far and wide. Decision-makers in the (contemporary) art scene make it a key focus to collaborate with other cultural partners; and it’s precisely this network and communication which have helped to boost Leuven’s recent vibes and image.

On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city? What could it do better?

I think Leuven needs “free” spaces: less institutionalised places for artists, with affordable studios and a meeting point. I would also love to see more collaborations made with other cities, especially our francophone Belgian neighbours. The University and the art scene should be the ones to take the lead here.

If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?

I would take them for a walk to the little “balcony for smokers” at Aglaia Konrad, on the facade of the Flemish Brabant Provincial House – you get a great view of the city from there. Then, a trip to STUKcafé and their exposition, followed by a stop at the beautiful gothic St. Peter’s Church and M-Museum, and so on…

bamart.be/en/artists