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I value a strong character over strong grades

Master of Arts Christiane Vejlø has advised businesses, industries, institutions and the Danish government about digital trends and digital responsibility for 17 years. Read about what she remembers most from her studies at AU, and how her favourite teacher still influences her work – and what she values when she is recruiting.

2021.10.04 | Ida Hammerich Nielson

Christiane Vejlø, born 1973, runs the media and consultancy agency Elektronista which produces digital lifestyle content for a number of platforms. The company also offers consultancy on digital trends. Christiane Vejlø has a BA in the study of religion from Aarhus University and a MA in media studies from the University of Copenhagen. Photo: Ulrik Jantzen

What is your favourite memory from your university days?
I remember how proud I was when I started on campus. I walked through the green university park and entered the yellow buildings at the Faculty of Theology. I saw the university as the ultimate symbol of self-cultivation, and I felt like I was a part of history. Aarhus University is unique since it has such a beautiful location. I have many lovely memories of lectures ending with a pleasant atmosphere in the grass with some beers. 

Who was your favourite teacher?
I was really enthusiastic about Professor Hans Jørgen Lundager Jensen. He taught the Old Testament, and I remember him as the most wonderful old-school intellectual type with a sharp and understated sense of humour. He had a fantastic take on the stories from the Old Testament, which of course were often quite dramatic. Hans Jørgen Lundager Jensen taught me a lot about the structural similarities between different religions. I actually still find the structuralist method creeping into my work every so often when I analyse how different groups behave online. 

What piece of advice do you wish that you had been given when you started your first job?
That I shouldn’t focus so much on the label of my academic background, but more on what I have learnt and can use in practice. In all of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve drawn from a wide palette of philosophy of science, sociology, anthropology, the study of religion and cultural analysis. And since I’ve hired a lot of people myself now, I also know that in most jobs character usually counts more than grades. Being able to think in broad terms and draw from many subjects are some of the most important skills to possess if you want to have good ideas. So actually, I’d recommend everyone to immerse themselves in a wide variety of subjects. It’s the intersection between subjects that becomes extremely interesting. 

Are you still in contact with anyone from your time at AU?
I changed my main subject from the study of religion to media studies after four years. I have a little contact on Facebook with several people I studied religion with. I also have a very good friend from media studies, the author Thomas Wedell Wedellsborg. We met each other on the degree programme since we both were very focused on how we could use media studies in practice, and we were interested in the commercial side of the subject. Today, Thomas is in New York and writes books for Harvard Business Press, so he has done pretty well for himself. 

What are your current interests?
I’m very interested in the relationship between humans and technology. In fact, I have moved back to my point of departure over the past few years. By that I mean the philosophy and ethics that I was very preoccupied with when I studied religion. On a daily basis, I work a lot with responsible technology. I have advised two governments in the area and I’m a member of the Data Ethics Council. This means that in many cases I can use my voice to draw humanism into technology contexts. When I’m consulting, I actually often say that each time a company hires a programmer or an engineer, they should also hire an anthropologist, a theologian or similar. It’s all about the need to have humans and humanist thought to manage the technology. That way we can create a future we all want to live in. 


Read more about Christine Vejlø and her company Elektronista Media

Collaboration, Public/Media, External target group, Aarhus University, People news