News>9th interdisciplinary conference of the UNeECC

9th interdisciplinary conference of the UNeECC (6)


The University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC) will hold its 9th annual conference in Pilsen, Czech Republic, European Capital of Culture 2015.

The conference will be hosted by University of West Bohemia 29-30 Oct 2015.

Pilsen   is the fourth largest city in the Czech Republic. It is located in western Bohemia. It is an important industrial, commercial, cultural, and administrative center. The city was founded on the confluence of four rivers - Uhlava, Uslava, Radbuza and Mze - by the Czech king Wenceslas II in 1295. Situated on the crossroads of two important trade routes and close to Prague, Pilsen experienced an immediate rapid growth. Its population is 165, 000 inhabitants. (;

The rich cultural and economical standard of life in Pilsen is particularly enhanced by its heritage. In 1989, the ancient town center was declared a historical landmark to be carefully preserved. The rich architectural gems here include Gothic St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Renaissance City Hall, Baroque reconstruction of the Archdeacon’s house and Franciscan Monastery, and the recently re-opened Great Synagogue of Pilsen. Many Pilsen public buildings, such as the city theatre, museum, the Burgher Hall or houses with Mikolas Ales’s sgraffiti, date back to the 19th century. 

Industrialisation took off in the 19th century. At that time, such industrial giants as the engineering complex Skoda and the Pilsen Brewery were established. Nowadays, the modern industrial zone in Borska Fields represents an extraordinary project in the Czech industrial sphere.

In an effort to increase the quality of education in the area, the University of West Bohemia was founded in the city in 1991. The array of secondary schools, grammar schools, and art schools is impressive. Several international institutions are also located here: Alliance Francaise, the British Library and the Austrian Library. The spiritual tradition of the city was strengthened when the Bishopric was opened in 1993. Performances in the J. K. Tyl Theatre belong among the most valuable traditions of the Pilsen culture. 

Pilsen is a center of international cultural events and festivals that include the Smetana Days, the Theatre Festival, International Drawing Biennial, Skupa’s Plzen, and the International Big-Band Festival. The Pilsen Cultural Summer offers various open-air-stage concerts in the city center. 

Given the numerous woods and rivers that surround Pilsen, recreational possibilities for the citizens and visitors are numerous. Short day trips to outlying historic sites can be also easily made from Pilsen.

Pilsen 2015 - The European Capital of Culture - The Four Pilsen Streams

Since the very preparation of Pilsen’s entry into the competition for the European Capital of Culture title, we have been working with four themes: Arts and Technologies;Relationships and Emotions; Transit and Minorities; and Stories and Sources. Through the language of art, the Flagship Projects reveal the meanings of those themes related both to Pilsen and the European debate. We build on the heritage of personalities connected with Pilsen, using it as inspiration for looking into the future, as motivation for new ideas. The theme of Arts and Technologies also encourages communication with what is inherent to Pilsen and that is industry, crafts, and business. With this in mind, we are seeking a way to link these two worlds at the Centre for Support of Creative Business – the creative incubator at DEPO Cukrovarská. Relationships and Emotions refers to public space in the most general sense – what public space looks like (from art in public space to urbanism), how we treat it (from neighbours to city officials).

The theme of Transit and Minorities will be examining our relations with minorities living close to or far from us, certainly determined also by the fact that Pilsen lies on a busy route to Europe and is rich enough that it needs plenty of foreigners to live and work here. Stories and Sources are then the connection linking all the above themes. Without searching and exerting effort to understand our history, identity and memory, we are hardly able to look into the future. It is thanks to this theme that we can discover the hidden Pilsen and the Baroque treasures in its surroundings as well as explore our position in Europe!

The focus of the first stream of the programme, Arts and Technologies, is on the creation of sustainable jobs in the creative and cultural branch and the build-up of the city’s image in European contexts. We concentrate on the value of responsibility and promote the creative domain in general,, and matters such as skill and creativity more specifically. Here you will find a large retrospective exhibition of Jiří Trnka, a magnificent New Circus Season festival and a series of projects making reference to the industrial history of Pilsen, collectively titled Imagination Factories.

The programme stream Relationships and Emotions focuses on public space in general – the transformation of the physical public space in a collective effort with citizens, officials and architects – as well as on moderating a discussion of European issues.

The programme stream Relationships and Emotions introduces a Flagship Project under the title Public Space consisting of several component projects and stages: the Foster the City programme invites the public to engage in a discussion about public space and has been running since 2012; Melina Mercouri Day, presenting active initiatives in the city, has been held since 2011 and assumed an updated format this year – European Neighbours’ Day. The artistic programme will culminate in a presentation called Zen Pilsen – The City as an Exhibition. The second Flagship Project, Hidden City, is a broad participation platform as well as a tool for tourism innovation and services. An important part of the project is also our current effort to create a legacy in the form of a large archive, the content of which will be available for future reference.

The third stream of the programme, Transit and Minorities, shows the power of diversity and interculturality through projects centred on minorities and a series of moderated discussions, open workshops and exhibitions. The Flagship Project is simply named Lindauer and is comprised of three exhibitions. The West Bohemian Gallery is preparing an exhibition of Gottfried Lindauer. His portraits will be exhibited for the first time in Europe. There are a separate two further exhibitions based on the story of Gottfried Lindauer or drawing inspiration from his work.

The last stream of the programme is Stories and Sources, intended to promote tourism based on personalities connected with Pilsen, such as Adolf Loos and Ladislav Sutnar. It also attracts attention to the Pilsen Region where we utilise the riches of the vast Baroque heritage. 6 Weeks of Baroque, promoting the West Bohemian Baroque brand, was held in 2014, giving visitors a taste of the Baroque festival which in 2015 will be expanded to 9 Weeks of Baroque, filled with music, fireworks, tours and festivities across the Pilsen Region.

2015 Conference theme

Development, Art(s) and Culture

The conference theme can contain many areas of interest, including but not limited to the following topics:

  • Urban Development through Culture and Art (The Value for Development)
  • Arts, Culture and the Making of Cities: Creating New Urban Landscapes
  • Development of Culture and Art
  • Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship (Start-up, creative incubator etc.)
  • Economic, Social and Cultural Impacts of ECoC
  • Theorizing Art and Culture
  • Challenges and opportunities in Art and Culture

For the conference Development, Art(s) and Culture we want to invite papers from scholars in any field of research who want to share their disciplinary insights in the matter with colleagues from other disciplines.

UNeECC wants to stimulate the interdisciplinary debate among scholarson the annual conference theme and the exchange of ideas and good practices betweenacademics and practitioners working with and in European Capitals of Culture (ECoC).

We expect contributions from political sciences, sociology, psychology, urbanism, geography, economy, history, cultural and literary studies etc., but we would also welcome papers from less evident fields such as medicine, epidemiology, engineering, architecture etc.

We are inviting papers from universities and other institutions of higher education that are located in cities which are, have been, or will be designated European Capitals of Culture, or from individual scholars, local administrators and cultural managers involved in the ECoC programme or other actors and networks where the study of culture constitutes an important part. On top of that we want to invite practitioners from European Capitals of Culture and universities situated in them to share their experiences and good practices in dealing with culture and growth.

To stimulate interdisciplinary debate and the exchange of insights and good practices we will cluster the conference sessions around similar topics, scopes and practices, rather than on disciplines or particular situations. A selection of the papers will be published in UNeECC  Forum. ISSN: 2068-2123

Conference practicalities

The conference will be held in English. Participants are invited to bring copies of their presentations or a substantial abstract.

Overhead projection and PowerPoint facilities will be available. Time allotted to each presentation will be 15 minutes with an extra 5 minutes for questions and answers.

We very much encourage professors, teachers, researchers, young scholars and junior faculty to participate. We also invite papers from undergraduate and graduate students.

Students should indicate their student status (graduate or undergraduate) when presenting a proposal.

Abstract submission

Please read carefully the 2015 conference theme above and indicate precisely to what category of presenters you belong: a scholar who wants to make a contribution from a disciplinary point of view, or a practitioner presenting a paper on good practices. Presenters should also explain how their paper proposal fits in with the overall theme of the conference. Abstracts should not be longer than one page and should contain the following items:

a) Category of presenter (scholar/practitioner)
b) Title of presentation
c) Name(s) of presenter(s)
d) Title of presenter
e) Organisation (either university/faculty/department and/or entity within another organisation) & country
f) Mailing address, phone & fax number, e-mail
g) Key words (maximum five)
h) Body of the abstract
i) Justification of the proposal within the conference theme

Abstracts should be informative and clear about aims of research and discussion of results.

Participants may submit one or more presentation proposals electronically or by post to:

Mrs Daniela Preda
Secretary General of UNeECC
Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
10 Victoriei Bvd.
550024 Sibiu
Tel +4 0269 210512
Fax +4 0269 210512

The deadline for receipt of proposal (title, abstract and keywords), including authors' names, institutional affiliation and address, is 26 June 2015.

Late proposals may be considered if space is available. Applicants will be notified of the acceptance of their proposal by 15 July 2015. Registration will be open in July 2015. The UNeECC website - - will contain registration forms and information regarding hotels and registration fee.

The registration fee for the presenters from UNeECC member institutions is 120 Euro, for presenters from other institutions is 150 Euro.

For PhD students of UNeECC member institutions the registration fee is 90 Euro, while for students from other universities it is 120 Euro.

NOTICE: Participants must register for the conference. Presentations and presenters will not be listed in the printed programme if the presenter has not registered. Please consult the UNeECC website – – for information on registration, fees and additional information.

For any additional information about the conference, feel free to contact Mrs Daniela Preda.

About UNeECC

The University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC), an international non-profit association, was founded in Pécs, Hungary in December 2006, by 15 founding members.

The creation of UNeECC originates from the recognition of the fact that the prestigious European designation of being a European Capital of Culture is a special asset for Universities and establishments of Higher Education based in European Capitals of Culture in as much they can utilize this experience to stimulate new forms of academic and educational institutional collaboration.

As it is stated in the Statutes, the general aim of UNeECC is:

a) to ensure the recognition of the role and contribution of universities to the success of the cities conferred the title "European Capital of Culture"

b) to provide the member universities with a possibility of a continuous and full participation in the European Capitals of Culture movement enhanced by "Universities of the Year"

c) to foster inter-university cooperation to develop and reshape the universities regional position to create new activities for city and university collaboration

At present UNeECC has 44 members. The activities of the Network and its members are constantly updated on the UNeECC-website (

We would like to invite all universities and establishments of Higher Education situated in European Capitals of Culture who have not yet joined UNeECC to do so, by consulting the web site at or by contacting Mrs. Daniela Preda.



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