Our alumni board, personally speaking
Renate Heitmann is the managing director of the bremer shakespeare company. She studied English and cultural studies at the University of Bremen from 1987 to 1991.
Volunteering…that’s all well and good, but it also means work. Why do you serve on the board of the alumni association?
The interconnection of art and science is a really personal subject for me, as both an animating force and one that I incorporate into my work in the culture sector. Here I benefit a lot from my connection to the alumni association. For our project Galatea, for example, I have received really excellent support from Derk Schönfeld, the managing director of the alumni association, who has helped me a great deal in finding academics who we can involve in this project. And of course, with my knowledge of the cultural scene, I can also bring a lot to the table in the other direction.
What was an alumni experience where you thought: “Wow, what a great association!”?
As a matter of fact, it was the talk series that was part of the university’s 50th anniversary commemorations in 2021. In this series – “Just change the world” – I was particularly impressed by the talk on space travel. A huge subject, during the corona epidemic, with fantastic guests. For example, our alumnus Dr Hans Königsmann, who for years as a vice president at Elon Musk's company SpaceX was instrumental in advancing rocket technology on a global level. Or Marco Fuchs, head of the very successful Bremen-based aerospace firm OHB, who during the talk, quite some time before the war against Ukraine, spoke with such concern about the global political situation, which unfortunately is also mirrored in conflicts in space. This series was a very compelling event format that we as an alumni association should absolutely take up again.
When have you thought: "We could do better”?
It's hard for me to name something. I would rather make a note to myself: go to alumni events more often. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule, that's not always so easy.
Uni Bremen alumni in ten years: What will be different from today?
As an association, we have such a broad body of knowledge with our more than 4,000 academically trained members, and I hope that in ten years' time we can use the synergies between our many disciplines to offer a compelling forum for socio-political discourse in urban society.
About your time studying/working at Uni Bremen, what makes you say: “I wouldn’t miss that for anything!”?
I came to the university via the second-chance educational path and it was a gift for me to be able to study. After being a dental assistant for seven years, studying was almost like an “educational leave” for me. The project-based study programme was new at that time, we had a lot of freedom to engage with various subjects and we had great lecturers – for me it was a way to follow my interests and I found it very enriching.
When you’re not busy with alumni and the University of Bremen, what else is important to you in life?
My family. And I have a soft spot for dance theatre and I also enjoy travelling to other cities and going to the theatre and museums, that inspires me. But I also love being in nature, on my bike, walking, or even better, on my horse.