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Cultural Encounters (2013-2016)


In 2013, HERA provided €18.9 million to fund 18 international project consortiums across Europe, bringing together networks of researchers under the theme of ‘Cultural Encounters’.




The following countries committed to this programme:

LithuaniaLuxembourgThe Netherlands
SloveniaSwedenUnited Kingdom

Focus of the projects

The 18 projects centred on general historical and theoretical issues, as well as those that investigated more specific and exemplary aspects of cultural encounters.

These projects explored the phenomenon of cultural encounters in the following terms:

  • Spatial: within geographical frames
  • Temporal: in contemporary time, as well as in long-term historical perspectives

About the theme

History shows that interactions between individuals and groups are among the most formative dimensions of human endeavour and social change. Involving dynamics of synergy and friction, cultural encounters can be accompanied by profound displacements and reconfigurations at social and political levels. This can result in conflict, segregation and the formation of diasporas.

Yet cultural encounters also enable new forms of community and collective identity, and have stimulated large-scale innovation and renovation across European and other societies. They have resulted in new forms of knowledge and profound transformations in cultural practices, as well as new forms of communication and creativity.

To understand cultural encounters is to understand the history and meaning of Europe and the world, from the earliest periods of human settlement to the present day. The ongoing processes of identity-making within Europe and elsewhere are fundamentally the result of various forms of cultural transformation, conflict and adjustment.

These processes have arisen from and are influenced by a myriad of factors, including communication, intellectual exchange, ideological contest, technological change, economic development, trade, war, occupation and political consolidation. These processes of encounter and migration – of people, ideas, goods and objects – have impacts all the way from the micro level of individual lives to the macro levels of ideology and societal institutions.