A group of 15 students and three staff members from the new bachelor course of ‘Culture Lab’ at the Amsterdam University College (AUC) visited Cyprus for two weeks, in order to study the impact that the role of European Capital of Culture is having on Paphos. The course is being taught by Prof Dr Murray Pratt (Dean of AUC), and Dr Pedram Dibazar (AUC lecturer and tutor).
Floris Cobben, the course organiser, noted that they are trying to encourage their students to engage in experiential learning, by bringing them to Paphos, and thereby adding a more hands-on kind of learning to the curriculum. He also highlighted that the students have varying academic backgrounds, and so they have also been engaging on different levels with the Paphos2017 events.
The students also met with various stakeholders in Paphos2017, including organisers, artists and local academics, the goal being to give them a proper understanding of the context by exposing them to all facets of the events. They also learnt more about the conflict dividing Cyprus during their weekend visit to the capital of Nicosia, giving important insights necessary to contextualise their research.
Cobben said that students study one of the three majors, the humanities, social sciences, or the sciences. Some students are studying anthropology, and have been looking into grassroots cultural movements, whilst others with an international relations background are more interested in topics such as European identity.
Students Els van Dam and Andrea Haefner have started an Instagram page titled “Europeans of Paphos”, and are conducting interviews with locals and stakeholders. They are exploring European identity and its relation to the European capital of culture. Another project by Teus Hagen explores how the Pafos2017 logo aims to reflect the city, and examines how logos function more generally when attempting to reflect a city’s identity, in just a single image, across multiple cultures throughout Europe.
Depending on the type of project, students have collected different kinds of data. Some have undertaken interviews, others have taken photos for visual analysis, and some are researching using online resources.