Historical Archives of the European Union

The SEC Archives: A window on dialogue between culture and politics

The HAEU celebrated the newly opened archives of the Société européenne de culture with events on 11 and 12 November.

17/11/2021 | News

On 11 and 12 November 2021, the Historical Archives of the European Union celebrated the opening to the public of the Archives of the Société européenne de culture (SEC), which was transferred to Villa Salviati in 2016 following the signing of a deposit contract in December 2015. 

The meetings took place in the presence of the mayor of Fiesole, the deputy mayor of Florence, and archival directors and representatives from the national and local levels. Scholars, leaders and members of the SEC, and the archivists responsible for treating the archives, also participated in the two days of events.  

The speeches on the first day covered the history and future of the SEC and the reorganisation of the archive. On the second day, speakers discussed the relations between Italian and German cultural actors who animated the SEC in the 1950s and 1960s; the commitment of intellectuals to end the division of Europe and the Cold War through dialogue; the SEC during the presidency of Giuseppe Galasso; the relevance of politics of culture; and a review of audio-visual excerpts from the archives.

The SEC Archives contains documents from the entire history of the Society from its foundation in 1950 until 2010, including governance documents, documentation and correspondence from its founder, Umberto Campagnolo, materials from all of SEC’s meetings and initiatives, artefacts, and a collection of audio-visual materials. Since its founding, the Society has been supported by renowned intellectuals and artists from Europe and beyond, including Theodor Adorno, Norberto Bobbio, Benedetto Croce, Marc Chagall, Ilya Ehrenburg, George Lukács, Jean-Paul Sartre, Arnold Toynbee, just to name a few. 

The events in Florence were an opportunity to reiterate the need for the link between politics and culture. They also presented to the public of scholars a new archival source rich in potential for future research.  

On the occasion, the Board of SEC underlined the importance of the events which allowed members of SEC to participate in the opening of the archives either face-to-face or online (from Greece, Holland, Romania, Russia, Mexico and other countries), and also permitted others to approach the work of the Société for the first time.

SEC further expressed their warm thanks to the HAEU for the extended and accurate work done by their professional archivists, who spared no effort and no dedication to make the SEC archives accessible at their best. Finally, the Société assured its continued availability to future students to assist them in their research work and studies.

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