“Invisible Cities” was not created overnight. In order to get everyone on the same page, the team received an extensive briefing about “The Kindly Ones”, the play with which “Invisible Cities” is affiliated. The remainder of the first week and part of the second were spent in masterclasses and group discussions where we discussed many different questions ranging from small questions like: “Isn’t this word a little suggestive?” to bigger issues like what to do with people who did not want to be photographed. Their stories are also worth telling, but how are we going to make them visually attractive?
Those and many other questions sparked lively debates, many of which were held during the masterclasses. The experience of writer and journalist Robert Vuijsje, interviewer and director Anastasia Mikova and photographer Sanne De Wilde proved to be invaluable in resolving these debates.
In the making of this portrait gallery, as we like to call it, we were often confronted with our own prejudices. We assumed a lot of the stories would be sad, but while every one of the people we interviewed has gone through tough times in their life, a lot of them have learned from the hardships they went through and are doing amazing things now.

Theatre maker Guy Cassiers is the director of the play “The Kindly Ones”. With this performance, Cassiers confronts the darkest side of human behaviour: the Nazi’s body of thought and the annihilation of the Jews. He collaborates with previously named Erwin Jans. What makes “The Kindly Ones” so interesting according to Guy Cassiers, is the realization that you would have done the same, if you were the main character.


Anastasia Mikova is a French journalist of Ukrainian origin. She was 1st assistant to the director and editorial coordinator in charge of the journalists team of the film “Human”. For ‘Human’, Mikova has worked with Yann Arthus-Bertrand, a famous French photographer, journalist and reporter. In order to make this film, she travelled around the world and interviewed no less than 700 people of all origins. These people talk about what makes us all human. Anastasia Mikova points out that there is an important link between ‘Human’ and ‘Invisible Cities’: making people visible. Both projects present people who have never been heard with the opportunity to tell their story. And in the end, you realize that everyone has a story.


Dramatist  Erwin Jans is currently working on a new theatre performance based on the novel of the same name “The Kindly Ones”. The novel tells its story through the eyes of a SS-officer during World War II. He also developed a longread filled with stories about the war, which are also mirrored to current events.

Erwin Jans talks about the impact the theatre performance could have. “There’s a lot of information about the Second World War and the Holocaust, but the story is always told by the victims. In “The Kindly Ones”, the victims are not visible. Only ‘the guilty ones’ talk about the experience of killing innocent people and the remorse they feel.”


Robert Vuijsje is a Jewish Dutch journalist and writer. He wrote for Nieuwe Revu and De Pers. His debut novel ‘Alleen maar nette mensen’ (Only decent people) won a ‘Gouden Uil’, which is a prestigious Belgian-Dutch award. The book was also nominated for the Libris Literature Price. His second novel ‘Beste Vriend’ (Dear friend) appeared in 2012.

Vuijsje interviewed numerous famous Dutch people with foreign roots for De Volkskrant. This particular series of portraits was the main reason to invite Vuijsje. He is of Jewish descent and can relate to the feeling of being excluded. Therefore in his masterclass he mainly presented the students with tips with regard to interviewing people who are excluded. He also talked about the important influence journalists have in telling stories.


Sanne De Wilde, a Belgian photographer who likes to depict people in a natural and beautiful way, people who are often frowned upon by society. On her website you can see some of her work with albinos of the island Samao Kekea and ‘small people’ in southern China. Her experience with these kinds of people were a welcome addition to the students’ knowledge on how to proceed in making the interviews on the site.

This project was realised by Toneelhuis and the Journalism students (Television, Online and Print) of AP University College. Local newspaper Gazet Van Antwerpen caught wind of it and was immediately on board, publishing one interview daily for a week. They ended the week with an interview with some of our students, presenting them with the opportunity to discuss the project and what it meant to them. Below you can see the images of the printed articles, with the link to the online version on the newspaper’s website.

The theatre play ‘The Kindly Ones’ has also caught the media’s attention, as director Guy Cassiers has done several interviews on the performance, one of which was also published in Gazet Van Antwerpen. You can find that interview below as well.

Image by photographer Joris Herregods.

The following Journalism students (Television, Online and Print) participated in Invisible Cities:

Wijnand Van Doesburg
Sofie Van der Heyden
Janou Maris
Cara Baplue
Nick De Schutter
Lucas Wuyts
Simon Torfs
Hannelore Bara
Julie Van Puyenbroeck
Gioia Arduini

Cederick Wildenburg
Marjolein Van Berendoncks
Nathalie Hamaekers
Nanigui Patel
Mike Bierque
Anke Dirix
Elien Van den Brande
Thibeau De Vos
Hanne De Groodt
Sander Bral