Elizabeth Schultz-Lorentzen Holstein, 20
Elizabeth Schultz-Lorentzen Holstein is a writer, human rights activist, and rollerskate dancer living in Copenhagen, Denmark. She credits her unquenchable curiosity of the world to her former English teacher, who encouraged embracing cultural differences and had the impressive ability to make everyone feel like their voices were desired and heard.
In 2015, University of Copenhagen nominated Holstein as the Junior Researcher of the Year and published the findings of her high school project, which examined how fine art influences a better understanding of different cultures. Young Creators, Holstein’s interviews of 56 Danish youth on the subject of policy, art, hopes, and dreams, and dispatches from her rollerskate travels through Denmark, will be published by Ordskælv, a Danish nonprofit writing and publishing center, in conjunction with the Danish Arts Foundation.
Holstein’s own childhood experiences of struggle inform her present-day advocacy for the wellbeing of children and the less fortunate. She believes that words and art have the power to change how strangers perceive and empathize with each other. Holstein writes to challenge the experiences of others with the intention to promote change in thoughts and habits that influence prejudice. Currently, she is focused on being instrumental in aiding the disadvantaged by way of her writing. She intends to practice law in human rights and social justice all over the world. Holstein calls writing her peaceful weapon in the world.
A preface to Young Creators, a publication by Ordskælv, a youth writing center in Copenhagen
by Elizabeth Schultz-Lorentzen Holstein
The journey begins in the past—in a Denmark among youth who still know neither educational limitations nor Brexit nor Trump's takeover of governmental power in the United States. Instead, we jump back to 2012. I’m wearing my red side-by-side roller skates, drawing four parallel tracks behind me as I’m rolling through the rainy streets of Copenhagen. A notebook and a pen lie safely and dry in my pocket.
I stop. I reach for the notebook in my pocket. I flip it open. The pages are coated with handwritten sentences that are interrupted by drawings, manuscripts, scores and other squiggles. They belong to different young people, whom I have met in the streets while sliding through Copenhagen on my roller skates. I asked them to write or draw something in the notebook. Although their experience of how to convey their ideas through the pencil varies, it is deeply fascinating how they all have something at heart. Actually, sometimes it’s the least technically skilled who are the most courageous with ideas and throw themselves into the task right away, whereas the experienced drawers hesitate until they reach a beautiful result.
It was these roller skating rides that created the foundation for Young Creators. Why not publish a book—a physical testimony!—about young creations in 2018. Too many young people create
beautiful works, but often their productions only end up at a website on the internet and disappear amongst a myriad of others’ pieces. It has always been a struggle for young artists to grow out of the basement darkness and into the light of day, but this book aims to shed light on the artistic powers of young individuals—and the importance of nursing creative expressions in young people in today’s society.
The book is a journey through Denmark. We begin with Nora in Melby, and then travel across Zealand and Funen, all the way up to North Jutland, moving across the Faroe Islands, ending up with Laurids from Bornholm. The reader is acquainted with the 56 young Danish people. We are presented with their artistic ideas and personas via interviews. Some questions are repeated, while others are tailored to each of those interviewed.
Thus, the book outlines trends for the Danish youth in 2018, while showing the individual's personal experiences and creative expressions.
The book would never had become a reality if I hadn’t accidentally met the happy and ever-inspiring Karen Siercke. She is the founder of the non-profit publisher Ordskælv (meaning Word-quake), and immediately believed in my project.
A year goes by. The Young Creators held an exhibition at The National Gallery of Denmark. Hereby, an artistic community has begun to grow and spread across Denmark—and it is wonderful to attend!
So, have a nice read and keep rolling.