Jessica Holzhausen (Editor, Historian)
I am a book person – I simply do not leave home without a book in my pocket or my bag. I love to delve deep into another world or another time and if I do most times I become so enraptured with the story that I do not even hear people calling my name. I can read everywhere, I think, even while walking. But that is dangerous as I have found out on some occasions, most times while wandering through my flat, book in front of my nose: Running against some piece of furniture can be quite painful.
But I am not only obsessed with reading, but with writing, too. I write since I was able to spell the first half-correct sentences. During my first grade in school I wrote funny letters to my parents, in my second my first story: “My teddy bear becomes alive” – two pages long and full of misspelled words.
Writing always was my saviour. I think that is partly a reason why I decided to become a journalist: my love for the written word. When I was really young I had thought about becoming a teacher, later I wanted to be a doctor. I even did a short internship in a hospital when I was fifteen – and was quite upset I was not allowed to visit the morgue. I thought that to be the ultimate test: If I could see a dead body without fainting I could become a doctor. I never did that test – so who knows? I had the idea that in being a doctor I could change people’s lives, make it better in some way. And that is the second reason for becoming a journalist: I still think that journalism can change things. As a journalist you do not only visit strange and beautiful places, talk with interesting people or give insight into politics or science. It gives me the opportunity to tell stories about people who are normally not heard or recognized in the media buzz. And change is always a question of awareness.
Today I work as a freelance journalist (radio, television, print – whatever I like best at the moment), I sometimes report news, but love to dig deeper and make long reports. In my spare time I write stories and articles, I like to photograph and still try to finish my PhD in History. I write about political myth using the example of how peasant revolts of the Middle Ages were used to create a modern identity during the National Socialist’s reign and in the GDR (former German Democratic Republic) as well as in non-authoritative states like the Weimar Republic and the German Federal Republic. In 2015 I finished my first documentary film “The Blacksmithess” (German, http://www.dieschmiedemeisterin.de).
Kevin Grecksch (Sub-Editor, Researcher)
I am a social scientist and postdoctoral researcher with a background in political science. I am currently employed at a well-known UK university where I do research on water governance issues.
As a researcher I am interested in social aspects of climate change adaptation. When people think of climate change they usually think of rising sea level, extreme weather events or global warming. All this is true but there is more to it. Public participation, better governance structures, new modes of thinking or overcoming barriers are just a few social aspects of climate change. My further research interests are environmental ethics, (water) governance, property rights, land reform and I am sure there are more to come. Being a researcher enables me to explore the different shades of a matter. The world is not and will never be black and white, metaphorically speaking. I like exploring problems, examine them and draw conclusions.
Already as a teenager I was interested in ‘how things work’ to put it simply. How is a country run, what makes a society stick together and more important these days what makes it fall apart. Seeing the big picture has always been my favourite interest. This has also lead to the decision to major in political science. As minors I enrolled in communication and media studies and what we call in Germany “Anglistik”, a combination of English literature, culture and language”. Studying political science I learned not only to analyse political systems and policies but also how events, decisions and theories are linked. Unfortunately we live in world that increasingly asks for specialists but in my opinion we need people who see the links between problems and issues. This is where I see myself and in my professional life. I try to add my puzzle piece to the world we live in.
As pupil I spent a year in Australia as high school exchange student and as university student I took an internship in London for several months. Hence, I am very fond of the English (language) and love reading novels, plays and poetry. I do enjoy the occasional Donne poem but I particularly like post-colonial literature and (post)modern fiction, the latter in English or in German. I am a very broad interested person and I like the theatre, enjoy photography and I am interested in art history specifically architecture. I also reckon that sports can be as addictive as smoking, drinking or chocolate. Swimming has always been my addiction and I have spent almost half of my childhood in swimming pools swimming lap after lap.
The reason I write for 20One Magazine? I believe people should never abandon to ask questions – questions about life, love, politics, society or the economy – even if the answers are not given yet. Unfortunately I have the strong feeling that nowadays many people, and I include today’s younger generations as well, have stopped asking questions. Wilfully many accept alleged freedom and security for what in truth is the opposite. Just think of video surveillance, humiliating security checks at airports, anti-terrorist legislation etc. They pretend security but in reality they curtail personal freedom. Freedom that our ancestors have long fought for.
Franziska Ritter (in South Africa)
I am a lawyer with a specialisation in contract law. Sounds bone dry, like dark cellars full of files and learning laws by heart. Nevertheless I decided to study law, because it focuses on one thing: fairness. I believe an essential part of fairness is to exercise the right to information. Only this way self-determined and independent opinions can be built and subsequently well-informed decisions can be made. This is why I am writing for 20one. I would like to participate in changing things or opinions and reporting about events, that rarely find a space among the day-to-day news stories.
I am also a creative person. I knit, craft and build every day and I am always looking for a good idea. My most important item is my camera, which I always carry with me. Already as a kid I loved stories. It had always been me who was telling bedtime stories or reading out loud magazines or books in a waiting room. Up to this date my love of a good story has not changed and often enough my camera helps me to tell stories or to imagine new ones, so that people can marvel or laugh or brood about them.
At the moment I am living in South Africa, a land that outside the African continent is only known for its high crime and HIV/AIDS rates or because of travel stories about Cape Town or the Krüger Park. But it is also a land full of curiosities, an amazing kitchen, art, a breath-taking biodiversity and a hearty welcome culture.
Lutz Kirchner (Historian)
I am interested in history since I was able to read books. It was my first option to study History, but I decided to study something with better future prospects first: Cartography at the Technical University in Dresden. It was an interesting and stressful choice but after three semesters I quit (even when I had read the physical formulas five minutes before I actually had to present them, I was never able to explain anything to the professor). Then I thought: Okay, study what you like and at the end see what comes next. So I did my degree in History and found a job near my home village.
I live in a barnyard near Dresden along with my parents. Although they do not have many animals, only chickens, ducks and geese, work never ends at the house. Homework and gardening are therefore my favorite hobbies (besides history).
Katja Puppe (née Skokow, Mediaevalist)
I always wanted to work about history, I wanted to learn where we came from, trying to understand why the world is as it is, for example where and why all these conflicts originated.
But how did it come to this interest? The reason may appear to some people as ridiculous, but I’m not the first person to which this happened – and I think I won’t be the last:
When I was eight years old, I saw for the first time in my life Indiana Jones. I was hooked, instantly. From this moment on, I never wanted to do anything else than history or archaeology for the rest of my life. My parents tried to convince me to choose a more profitable profession, but the discussions were just half-hearted, perhaps because they felt that they had no chance in persuading me.
So I enrolled in University of Leipzig for History and Classical Archaeology and specialised in the end in Mediaeval History of the Mediterranean. Currently I’m working on my PhD, researching the influence of the Venetian Reign over the coastal towns of 14th century Istria, considering the impact through the Patriarch of Aquileia and the counts of Gorizia.
In my judgment, it is always important to know about your history. It would make everything in the world easier if people would just understand, how things have developed. And one of the duties of an historian is to tell people their story.
And the best stories are still told by history.
Me at twitter: @Isaldaria
My special interests are culture and agri-culture. In my teenage years I was playing in many drama groups and I started gardening after finishing my university degree.
As the mother of an eight-year-old daughter I am interested in a healthy lifestyle with organic food. My ex-husband was a bee master in his leisure time. So I support all the ideas to keep a good environment for the bees as well. I am currently living with my daughter in a semi-detached-house with a big garden. After the divorce we took in a housemate, a woman of my age (37 years) from Kiev. My life is colourful and so are my opinions and thoughts.
I join the online magazine of my friend and colleague Jessica because of the possibility to write texts which are different from what we are normally doing at work. I am a radio journalist who started the professional career 20 years ago with “learning by doing” in a group of amateur film-makers (www.out-take-film.de). After some work experience I decided to concentrate on radio reports – the best possibility to organize my life with a job and a child.