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Going public – Challenges of contemporary anthropology and folklore

Explore heritage and public culture & Learn to apply the theoretical and methodological tools of public anthropology, ethnology and folklore to the study of museums, archives and local urban culture in multi-ethnic and multicultural settings

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
28 April - 7 July 2023

In the last two decades, teaching and research in the disciplines of anthropology, ethnology, literature and folklore has been more and more moved into contexts with applied and public aspects. In doing so, the disciplines increasingly responded to larger social, political and ecological issues facing societies and collectives in the diversified Europe of the 21st century.

The ‘Public' here means a new shift in focus and knowledge production by concentrating on wider public issues related to e.g. inequalities and inequities regarding access to resources, racism, migration and diaspora, poverty, class and community conflicts, health and environmental challenges, social movements and activism, critical heritage studies regarding museums and archives, the study of urban culture, and academic engagement with local communities.

Main topics addressed

  1. Museums and archives (this includes institutional collections and heritage sites as well as - institutions (e.g. state-organised culture knowledge banks, non-professional heritage institutions such as the internet, embodied archives); critical museums studies and cultural mediation
  2. Folklore/local culture (comparative folklore, local/public folklore, urban folklore/urban culture, folklore and /in education)
  3. Migration, diversity, multi-ethnic dwelling (e.g. diaspora, transnationalism, conflict)

Learning outcomes

 Gain an understanding of what publically oriented social sciences and humanities may mean:

  • Learn about the prominent research and dissemination methods employed in the orientation of these disciplines towards a wider audience and develop a critical and constructive perspective on their uses
  • Explore and understand the ways and strategies through which local, regional, national and transnational identities are forged in the public sphere by means of joint academic and grassroots, i.e. community- and stakeholder-derived, exchanges in contemporary Europe
  • Expand and deepen the students’ knowledge regarding issues and challenges in the fields of material culture, local culture, urban culture, narratives/oral tradition, museums, archives and cultural mediation, diversity, migration, diaspora and transnationalism, as they have developed in the social sciences and the humanities with an emphasis on contemporary Europe
  • Appreciate the value of the comparative perspective when applied to the study of material culture, local and urban culture, narratives/oral tradition, diversity and migration in contemporary Europe
  • Receive training in these methods
  • Acquire an understanding of the interdisciplinary theoretical background of the methodologies used when addressing issues associated with the ‘Public’
  • Be able to use this knowledge to complete the tasks assigned to the students and solve problems that require critical thinking
  • Exchange knowledge across disciplines and universities
Dates: 28 April - 7 July 2023 Total workload: 160 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 6
Location: Sibiu, Romania Language: English (B2) 

Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

Physical mobility

The physical mobility part will be running from 3 to 7 July 2023. It will be held in Sibiu, Romania, in the open-air ‘Astra’ Museum.

The activities, which will last 4 hours each day, will comprise the following:

  • Preparation of projects based on fieldwork and/or interviews conducted by the students in Sibiu as part of their assessment tasks
  • Presentation of and feedback on the students’ micro-research projects, as part of their stream work, which will be shared with the entire BIP group
  • Keynote lectures
  • Visits to the permanent exhibitions in Astra Museum
  • Exploration of the multi-cultural landscape of Sibiu (known as Hermanstadt for the local German speaking community)

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 28 April 2023 to 19 May 2023.

The selected students will opt for one of the three streams and will join the lessons accordingly.

The three streams are:

  1. Museums and archives, critical museum studies and cultural mediation
  2. Folklore/local culture
  3. Migration, diversity, multi-ethnic dwelling.

Each stream will organise four 2-hour meetings on Zoom/Meet during which the following issues will be addressed:

  • The professors will introduce the different concepts and general theoretical and methodological practices of each stream (e.g. fieldwork methods, material culture, oral culture, narrative analysis, local and global culture and society, critical heritage studies, cultural mediation, representations in ethnographic settings, in museums and in archives, migration, exile, diaspora, diversity in society, multiculturalism, transnationalism)
  • The professors will provide the literature (including references on the research methodologies and methods) to be discussed during the online meetings;
  • The professors will present the assessment task and criteria in class and will provide feedback on the feasibility of the research projects chosen by the students (e.g. the adequacy of the research field, the appropriateness of the research methods employed by the student, etc.).
  • The students can start preparing their assessment tasks, which will be presented and discussed during the summer school session.


This course is open to Bachelor's, Master and PhD students at CIVIS member universities with a background in Humanities and/or Social Sciences. A B2 level of English is required as well.

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Interested students should apply by filling in the online application form by 28 February 2023.

Applications will be evaluated based on the CV and the motivation letter (around 400 words). 

More precisely, the evaluation criteria will be the following:

  • Interest in the project as expressed by the motivation letter
  • Personality, as perceived on the basis of the student’s CV and motivation letter
  • Fluency in English
  • Previous attendance of courses on subjects relevant to the ones taught in the BIP [not necessary, but a plus]
  • Involvement in community life (e.g. via activism, participation in voluntary organisations etc.) [not necessary, but it's a plus]

Apply now


Students will be assigned small research projects to be conducted between the end of the virtual part and either prior to or during the physical mobility stage in Sibiu. The assessment will be based on two pillars:

  • Conducting research and drafting the research paper
  • Presenting and defending the research paper during the physical mobility stage

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

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  • Karin Polit; Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Tübingen
  • Gabriele Alex; Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Tübingen
  • Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou; Associate Professor of Folklore Studies, School of Philosophy, Faculty of Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Georgios Kouzas, Assistant Professor of Urban Folklore, School of Philosophy, Faculty of Philology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  • Judith Dehail, Associate Professor, Laboratoire d'Etudes en Sciences des Arts, Head of the Cultural Mediation of Arts Sector, Faculty of Arts, Lettres, Langues et Sciences Humaines, Aix-Marseille Université
  • Adrian Stoicescu, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest
  • Gabriel Tamas, Assistant, University of Bucharest