By Chiara Cocco and Leri Price
In May 2023, members of the IRC visited Berlin to take part in the Transformations in European Societies (TiES) doctoral programme. TiES connects doctoral students and academic staff from selected universities in Scotland, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Israel, and Denmark through a biannual programme of seminars and presentations.
The programme examines European societies in a state of change, tracing the effects of these changes and situating these reflections within a global context. TiES provides a platform for students to present their work and receive feedback from peers and professors, and to establish links that may result in future collaborations.
The network is usually hosted by one of the member universities, which also offers its members a chance to visit different places and experience their culture. This spring meeting, themed ‘Creative Transformations’, took a slightly different form as it was kindly hosted by the Museum of European Cultures. Dr Alastair Mackie, an affiliate member of the IRC who obtained his PhD at Heriot-Watt, organised the meeting in Berlin and made sure to keep the participants busy with exciting activities and events.
In line with the theme of the event, students and staff had the opportunity to engage creatively with the various topics of the programme. Dr Katerina Strani started off by chairing a thought-provoking workshop about fieldwork and creative methods in research. Following on, Dr Britta Kalkreuter encouraged professors and students to reflect on the future of TiES through a half-day living lab. Although not a formal part of the programme, both professors celebrated their birthdays in the course of the week, a TiES first!
On the last day, students and staff were not just given a tour of the Museum, but participated in a workshop where they were tasked with creating an exhibition about their interpretations of the meanings of Europe.
Doctoral students from the IRC Leri Price and Chiara Cocco also attended the meeting, with Chiara presenting an update on her doctoral project about cultural festivals in Europe.
Meeting peers from all over Europe and sharing knowledge has been crucial for forging strong links that result in cutting-edge collaborations. As an example, three student members of TiES, including one current and one former HWU student, have established a podcast that communicates anthropological theories to non-academic audiences.
HWU is proud to be a member of TiES, and to encourage its students to build strong links with colleagues and institutions across Europe.