Workshop on European Studies in Barcelona (May 10-12)

This is the workshop I am currently working on in collaboration with the ECSA (European Community Studies Association) President. It will take place in Barcelona (May 10-12).
The workshop is organized by ECSA World, the umbrella association for 59 national and regional European Studies associations around the world. The main idea is to map the situation of the European Studies both through geographical and disciplinary approaches.

On Situation and Perspectives for the European Studies

Workshop on Humanities in Barcelona: Humanities in a changing world (Feb 15th)

In a few hours, I will be participating as speaker in a workshop / roundtable about Humanities at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona (poster below). Here are some pre-event reflections:

Studying humanities is not about studying a course or a master’s degree, but rather an ongoing learning process through which we learn how to listen, communicate, think and reflect, in an attempt to better understand the social, cultural and moral geographies of our time and of other times.

Studying humanities does not make you a doctor, an engineer or an IT expert, but it makes you able to assess and understand the impact of science and technology on the quality of human life and on the molding of modern societies. In short: how they affect the human condition.

As Mark Slouka elegantly put it:
“The humanities, done right, are the crucible within which our evolving notions of what it means to be fully human are put to the test; they teach us, incrementally, endlessly, not what to do but how to be.”

Humanities ensure the survival and the flourishing of such democratic values as liberty, multiculturalism and pluralism, and they help us make sense of the world in which we live because, as Carl Sagan once said:
“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

Cultural Dialogue after the Arab Spring: My Scholarship Report Published (Jan 26th)

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) published a short version of my scholarship report that documents the symposium on ‘Cultural Dialogue after the Arab Spring’, co-organized on 28 October 2011 by the ifa and the Institut Carlemany d’Estudis Europeus (ICEE) of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) in Barcelona:

http://www.ifa.de/fileadmin/pdf/stipendienprogramm/symposium_report_mediterranean2011.pdf

International Symposium in Barcelona: Cultural Dialogue after the Arab Spring (Oct 28th)

Today I moderated the international symposium titled ‘The Mediterranean: Cultural Dialogue after the Arab Spring’, held at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) in Barcelona and co-organized by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) and the Institut Carlemany d’Estudis Europeus (ICEE) of the UIC. There were two European speakers and 4 Arab speakers that tackled the following topics:
– Art and Culture
– Democratic Transition & Human Rights
– Civic Participation & Social Networks
– Gender & Women’s Rights
– Europe’s Perspective

The symposium focused on the expectations of the Arab civil society as to what the EU could offer in the post-revolution phase.

Many thanks to Dr. Enrique Banús for the incredible effort and the so much help that he provided throughout the whole thing.

Teaching Cultural Management in Barcelona: School Year 2011/2012

Today I start lecturing on “Tools for Managing Culture” for the students of the MA in Cultural Management at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC) for the second year in row. Always a learning experience, always a pleasure.

Tertulia Gathering in Barcelona: Haiku Workshop and More (Dec 3rd)

Today I organized a tertulia gathering for my MA students at Els Quatre Gats, one of Barcelona’s most emblematic cafés, historically famous for hosting a vivid cultural life centred around tertulia, concerts and exhibitions. The idea was to revive the tertulia tradition and to share our creative artworks and talents. We also tried our hands and minds at writing some haiku verses.
Haiku is a short contemplative poem composed of 3 verses. It is a traditional form of Japanese poetry that was -supposedly- developed by a samurai master called Basho.
It must register a moment, sensation, or impression, and carry a sense of surprise. It’s like a snapshot capturing a certain moment in nature.
Simply: Haiku is a miracle of compression!

Here is a famous haiku:

A whale!
Down it goes, & more & more
Up goes its tail

Cultural Walk in Barcelona: Artistic & Literary Icons (Nov 21st)

Today I organized a cultural walk for my MA students in Barcelona. The idea was to explore the cultural life in the city and appreciate its cultural legacy.

These are some important terms in Catalan culture that were explained today:

Renaixença :
The Catalan Renaissance, a period of revival of Catalan language and culture in the second half of the XIX century. Its most important figures are Aribau, Maragall and Verdaguer.

Tertulia :
A cultural tradition similar to a cultural salon, which involves a gathering of likeminded people interested in art and culture to discuss recent updates and trends and share creative artworks. It was common in Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Vienna, Zurich and other cities.

Els Jocs Florals :
It means “Floral Games”. It is a cultural tradition involving competitions in poetry and prose. It was re-introduced to Barcelona in 1859. It has ancient Greek origins.

Modernisme :
Catalan word for Modernism, an art style that flourished in Europe between 1880 and 1915 (approximately). It had its outmost expression in Catalonia with the works of Gaudí, Cadafalch and others. It extended to painting (Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusiñol), to decoration (Josep Maria Jujol) and to literature (through Rubén Darío).