Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ESSCS (European Summer School in Cultural Studies)

The ESSCS was incepted as an international forum for the development of cultural studies with a focus on new research methodologies and research organisation in a rapidly developing trans-disciplinary landscape. The relevance for such a forum was inferred from four needs:
The need to train doctoral candidates with background in the humanities in trans-disciplinary problems and methods in order to equip them to meet the new challenges arising in their respective fields of specialisation through the paradigm of cultural studies.
The need for a profiled European platform for the development and dissemination of the important, but fragmented research effort in cultural studies.
The need to enter into a dialogue with the contemporary art practices where new strategies for manoeuvring in a changing cultural landscape are developed.
The need to build effective and sustainable networks in this new field of research for doctoral students Each session of the ESSCS has been devoted to a theme of contemporary relevance for a broad spectrum of research in cultural studies.

The themes were chosen to stimulate interdisciplinary approaches accommodating both contemporary and historical cultural phenomena, to highlight methodological questions and to promote dialogue between academic endeavours and creative art practices. The themes for the four summer school sessions from 2007 through 2010 have been:
Ways of Worldmaking: Narratives, Archives, Media (Giessen).
Forms of Life: Artifice, Emergence, Generation (Amsterdam).
The Cultural Life of Crises and Catastrophes (Copenhagen).
The Cultures of Food, Eating and Cooking (London).

The four summer school sessions were organised with special attention paid to introduce new methodologies, to demonstrate trans-disciplinary research organisation, and to reflect present cultural problems and tendencies. Methodologically, focus has been placed on the transfer of concepts and approaches between different disciplines, in keeping with the general scientific experience in the humanities that new insight and new scholarly vistas are eventually inaugurated through trans-disciplinary negotiations. In regard to research organisation and design, the pivotal point has been to demonstrate how trans-disciplinary approaches can re-describe cultural areas and phenomena and how such approaches can be theoretically underpinned. As for the pertinence to actuality, the individual sessions have addressed some of the ways in which contemporary cultural tendencies crystallise in specific forms and expressions, and how arts and artistic practices use and intervene in these forms and expressions.

Reported by