Lecture “European Identities”

The lecture “European Identities” at Hochschule Darmstadt is a course with contributions from numerous colleagues from the EUt partners. The course is open for all students. It will start at Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 17:45 (CET). Interested students should contact:  bernd.steffensen@h-da.de

Europe is unique. The history of the continent is made of numerous conflicts, shifting borders, and longstanding hostilities. Regional differences, different languages, economic systems, religions, as well as climate zones shaped a heterogeneous family of nations. Nevertheless, the European Union offers the idea and vision of a territory, which on the one hand becomes more and more unified (socially, politically) and on the other hand keeps its regional individualities. Looking at political developments of the past five to ten years we see a growing nationalism (BREXIT, Hungary and Poland are two examples) and the increasing popularity of right wing politicians in various member states.

Week 1: Introduction and general information (Oct. 20) B. Steffensen (h_da)
Week 2: Culture of Remembrance (Oct. 27) B. Steffensen (h_da)

Week 3: The History of Europe + the European Union 1950-1989 – from a culture of Remembrance Perspective (Nov. 03) B. Steffensen (h_da)

Week 4: The History of Europe + the European Union 1990-2021– from a culture of Remembrance Perspective (Nov. 10) B. Steffensen (h_da)

Week 5: Economy and Peace (Nov. 17) B. Steffensen (h_da)

Week 6: We and the other – what is National Identity? (Nov. 24) B. Steffensen (h_da)

Week 7: Ireland: We have always been European: designing an Identity for Ireland in Europe (Dec. 01) Mary Ann Bolger (TU Dublin)

Week 8: Powerful Emotions and Forming Identity (Dec 08) B. Steffensen (h_da)
Week 9: (Dec. 15) – Romania or Germany *
Week 10: France: The strength and weaknesses of the French Republic (Jan. 12) – Thibault Vigier (UT Troyes)
Week 11: Latvian Identity: Perseverance Under Foreign Flags – (Jan 19) – Anete Beinarovica (Riga TU)
Week 12: Images of Bulgarian Identity (Jan 26) – Irina Georgieva (TU Sofia)
Week 13: (Feb 02) – Romania or Germany *
Week 14: Spain: The Influence of The European Identity on Spanish Society (Feb 09) – Marcos Ros Sempere (UPCT Cartagena, Member of the European Parliament)
Week 15: Resume (Feb. 16) – Exam

*Title of the Romanian Lecture: “Romania and Europe: Landmarks on a Long Road Together” (Petru Dunca, UT Cluj-Napoca)
*Title of the German lecture: “How to Tame the Big Country in the Middle of Europe? B. Steffensen (h_da)

The First Face-To-Face Meeting of the EUt+ Consortium Takes Place in Cyprus

From 20th to 24th of September 2021 Cyprus University of Technology, one of the 8 members of the European University of Technology (EUt+), hosted the first face-to-face meeting of the alliance since the work on its creation began in November 2020. The Riga Technical University (RTU) delegation consisted of RTU’s Rector Prof. Leonīds Ribickis, Deputy Rector for International Academic Cooperation and Studies, Prof. Igors Tipāns and representatives of RTU International Projects Unit, Foreign Students Foundation and Short-Term Courses Unit, International Cooperation Unit and Design Factory.

Throughout the week, RTU representatives participated in meetings and workshops dedicated to different Work Packages (WPs) of the EUt+ initiative. The initiative consists of 8 WPs with more than 200 deliverables the aim of which is to bring all universities closer together and facilitate the formation of a united confederation. The Cyprus meeting focused on the following WPs: WP2 – Europe for everyone: inclusiveness and embeddedness, WP3 – Common curricula spanning Europe, WP5 – Beyond mobility: feeling at home in every campus and WP7 – A single identity for global outreach, as well as different tasks under WP1 which is dedicated to the overall management and coordination of the EUt+ initiative.

During the meeting, workshops were held to introduce the branding strategy of EUt+ to WP2, WP3 and WP5, a Memorandum of Understanding for global outreach was worked out and the most effective strategy for global outreach was developed. WP7 representatives from all partners also discussed and described the structure and process of the news flow within and beyond the EUt+ consortium. The work within WP2 focused on Civic Engagement (CE), Industry and Employer Engagement (IEE) and technology transfer, whereas WP5 representatives finalized the Staff Mobility Incentive plan, which aims to facilitate the mobility of academic and administrative staff members within the EUt+ consortium. The Cyprus meeting also marked the kick-off of a new project for the EUt+ consortium – EUt+ Inno – which aims to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of EUt+.

On the final day of Cyprus meeting, September 24th, all 8 rectors signed agreements for the establishment of a Common Erasmus Office, Common Curricula, Common Student Board and International Coordination Team (ITCO). This day will be remembered in EUt+ history as the signing of the Limassol Agreement and will shape the future of the consortium.

The next EUt+ meeting is planned to take place in October, in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia.

Fourth Seminar of the ‘Thinking Human First’ Seminar Series to be hosted by Cyprus University of Technology

In the context of the European Culture and Technology Laboratory (ECT Lab+) seminar series, Media Arts & Design Research Lab (MADLab – Department of Multimedia & Graphic Arts) and the Department of Fine Arts, Cyprus University of Technology, invite you to a round-table discussion on the topic “Creative machines: Thinking about creative agents and artistic values”.

The roundtable discussion will focus on critical philosophical questions revolving around computational creativity, creative software agents and their aesthetic/artistic values. In particular, the focus will be on computational processes such as artificial intelligence and machine learning and their aesthetic/artistic values. Looking at creativity through a critical lens, can we assume that a computer exhibits creativity independently of a human creator or is agency a necessary part of a creative process?

Guest Speakers:

  • Prof. Katherine Hayles (UCLA & Duke University, USA)
  • Prof. Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling, UK)

Discussants:

  • Dr Marinos Koutsomichalis (MADLab, Cyprus)
  • Dr Efi Kyprianidou (Department of Fine Arts)
  • Dr Doros Polydorou (MADLab, Cyprus)

Date and time: Thursday the 30th September, 17:00 CEST (18:00 Riga time)

Zoom link:

Call for Proposals Open for the First Annual Conference of the European Culture and Technology Lab (ECT Lab+)

The European Culture and Technology Lab (ECT Lab+) is a structural unit within the European University of Technology (EUt+) with a mission to develop research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Science within EUt+ and to develop Science, Technology, Studies including philosophy of technology. In December 2021, ECT Lab+ is organizing its first annual conference, hosted by Technological University Dublin, (Ireland).

The call for proposals is open until 31st August 2021. More information on the conference topics and submission of abstracts can be found here.

Third Seminar of the ‘Thinking Human First’ Seminar Series to be hosted by Technical University of Cartagena

“Human First… and humans in the end” is the motto of the cauldron in which we are going to mix a selection of technological developments concocted in Cartagena, which will be served up in a two-course menu for the summer solstice. First: Human First. Technology devoted to help people with visual and hearing impairment, specifically in a learning context. BeMyVega aims at a more inclusive education, and this intervention will move beyond technical details to discuss researchers’motivation and rewards, social impact and feedback from final users. Second: the curse for the environment that we may represent, seasoned with a caring technology as a second chance to redeem ourselves and remedy environmental damage. From the use of light as a language tool for plant-human communication in the fight against global warming, to the local recovery of our Mar Menor coastal saltwater lagoon, remarkable contributions by UPCT researchers through nature-based solutions will be displayed. As a dessert, the UPCT-Bloopbusters team will tell us about their experience teaching Physics for engineers, while making the most of their passion for the Seventh Art. Scientific mistakes in films and hands-on experiments are used to help our students with complex aspects of their courses, develop critical thinking and rise awareness of their responsibility towards global challenges for their future professional career.

 

FIRST WITCH: When shall we meet again?

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

(Macbeth, Act I, Scene I)

 

Schedule

17:00-17:15 ECTLab Introduction. Noel Fitzpatrick – TU Dublin (English) and Local host introduction: José Luis Serrano – UPCT (Spanish/English).

17:15-17:30. Maria Carmen Martínez – Assistant Professor at the Department of Agronomical Engineering. “Light as a language tool for plant-human communication”

17:30-17:45 María Nazaret González – Biologist, PhD, Contract Researcher (Saavedra Fajardo program). “Nature based solutions can help us, but only if we help them:the case of the Mar Menor Coastal lagoon”.

17:45-18:00 Ángel Molina – Professor at the Department of Electric Engineering. “Use of Technology to improve accesibility and inclusion in education: BeMyVega”

18:00-18:15 UPCT Bloopbusters – Enrique Castro y Juan Francisco Sánchez Assistant Professors at the Department of Applied Physic “A methodology of teaching physics and technology concepts using movie scenes and related experiments”

18:15 Q/A in local host language and/or English.

18:25 Wrap up: José Luis Serrano –UPCT (Spanish)

18:30 Conclusion: Noel Fitzpatrick – TU Dublin (English)

 

Join from the meeting link

Second Seminar of the European Culture and Technology Lab+ ‘Thinking Human First’ Seminar Series to Take Place

The discussion of the second seminar within the ECT Lab+ ‘Thinking Human First’ seminar series will focus on the quality of interpersonal relationships in the context of social media. The patterns of behavior projected in the cyberspace and the “colonization” of the human cognitive world with outer content, manipulation, idealization and /or omnipresent commercial messages are important factors in this context. To what extent, despite the advantages of digital communication, does it reproduce the preconditions for emotional alienation and difficulties in maintaining of full value relationships is the main question of the discussion. It is an attempt to clarify the benefits and harms of online communication and to explore new forms and ways of emotional experience of the technologically engaged individual in order to offer opportunities for prevention of counterproductive influences.

Date and time: Thursday the 27th of May, 17:00 CET

Webex link: https://utt.webex.com/utt-en/j.php?MTID=m2e4f6aa9412b02b69f3ced3d8a97a317

 

 

EthiCo – Project Focusing on Ethics and Ecology in Technological Education

As a member of the European University of Technology (EUt+), Riga Technical University (RTU) is committed to strengthening its relations with all EUt+ partners not only within the European Universities initiative, but also by implementing other joint research and cooperation projects. One of the projects aimed at broadening cooperation among all EUt+ partners is EthiCo – an Erasmus Strategic Partnership (KA203) project with the aim to develop new approaches to ethics and ecology in technology education. The project is coordinated by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick from Technological University Dublin (Ireland) who is also leading a structural unit within EUt+ – the European Culture and Technology Lab (ECT Lab+). All ECT Lab+ partners are also actively involved in the EthiCo project: TU Dublin, University of Technology of Troyes (France), Hochschule Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Riga Technical University (Latvia), Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Technical University Sofia (Bulgaria), Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus) and Technical University of Cartagena (Spain).

ECT Lab+ aims to develop research in the arts, humanities and social sciences within EUt+ and focus on science and technology that includes philosophy of technology. EthiCo is the first ECT Lab+ project that has received funding and its importance is explained by Prof. N. Fitzpatrick as follows: “With the advent of ecological transition, ethical and ecological questions have tended to converge in relation to the development and impact of technologies; the focus of the project will be to develop ethical frameworks in order to better understand the ethical implications of technological development in and for society in a time of transition.”

ECT Lab+ partners are currently developing a new project application that will add an additional dimension to the topics addressed by EthiCo and focus on the study of aesthetics. For more information about the EthiCo project and the work of the ECT Lab+, please contact the International Projects Unit of RTU: Anete Beinarovica (anete.beinarovica@rtu.lv)

European Culture and Technology Lab+ Kicks-Off the ‘Thinking Human First’ Seminar Series

The roundtable discussion of the first seminar will focus on the question of ‘Thinking’ in the statement ‘Think Human First’. The question of what does it mean to think (human first) has become urgent with the growth of AI and social networking platforms and the immanent nature of climate change. There is an inherent tension within the statement to “think human first”, which on the one hand implies recentring technological development on human(ity), such as ethical and societal implications of technology, on the other it implies that a privileging the human (anthropocentrism) has led to the climate disaster (Anthropocene). The panel will set out to pose the question of ‘thinking’ in the 21st Century.

Date and time: Thursday the 29th of April, 17:00 CET – 18:30 CET

Webex link ECT Lab+ Seminar: https://utt.webex.com/utt-en/j.php?MTID=m8dc3917832f17bce91c3bf626dfc3111

Governing Board of the European University of Technology Meets for the First Time

On 26 January 2021, the first European University of Technology (EUt+) Governing Board meeting took place, gathering student representatives and rectors of all involved universities, as well as external experts. Following the preventive measures for COVID-19, the meeting was held in a safe online environment.

In the first EUt+ Governing Board meeting RTU was represented by its Rector, Academician Leonīds Ribickis and the President of the Student Parliament, Lāsma Līga Reisa. The Head of the International Projects Unit of the International Cooperation and Foreign Students Department and the coordinator of the initiative at RTU, Kārlis Valtiņš, also participated.

During the meeting, Tine Delva, representative of the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture of the European Commission, delivered a presentation on the “European University” initiative of the Erasmus+ program, which is employed in the development of the proposal for creating a uniform EUt+ alliance. A deeper insight into the regulations and the terms of reference assigned to the EUt+ Governing Board were also provided, emphasizing the Board’s role in achieving a common goal. Its successful implementation is based on the following activities:

  • formulating the EUt+ position within the long-term strategy of all universities involved;
  • promoting student and staff mobility among the alliance’s partners;
  • aligning the content of engineering education at the European Union level.

The rectors of the universities involved in the EUt+ development process gave presentations on their institutions, while the student representatives discussed various issues related to the representation of students’ interests within the alliance.

The eight members involved in the creation of the EUt+ are: RTU, University of Technology of Troyes (France), Technological University Dublin (Ireland), Technical University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus), Hochschule Darmstadt: University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and Polytechnic University of Cartagena (Spain).

6.25 million EUR have been allocated for the implementation of the project.

RTU Participates in the First Online Meeting of the European Universities

On 4 November, Rector of Riga Technical University (RTU), Academician Leonīds Ribickis, Kārlis Valtiņš, Head of the International Projects Unit and Oleksii Avdieiev, student representative of the European University of Technology (EUt+) at RTU, participated in the first webinar “European Universities – first and second call” hosted by the European Commission.

The rectors from all 41 European University Alliances that received funding in the first (in 2019) and second call (in 2020) came together. The rectors discussed the transformational potential of European Universities, the support of the EU Member States for the initiative, as well as emphasized the important issue of student involvement in the development process of the projects.

To emphasise the importance of student engagement for the European Universities Initiative a parallel session for students of all funded alliances took place. The workshop gave students the opportunity to discuss best practices and to share their visions and recommendations for establishing European Universities.