On 4-7 September 2023, 22 participants from across the CIVICA alliance gathered at the EUI’s enchanting Villa Salviati, located in the Florence hills, for the third edition of the CIVICA Summer School. For the first time, the event counted the participation of master students, who were joined by guest speakers and early stage researchers for a fruitful discussion on 'Challenges of Transnational Democracy'.
This year, the theme covered six different areas: climate change; authoritarianism, populism, and nativism; boundaries; eurocentrism and (neo)colonialism; participation and deliberation; and global capitalism. Each was chaired by an expert in the field. Participants in the summer school had the opportunity to present a paper to the mixed, interdisciplinary audience of historians, political scientists, and legal scholars.
"We are bringing people together from all CIVICA universities but also from different disciplines, who at a regular conference or summer school would not necessarily meet and engage," said Franca Feisel, PhD researcher at the EUI Department of Law and co-organiser of the CIVICA Summer School.
"I think the key here is interdisciplinarity" noted Gildelen Aty-Biyo, a PhD researcher at the EUI Department of Law. Indeed, the interdisciplinarity was a strongly appreciated feature of the summer school. "It’s not so easy, as a scholar, to meet people from different departments or different areas, and you can often be stuck in silo," explained Mark Warren, a PhD researcher at Central European University. "This is a great opportunity to meet people from other faculties but also other disciplines, and to exchange views and broaden our knowledge."
For Beatriz Figueiredo, a master student at Central European University, the summer school offered a milestone opportunity. "It was quite exciting to be part of this summer school because it is the first time that I actually get to speak about my research," she explained. "It is also really interesting that I get to be with other people, get feedback on my proposal, talk on a subject that is interesting to me, and see how it relates to other people's research."
This year's CIVICA Summer School represented a unique networking opportunity for scholars, a fundamental aspect of pursuing research in higher education. "I think the summer school is definitely worth the time and investment from both master students and PhD researchers because of the networking opportunities it provides," said Joseph Finnerty, a PhD researcher at the Hertie School.
"The interdisciplinary aspect, which is at the heart of CIVICA, is an integral part of the summer school and really makes these kinds of engagements worthwhile and beneficial for broadening the horizons of my own research," he added.
This event is organised in the framework of CIVICA – The European University of Social Sciences. The CIVICA alliance brings together ten leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences. The alliance's mission is to create an inter-university campus for collaborative teaching, research, and innovative learning, while fostering academic excellence and global civic engagement. CIVICA was selected by the European Commission as one of the pilot European Universities in 2019 and confirmed as successful alliance in 2022 for its full roll-out under the Erasmus+ programme. Read more on civica.eu.