Every historical period has its specific cultural configuration, its specific diversity of cultural praxises and publics, its cultural institutional settings and its conflicting cultural ideologies, its tensions between cultural tradition and renewal.

Of course, since the rise of Academy, the humanities have always been part and parcel of the vital dynamism of cultural change. There has always been an intensive interaction between the broader cultural field and the academy, though it may be hard to pin it down. The question addressed at this conference is to reflect on this complex interaction in the present time.

Many questions arise where the intersection between the humanities and its potential public is at stake. How to characterize and analyze the diversity of the current cultural situation? Which are major tendencies in the global/regional/local cultural configurations. Expansion and diversification seem to be key-words here (think of complexity of the integration process in Europe in a global context of migration): what is the role the humanities should and could take in this process? How is the public segmented, what are they getting out of their specific aesthetic practices, and how do they use it?

How are the cultural institutions changing to adapt themselves to the changing situation, which new institutions and practices are arising? What are the implicated or contested idea of citizenship and identity behind these trends?

And then the Academy. What is an appropriate concept for/of the humanities? How do the humanities attach to public culture(s)? What can the humanities learn from solutions in other cultural sectors? What does aesthetic education look like today, and what should be its aspirations? Should it be adaptation or critical re-education?

You can view a copy of the 2005 meeting brochure here.