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Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CRIC (Cultural Narratives of Crisis and Renewal)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

"This project was important because we understand crisis and renewal as two inextricably linked concepts in our societies. Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru have in common that they share the Spanish language; they are all post-dictatorial countries; they all present social systems that are generally characterized by Western democracy, are post-Fordist, consumer-driven, and increasingly transnational. When this form of existence is in jeopardy, renewed sets of interests and values can be formulated along with projects to shape a new system. The 2008 crisis hit Spain with 25% unemployment, negative GDP and the highest percentage in the EU for perceived corruption affecting daily lives (63% while EU average is 26%) (EU Anti-Corruption Report 2014). Spain has been among the hardest hit countries in Europe, and exhibits the highest growth in social inequality over the 2007-2012 period. In this context, national protest movements, such as the Indignados (the Indignant), became very visible and have influenced the global #Occupy Movement around the slogan We are the 99%. Other responses to the crisis have given rise to cooperative and solidarity based organisations accompanied by intense cultural production and manifestations. The low impact of the current financial crisis upon most of Latin America, signals a new scenario of global interdependency rather than one of direct dependency, as was described in previous decades. Studying the cases of Argentina, Chile and Peru enable us us to interrogate cultural scenarios that have emerged after periods of deep social and economic crisis in earlier decades.

The overall objective of CRIC was to use different disciplinary approaches to analyze processes of cultural production in Spain, Argentina, Chile and Peru, around the notions of crisis and renewal. We used the category of ‘narrative’ to unravel cognitive strategies that operate in society, providing tools with which to understand, cope with, and move forward, imagining different configurations for social and economic relations, including changes in established gender, ethnic, and inter-generational relations. We have examined manifestations in literature, theatre, cinema, visual arts, photography and performance, as well as cultural and political representations and interpretations of relevant historical events by social movements, media, academic and political discourses. The secondments exchanges between European and Latin American scholars from diverse disciplines, allowed us to conduct comparative research.

We took a broad approach to the realm of cultural production, as embedded in the processes whereby we make sense of our lives and produce the meanings that configure our social worlds. The main objectives of the research were:
The action has progressed according to the scientific project and it has fostered training opportunities, publications and engagement activities, far beyond our initial expectations. It has also advanced personal careers and facilitated long-term partnerships. We have accomplished 96% of all exchanges and we have successfully completed all deliverables for the project and the 80 researchers who have participated of the exchanges, constitute a substantial network that has already generated fruitful collaborations emerging from the project. In this period, we continued our work engaging with local institutions, organisations and artists with whom we have developed extra activities that have further contributed to our general objectives, in the form of training, impact in local communities, publications and networking.

Work Package 1: Diachrony of crisis
Key contributions to this WP came from the area of literary criticism, central to the work of our colleagues at the University of Groningen and at the Programa de Estudios Latinoamericanos Contemporáneos y Comparados – PELCC in UNTREF. The events organised by colleagues from both institutions with participants from UACH, UNEW and UVEG, have explored the ideas of crisis and social and cultural transformation that flourished at the turn-of-the century and continued until the first half of the 20th Century. Cultural production responding to the neoliberal reforms that originated in the 1970s and continued until the 2008 crisis played a crucial role in both sides of the Atlantic.

Work package 2: Cultural and media production in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis
This research area produced enriching collaborations and joint endeavours from different fields of research. We wanted to examine the cultural production that responded to the crisis and to identify in it visions for renewal.
Our consortium involves two schools of journalism, media and communication studies, the Institute for Social Communication in UACH and the Department of the Theory of Languages and Communication Sciences at UVEG. In their work during the CRIC action, they have explored the diverse practices and places of enunciation for the creation of narratives in times of crisis.

Work Package 3: Spaces and forms of cultural production
The scope of this WP grew to a wider interest in social actors who, by their actions and performative displays, intervene in the understanding and societal processing of situations of crisis and visions and practices of renewal. The CRIC action engaged in co-produced events with other institutions and organisations to explore these issues. Important deliverables for this period were the international conference Narrative sequels: Experiences of Social Renewal in Europe and Latin America in Lleida in June 2017, the Refresh project, that took place in Cordoba, Valencia and Newcastle, involving high school and undergraduate university students over the whole period, and the series of events that took place in Buenos Aires with the suggestive title Pasado de Revoluciones, involving our colleagues in UNTREF, UNEW, in association with Universidad San Martin and IDES (Institute for economic and social development) on 10 and 11 April, 2017. Earlier in January 2017, a special event on indigenous Rap and language revitalisation mentioned above, took place in Valparaiso.
The CRIC project has produced impact at individual and collective level. One of the most obvious ways to evidence this impact is the successful generation of additional income that has allowed researchers to further their investigations and develop new projects linked to CRIC. For example, Prof. Carles Feixa (UdL), obtained in 2017 an ERC Advanced Grant (over 2 million euros) for the project “Transnational Gangs as Agents of Mediation: Experiences of Conflict Resolution in Street Youth Organizations in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Americas”. Dr. Yanko González (UACH) secured a CONICYT grant from the Chilean government for a two-year fully funded postdoc at Newcastle to finish his book on the collaboration between the Franco regime and the Pinochet regime for the organisation of political support among young people in the 1970s. As a result of her research on youth collectives in Peru, Patricia Oliart has acted as editor of an oral history volume on ten years of youth activism in Peru with OXFAM.

Throughout the four years of the CRIC project, ten PhD students have initiated their studies, progressed in their investigations or finished their doctoral theses.
Restoring the dictionary. Renewal exhibition by NOPHOTO
Sketching Newcastle book. Local NGO Time Exchange.
Presentation of Juvenopedia book.
CRIC researchers at International Conference. Newcastle, June 2015.
BUMM! exhibit in Lima. August 2016.
"""Ni una menos"" demonstration in Lima. August 2016."
CRIC documentaries
Poetry and Crisis book. Alternative publishing.
Groningen Winter School
Renewal Exhibition Poster
Refresh Project. Cordoba (Argentina)
Research activity in Buenos Aires
New Peruvian Cinema.
Renewal exhibition by NOPHOTO1
Workshop in Buenos Aires with CRIC members