Guests from the Transform4Europe took over the University of Silesia in Katowice for a week! We all participated in three splendid events: T4EU Week, the Festival of European Culture and the PhD Conference.
The University was visited by over 200 students, PhD students and employees from nine countries: Germany, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, France, Portugal and—of course—Poland. It is the second time we could see how great our European University looks like and experience its unity and diversity.
On the first day, T4EU guests took part in an integration picnic at the pedestrian area in front of the USil Rectorate. They indulged in games prepared by the USil University Sports Association and listened to the performance by the Silesian Brass Band. It was a perfect opportunity to establish your first international connections.
And so the T4EU Week started. This year’s theme was a fair transition toward climate neutrality. We focused on various aspects of transformation ahead of post-industrial regions.
Within the educational stream, students took part in various classes. Within the ‘Languages for Lunch’ initiative, our guests had the chance to learn the basics of Polish during classes conducted by lectors of the School of Polish Language and Culture as well as teachers and students of the International Polish Studies. Prof. Giovanni Bacaro from the University of Trieste delivered the lecture ‘Green Transition and the City: UrbanForests for Human Well-being.’
The administrative employees of the T4EU University listened to the lecture ‘Erasmus+ Capacity Build for Higher Education (CBHE) projects – application and implementation’ delivered by Noelia López del Castillo and Olga Bloshchinska from the University of Alicante.
The guests took part in several integration workshops on, e.g. the idea of design thinking or good practices in obtaining funds from the European Union for the implementation of various projects.
T4EU Week 2023 is also a chance to exchange experiences in education and research in law and related fields such as administration, entrepreneurship and business. Participants of the research stream met at the USil Faculty of Law and Administration to discuss, e.g. law education using augmented reality.
Katowice was also a meeting point for T4EU PhD students who gathered at their international conference, this year organised under the slogan ‘City – Liberty, Identity, Innovation.’ They were talking about what a city is and the role it has to play in the modern world. Together with experts of many disciplines from various places around the world, they took a look at the phenomenon of the city from various points of view, e.g. historical, sociological, political. And all that was happening in Katowice – the heart of the Metropolis GZM consisting of 26 cities. The once industrial capital of Poland is now also recognised as a region of great music festivals, green transformation and developing science.
The Festival of European Culture brought quite some thrills as well. Our guests participated in a wide array of over twenty workshops prepared by the University of Silesia community. During the workshops at Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School at the University of Silesia, they learnt about visual effects in films, photography, the art of new media, discovered Polish film music and learnt how to work with actors. They also tested their skills in camera work. On the other hand, art classes at the Faculty of Arts and Educational Science in Cieszyn took students on an adventure throughout the world of ceramics, graphic design, theatre and dance. Students had a chance to attend some exhibitions, too.
The visual identification of the Festival of European Culture T4EU 2023 has been designed by Prof. Kaja Renkas, and thanks to the graphic designer Iwona Pomianowska, it has been put in motion and animated.
The most prominent point in the programme was the Gala Concert at Karol Szymanowski Music Academy in Katowice. It was then that we listened to the premiere of the Anthem of the Transform4Europe! The piece was composed by Adrian Robak, PhD, Assoc. Prof. from the USil Faculty of Arts and Educational Science, and performed by over 200 instrumentalists and choir singers during the Concert. Karol Szymanowski Youth Symphony Orchestra from the secondary-level National Music School was supported by: the ‘Harmonia’ Choir of the University of Silesia, the Academic Choir of the Silesian University of Technology, the mixed choir from the mentioned music school, and Sofia University Ensemble St. Kliment Ohridski.
Transform4Europe Week was also a chance to discover Upper Silesia, the region of Zagłębie Dąbrowskie and Cieszyn Silesia. The guests were exploring Katowice, including Nikiszowiec – one of the most distinctive districts of the city. They also embarked on a walking trip throughout the Środula district in Sosnowiec. The district is the background of a considerable part of the story in Maus by Art Spiegelman, one of the most famous graphic novels of all time.
Some of the guests visited the Shepherd’s Centre for a demonstration of regional cheese making and talk on shepherd culture and the Koniakow Lace Centre, where more than a century-old tradition of Koniakow lace-making is cultivated. They also listened to the performance by the ‘Istebna’ highlander band.
Photo by Matylda Klos