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Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal

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Cultural production from Europe and Latin America in times of crisis: imagining other realities

An EU-funded project is shedding light on the role of cultural production – not merely in terms of cohesive narratives at times of crisis, but as a space to create alternative imaginaries for social renewal.


Dr Jorge L. Catalá-Carrasco, one of the project coordinators, explains: “The overall CRIC objective was to use literary studies, history, sociology, anthropology, film studies and visual studies to analyse processes of cultural production around the notions of crisis and renewal.” This is particularly important as crisis and renewal are thought to be two inextricably linked concepts in our societies. Project achievements CRIC has provided explanations for the nature of cyclical crises within the neoliberal model in Europe and Latin America since the 1970s to 2008, looking at the financialisation of social life and changes in established gender, ethnic and intergenerational relations. “Furthermore, we have organised 3 international conferences, 2 art exhibitions and 2 winter schools, and published 70 scientific publications that combine books, documentaries and journal articles,” notes Dr Patricia Oliart, project coordinator. The CRIC project, involving 4 universities in Europe and 4 in Latin America, has accomplished 96 % of all research stays (224 months out of 232), connecting 80 researchers travelling from Europe to Latin America and vice versa. “That was a tremendous collaborative endeavour that generated a rich network of researchers,” says Dr Catalá-Carrasco. Dr Oliart adds: “We were happy that 10 PhD students have initiated their studies, progressed in their investigations or finished their doctoral theses throughout the CRIC project.” Bringing researchers together “A major outcome of the project has been the community of researchers that we have built after 4 years of secondments across continents and many different joint activities,” notes Dr Catalá-Carrasco. At the start, the project brought together two separate networks from each of the project coordinators. Now, links and collaborations have developed in all directions, expanding both the networks and the areas of research they had before the project. Each researcher has expanded upon their own networks in the countries they have visited, not only within the institutions involved in the action but also from a wider environment. This has been enormously beneficial for the project’s research, networks and production. “We have greatly enjoyed the opportunity of spending time in academic institutions in Chile, Peru and Argentina,” adds Dr Oliart. The role that universities play in Latin American societies goes well beyond the academic realm. “The events we have organised through the project were widely attended and generated interest and repercussions that are not frequently seen in European contexts,” reports Dr Catalá-Carrasco. Reflecting upon the project The task of coordinating this project was very intense. In the end, the secondments involved 80 researchers. “This is why even though we managed to complete all the deliverables we had planned and a lot more, the experience has been so rich that we are still have pending work to be done before moving on to a next project,” says Dr Oliart. Future work will build on the partnerships the project has consolidated during these last 4 years. Dr Catalá-Carrasco finally states: “This is a very generous scheme.” Besides facilitating the production and dissemination of new knowledge in areas of research, it allowed them to learn, share their research with new audiences, involve leading academics in their activities and advance their individual careers. A video is available for further information.


CRIC, crisis and renewal, cultural production, Latin America, cultural narrative, neoliberal model

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