The Centre for Aesthetics, Religion and Contemporary Culture has been created, a meeting point between art and academia

The new study center, coordinated by Amador Vega, Professor of Aesthetics and Theory of the Arts at UPF, aims to be a welcoming place for researchers from all over the world and makes it available to society and of contemporary culture innovative ways of working.

UPF has recently created the Centre for Aesthetics, Religion and Contemporary Culture, which plays host to research, academic and artistic activities around religion, its relationship with the arts and literature, and its effects on the cultural movements of our time, while preserving the contexts of tradition that have made them possible.

The study centre, coordinated by Amador Vega , full professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory at the Department of Humanities, aims to project in a broader context the initiatives of the Association of Friends of the Haas Library and the Alois M. Haas Library research group. However, the new centre goes one step further, as it aims to be a place to welcome researchers from around the world and provide society and contemporary culture with innovative ways of working.

"The new study centre was created in order to publicize the links between academic research in the field of the study of religions and artistic creation, mainly in the contemporary world".

The Association of Friends of the Haas Library and the Alois M. Haas Library research group, were established in 2003 and 2008, respectively, to contribute to the cataloguing and dissemination of the collection donated by professor Alois M. Haas to UPF, which is available for consultation at the Library of the Dipòsit de les Aigües, and to conduct research on the issues related to the collection, such as the history of religions, Eastern and Western spirituality and mysticism, and aesthetics and art theory.

Interdisciplinarity from the academic and artistic perspectives and a place welcoming scholars and artists

The new study centre "was created in order to publicize the links between academic research in the field of the study of religions and artistic creation, mainly in the contemporary world", asserts Amador Vega, who in addition to being its coordinator is the principal investigator of the Haas Library research group.

Professor Vega explains that the Centre for Aesthetics, Religion and Contemporary Culture "seeks to welcome both scholars of religions and artists, with the idea of promoting activities such as exhibitions, but also conferences, seminars, performances, and so forth". Thus, "the benefits are obvious, as research reaches society not only through scientific publications but also through cultural activities".

The other UPF researchers who are initially members and have already worked together in previous filming and exhibitions are Raquel Bouso , Sergi Castellà and Ignasi Moreta , from the Department of Humanities, and Manel Jiménez and Ivan Pintor , from the Department of Communication. However, "it is open to researchers from other UPF departments who are working or interested in this field and we hope, therefore, their numbers will grow", Amador Vega assures.

A pilot project, involving Cesc Gelabert, which aims to put ideas in motion

The Centre for Aesthetics, Religion and Contemporary Culture aims to deepen into the connections between art and academic research, to integrate the perspective of contemporary artists in the research carried out by the university.

This is the goal of the Javier & Marta Villavecchia Fellowships call (which, from their creation in 2016 and until 2019 were known as Haas Fellowships), annual scholarships so that researchers from other countries can come to work at UPF, and were not announced in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Amador Vega explains that "because of the current situation, we decided to award these scholarship to ongoing art projects: the current one is a choreography by Cesc Gelabert (with whom we have done a master’s degree course together, "Llull movens"), based on an idea that I have been developing since I met the French playwright Valère Novarina a few years ago, who participated with us some years ago in the Haas Lectures".

Together, they are hatching the artistic project "Gelabert/Novarina: Les noms de Dieu ": From texts by Novarina and Amador Vega, and with the collaboration of researchers from the Department of Communication, the goal is to film a video that includes the presentation of a lecture in which there is dance and discourse. "Let us say that it’s an experiment to put ideas in motion, thus showing a different support in learning, in this case, philosophy and theology", professor Vega states.

At present, they are still locating spaces in the Library of the Dipòsit de les Aigües, and the script and the writing of texts still need finishing. "If the health conditions permit, we would like to present it live before the end of the year", he concludes.

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