Report From the Network-wide Seminar in Aarhus

In June, ITN participants - ESRs, supervisors, members from the Scientific Advisory Board as well as a group of associated researchers - met in Aarhus to discuss central themes in and the progress of the research project. Elisa Zocchi has shared her experiences of the event in this report.

ESR workshop

Report from the Network-wide Seminar in Aarhus, June 2017

Human Freedom and Dignity in the Western CivilizationJune doesn't only mean summer - not for the members of the ITN, reunited for three days in the windy Aarhus for the second Network Wide Seminar. ESRs, supervisors and some old and new partners got together for the second time, the first having been the starting meeting in August 2016 in Canterbury. A long year of researches and studies has passed, and this meeting has been the perfect opportunity to share the first steps made and to analyze some common questions and problems. The kick off was given by Prof. Cyranka and Prof. Stengel's introduction on a question implicit in our project's title itself - "the Western as positioning." This was followed by Prof. Kobusch’ lecture on the modern concept of freedom and Zaynab El Bernoussi's presentation of her research on the concept of dignity in the Arabic spring, which offered occasions for a lively discussion, as did also the afternoon presentation on reception theory as a methodology for our project presented by Prof. Pollmann and one of the ESRs, Michael Raubach.

History of Human Freedom and Dignity in the Western Civilization

The day was very rich with questions that concern almost every single project; it was, therefore, useful to interrogate ourselves on the proceeding of the overall project in light of reflections of some members of the consortium. It was amazing to see how many steps have been taken from our first meeting in Canterbury and how many questions have been raised that involve every member of 

History of Human Freedom and Dignity in the Western Civilizationn

such a varied and manifold research work! It was particularly great to see how everyone, in light of his or her personal fields of interest, could bring a particular perspective to the discussion: not only professors but also ESRs, after this first year, could bring in many reflections and made the conversation extremely lively. The second day started with a session on job market advice for PhD students, while the entire afternoon saw the ESRs and the supervisors divided into three groups. Here, each ESR had the occasion to present their projects and to discuss it with professors and colleagues, to receive useful advice on how to proceed and to look at the project with a different perspective. This was, in my opinion, the richest part of our meeting: not only did the possibility to share my research with other members of the consortium help to better understand where I am going, it also gave me the chance to see what my colleagues are discovering and how they are working, to interrogate myself on my proceeding and to ask for help about my weaknesses.

In the evenings, we visited different places in Aarhus for dinners, which were nice occasions for talking more informally with each other. However, on one evening, we combined the fun with a more practical matter, as Prof. Elena Rapetti and Andrea Bianchi, one of the ESRs, had prepared a “dissemination game” in relation to their work with our overall dissemination strategy. This was an exciting and fun event, which also brought about a lot of ITN keywords and key messages to the table. Thus, our Network Wide Seminar was also the best occasion to learn how the project is realizing the Dissemination Plan and to look for key messages as part of the communication strategy, which clearly is an important part of our job. 

Looking forward to all the future appointments of the project (the Origeniana in Jerusalem, the AAR panel and the panel at Ischia's philosophy conference – occasions where some of the ESRs are going to present their work), this Network Wide Seminar was the best occasion to collect input and energy, together with a broader perspective on the goal of our work.

Elisa Zocchi