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Care, Agency, Repair, Engagement in Alternative Modern(c)ities (CARE)

Examine methods of integrating historically marginalised or excluded entities through restorative cultural engagement

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Art, Design and Media
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
27 February- 12 May 2023

Harvard academic and NGO founder Doris Sommer argues that ‘our responses to urgent challenges, which include inequality, violence, climate change, and migration, should include care for people and for the planet. Sustainable care will depend on the sociability promoted by the arts and humanities.’

Picking up Sommer’s challenge, this course captures for students a phenomenon that is widespread and significant, namely cultural responses to urgent challenges through engagement from the arts and humanities. The theory and practice of cultural engagement and repair is arguably in an expanding and evolving state, which makes for an opportune moment to share the area with the students, involve them in thinking about how to take forward research in the area, and connect to wider international debates.

Focused especially but not exclusively on Modernist, post-modernist, and contemporary cultural forms and media, the course will share with students a corpus that offers bold, alternative perspectives on contemporary challenges. Taught sessions will give students extensive opportunities to analyse and debate that corpus and, crucially, to offer their own suggestions for expanding the corpus.

Ultimately the course speaks to anyone interested in making a positive difference through culture and gaining experience in theories and practices of cultural repair and engagement. The course will be organised into strands that reflect the research concerns of the teaching team, which all connect to the overarching theme of CARE (Care, Agency, Repair, Engagement): Posthumanist feminist and intersectional approaches; Dada-surrealist cultural engagement; Transitive modernities and counter publics, exploring ways to improve literacy and response-abilities in relation to group dynamics, territorial migration and urban contact zones that integrate the vulnerable categories of citizens.

The practice-based activities and the simulation methods that the project shall implement will place the students in scenarios where they must actively propose solutions to solve social and cultural problems by interacting with the human-subject-of-knowledge thus encouraging compassion and a care-based epistemic. We prioritize social skills development in connection to cultural and artistic education that ensure both employability and efficiency of cultural repair.

Main topics addressed

  • Cultural repair strategies
  • Art and culture as means of inclusion
  • Multicultural environments, race and ethnicity
  • Visual languages and perspectives
  • Exploring an alternative cultural heritage
  • Queered narratives
  • New ecologies of the social
  • Cultural more-than-human biodiversity

Learning outcomes

The capability of formulating cultural responses to urgent challenges through engagement from the arts and humanities. By involving the students in the theory and practice of cultural engagement and repair the course helps them to take forward research in the area, and connect to wider international debates. By prioritising social skills development in connection to cultural and artistic education, the course ensures both employability and efficiency of cultural repair.

Dates: 27 February 2023 - 12 May 2023 Total workload: 160 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 6
Location: Bucharest, Romania Language: English (C1) 

* Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

The 6 ECTS course* will comprise a diverse spectrum of training activities, summing up to 160 hours distributed as follows:

  • 40 hours of theoretical-practical classes guided by professors (lectures, seminars, plenary-discussions, workshops) that would represent 20 hours in the virtual classroom (Google Meet) and 20 hours during the mobility week in Bucharest;
  • 8 hours of tutoring;
  • 2 hours of evaluation activities;
  • 110 hours of individual learning and teamwork projects developed together with other international students.

During the online workshops, teams will be formed based on common research interests and a teamwork project will be developed under the supervision of the professors. The outcomes of the projects will be presented and discussed during the in-person workshops. A complete syllabus will be made available one month prior to the beginning of the virtual component. Thus, the students will be allowed with the necessary time to prepare.

Physical mobility

The physical part will take place from 8 to 12 May 2022 at the University of Bucharest. The activities will comprise:

  • Discussion and presentation of the teamwork projects
  • Seminars on the practices of cultural repair and participatory problem solving based on professors' and students' portfolio and case studies
  • Encounters with local art-activists and minority groups and conversations about their artistic practices
  • Meetings with NGO activists and other stakeholders from the civil society
  • Itineraries exploring galleries, museums and cultural hubs in Bucharest and sightseeing outside the city.

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 27 February to 5 May 2023 (2 hours per week). All virtual sessions will be held during the evenings.

Types of activities:

  • During the introductory lectures, professors will present their analytical methods and case studies
  • The seminars include group work and plenary-discussions with students and other invited speakers
  • The workshops will be dedicated to developing co-created projects: organising students in teams, shaping research topics, developing the research projects


This course is open to students at CIVIS member universities. A Bachelor's degree for Master's students and proof of enrollment in a Master's or PhD program are mandatory.

Both a human science background and an ongoing academic enrollment in the area of the humanities will facilitate insertion within the international group of students as well as a better familiarity with the concepts and theories of reference that the lectures will explore, but should not be a limiting requirement for being admitted into the programme. Any area tangential to the field of the arts (literature, visual arts, performance studies, cinematography) could provide a suitable background, including philosophy, anthropology, history, sociology, political and international studies.

Language proficiency shall be no less than C level, which should allow students to actively participate in teamwork and plenary-debates and also be able to take full advantage of a program completely taught in English in a multicultural environment. An official certificate is not compulsory to register for the course but it is recommended to have obtained it for the selection of candidates.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 30 November 2022. 

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Academic or professional background in the areas relevant to the course
  • Ongoing research and activities in the field of studies related to the course


The method of assessment consists in a two-step evaluation process that will be planned in order to ensure that students' activities are supervised all along the duration of the course, resorting to mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative). Both stages will be graded jointly by at least two professors and a written assignment will be required at the end; a final project presentation will be scheduled by the end of the course individually, during the Exam Session. Both the written assignment and presentations will be in English.

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Stephen Forcer, Professor of French avant-garde, Head of School, Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Glasgow
  • Mehita Iqani, Professor in Africa Media Studies, Chair in Science Communication, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Ileana Marin, Associate Professor habil. in Visual and Cultural Studies, Head of Doctoral School of Research in Space, Image, Text and Territory, University of Bucharest
  • Kristina Fjelkestam, Professor of Gender Studies, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Stockholm University
  • Mina Karavanta, Associate Professor habil. of Theory, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, and Global English Literatures, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
  • Stamatina Dimakopoulou, Assistant Professor in American Literature and Culture, Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Angelos Evangelou, Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies, Department of English Language and Literature, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Raluca Bibiri, Assistant Professor in Visual and Gender Studies, Center of Excellence in Image Studies, University of Bucharest
  • Erica O’Neill, Assistant Professor, Department of Drama, University of Glasgow.
  • Aisha Fofana Ibrahim, Director of the Gender Research and Documentation Centre, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone
  • Marié-Heleen Coetzee, Associate Professor, Head of the Drama Department, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Stephen Forcer is a Professor of French at the University of Glasgow, where he is also Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. From a teaching and research background in Dada and surrealism, he is currently interested in the relationship between social problems and ‘avant-garde’ notions such as absurdity, incongruity, and the relationship between dark humour and violence. His involvement in this CIVIS course also reflects his general interest in the role played by language and culture in facilitating policy, meaning and progress in responding to major problems. 

Kristina Fjelkestam has a PhD in Comparative Literature and is Professor in Gender Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research profile is based in feminist cultural theory with a historical focus. She is currently interested in the research field of queer temporality studies, which combines queer theory with critical historiography. Previously she has pursued studies of cultural memory (i.e. what and how a society chooses to remember), as well as applied various research perspectives on the theory and practice of literary history - especially in the 18th and 20th centuries.

Mehita Iqani is professor and Chair in Science Communication at Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. She is the author and editor of several books on media, consumer culture, luxury, waste, and the global south. Her current research agenda focuses on action-research and communications on social justice issues: climate and the environment, including urban sustainability, renewable energy and activism; health and happiness, including vaccine cultures, eco-anxiety, waste and pollution; equity and inequality, integrating race and gender in the scientific public, ethical consumption and rural communities. Her aim is to support critical research that brings media and cultural studies approaches into issues-driven science communication research. 

Ileana Marin is Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies of the University of Bucharest, where she is also Chair of the Doctoral School “Space, Image, Text, Territory”. She has published books on tragic myths, Pre-Raphaelite artists, and on Victorian aesthetics of erasure and has written extensively on the de-humanizing power of art and the artistic legacy of communism as well as on the materiality of literary, pictorial, and graphic texts. Winner of several research grants, she has explored interdisciplinary dialogues between text and image and the transformation of artworks into cultural icons.

Mina Karavanta is Associate Professor of Theory, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, and Global English Literatures, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She co-edited Interculturality and Gender and Edward Said and Jacques Derrida: Reconstellating Humanism and the Global Hybrid and published in journals such as boundary 2, Callaloo, Feminist Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Symplokē. She has participated in Travelling Concepts (ATHENA) and Behind the Looking-Glass (AHRC). She is co-founder and co-editor Synthesis: An Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies. She has given invited talks in the US, Europe, the Caribbean and Australia. She has launched the CIVIS project, PostRacial Trans-Modernities and participates in the BIP project CARE.

Professor Marié-Heleen Coetzee lectures in Applied Drama and directing at the School of Arts’s Drama Department at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She served as Head of the Drama Department for a decade and as Chair of the Arts Cluster for four years. Her research centers on the use of drama and theatre-based methodologies in cross-disciplinary contexts and embodied pedagogies in performance praxis. She presents guest lectures, and papers workshops at national and international institutions and conferences, acts as an examiner at various institutions, publishes in academic journals, and presents creative work on various platforms.

Stamatina Dimakopoulou teaches US literature and culture at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has been Fulbright Visiting Scholar at New York University and has guest-lectured at Paris-Nanterre. She has published on transatlantic avant-gardes across literature and the visual arts. She is a founding member and co-editor of Synthesis, an Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies. She has co-founded Transitive Modernities, and participates in the CIVIS projects, CARE, and PostRacial Trans-Modernities. With Vassilis Vlastaras (Athens School of Fine Arts), she co-organised practice-based workshops to be followed by an exhibition at Atoposcvc. Currently working on a manuscript on home/lessness.

Angelos Evangelou is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Since 2010, he was Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature of the University of Kent. His research focuses on the border between madness and reason. Publications include Philosophizing Madness from Nietzsche to Derrida (2017) and articles in academic journals. Since 2015 he is a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy, and is an Honorary member of staff of the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Kent. He also participates in the CIVIS project on PostRacial Trans-Modernities and the BIP project Care.

Raluca Bibiri is Associate Professor of Film and Women's Studies at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies, University of Bucharest. She has authored two books on the concept of femininity in philosophy, psychoanalysis, culture and the arts. Her ongoing research projects focus on intersectional posthumanist methodologies exploring social exclusion and institutionalized forms of knowledge and power. She is actively involved in the exchange between academia and society as a documentary filmmaker, reflecting on the instrumentality of the historical archives for the production of new forms of knowledge about the past, through a wider, more inclusive perspective.

Aisha Fofana Ibrahim is an African feminist scholar and gender equality and social inclusion advocate based at the Institute for Gender Research and Documentation, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. She is currently involved in a number of gender related research projects that include artisanal mining, access to justice, gender based violence and disability (Liliane Fonds). She is an active member of the women’s movement in Sierra Leone and a lead gender specialist in the country providing technical support to the state government and national and international non-governmental organizations in the area of women’s empowerment and gender analysis. 

Erica O’Neill completed her PhD on the theatre of Tristan Tzara (University of Glasgow, 2020). She is currently a Lecturer attached to the Department of Drama at the Glasgow, and is working on a book version of her thesis for publication with Peter Lang. With Kathryn Brown, she is working on a special issue of Nottingham French Studies dedicated to Dada. Separately, she is also working with Stephen Forcer on a co-edited special issue of Dada/Surrealism titled ‘Approximate Humanism: Tristan Tzara’. Her contribution to this BIP course will focus on avant-garde activism.