Call for contributions to workshop

Artifacts in Intercultural Encounters

Project Workshop, Iași, June 30-July 1

As part of our investigation into how intercultural encounters have been shaping the global world and may contribute to re-learning to be human for present and future times,  this workshop will focus on artifacts and their role in the meetings between cultures. Artifacts are understood here as any objects, handmade or mass produced, that reflect a society or culture.

Culture, as an assembly of customs and habits regulating the behaviour and relations of a group of invididuals, materializes in objects; such objects may be works produced and displayed to illustrate a set of civic, artistic or spiritual values, or they may be goods manufactured with the local resources and skills. Be they traditional or modern, functional or decorative, religious or mundane, these objects re-present the culture to itself and to others.

Over time, cultures have communicated through the exchange and trade of such characteristic artifacts. In fact, the farther such objects came from, the more value they carried. That is because, beyond  their material worth, the foreign items we buy and sell, from the spices of ancient times to the gadgets of present day, also carry a historical, social and cultural value.

On this background, the workshop aims to explore the role of artifacts as vehicles of culture and mediators or intercultural encounters.  We are equally interested in approaching  traditional and modern artifacts, from any cultural area, with a focus on their value in contemporary times.

To this aim, we invite all project members to submit contributions in the form of:

1) papers, 5-7 pages, to be presented in person during paper sessions


2) posters, size A4 or larger, to be presented in person or displayed during poster sessions


3) image and voice recordings, 10-20 minutes, to be presented in person or shown during video sessions

Participants coming to Iasi are also invited to bring, where possible, an artifact they consider relevant for a workshop exhibition.

Please send an email specifying the type and title of your contribution by June 1 to and Contributions should be submitted by June 15 at  and


May’s theme: in the light of encounters

Having looked at intermediate spaces of passage like windows, doors and hallways and at the keys to unlock them, let us step into the light.

Light is this month’s theme and we invite you to illustrate and discuss it in the context of intercultural encounters. Can such encounters be enlightening? Does meeting the other put culture(s) in a new light?

Intercultural encounters: moving to the other

IMG3.1When passing one’s own cultural gate, an intermediate space opens up where the signs of one’s culture and of other(s) co-exist… The path features a new, unexpected opening – the opening above, the blinding light of the beyond offering that which cannot be anticipated or encompassed. Can you think of other such transitional spaces?

Intercultural encounters: the key

IMG2.3To pass the gate to cultural encounters and spiritual opening, it is necessary to find the key. We must each look for a key that fits our own horizon, our own gates back home. Some keys will not work, yet they must be tried. This too is part of the experience, preparing for what lies beyond…

Question: In your own cultural and spiritual environment, what are some instances of the cultural need of the other? What triggers the need to understand the other, the one belonging to a different cultural and spiritual space? Can you illustrate such instances with pictures?

Intercultural encounters: need of the other (continued)

IMG2.1In looking at this gate to the world outside – a gate carrying the combined marks of distinct cultural spaces and spiritual traditions – one meditates on the potentialities beyond the gate, on the possibilities of encounters as anticipated by their cultural and mental horizon. This time the search is not solitary; it is pursued in the presence of others at home.

Intercultural encounters: need of the other

IMG2.2Looking at a window that only suggests the need to see beyond one’s own space; a suggestion of the need of the other, of the encounter outside one’s culture.

The beginning of a quest for answers to questions which cannot be answered at home.

What can you see out the window? Illustrate with a photo.