DSC3316 2048x1365October 6 the spaces of the Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy (VMU AA) were filled with a pleasant bustle – even before the official opening of the conference “Culture and Nature – Partners in Dialogue” organized by the Academy together with the University Network of European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC), dialogues and acquaintances that inspired cooperation were taking place. Openness to innovative ideas, international interdisciplinary discussions are an excellent medium for the initiation of new projects based on cooperation.

Before the start of the conference, the atmosphere of informal communication in the Academy spaces was created by the presentation and tasting of the products of the creators of the sustainable shopping platform LOKALI, which is located in Kaunas district. LOKALI brings together local producers, growers, developers and community members. In the store, customers find quality products made with love and care by local creators, services for the whole family, home, gifts, leisure time, while cooperating producers have the opportunity to sell their goods and refinance the socio-cultural life of the community.

Welcoming the gathered participants of the conference, the chancellor of the VMU Agriculture Academy prof. dr. Astrida Miceikienė drew attention to the successful example of LOKALI and emphasized the importance of heard and implemented innovative ideas and cooperation. The chancellor was pleased with the conference participants who gathered from many different countries and were ready to share their experiences, ideas and thoughts, and noticed that the Academy is becoming more and more open to cooperation, sharing experience and knowledge, and this event is a great proof of that.

“The world is changing, and we strive to be leaders, we pay special attention to science, research, innovation and – most importantly – people, thanks to whose efforts we can achieve common goals together. This conference is an international platform for exceptional interdisciplinary scientific discussions on the synthesis of culture, nature and technological innovation. This is an opportunity to build sustainable, collaborative relationships. Only by sharing innovative ideas, experiences and scientific research results can we be leaders in a world experiencing changes. We are glad that VMU Agriculture Academy was chosen for this year’s conference. The research carried out by our scientists is extremely important in the current context of the geopolitical situation, we are open to the dialogue between nature and culture, which is reflected in the reports of this conference,” said the chancellor of the VMU Agriculture Academy, prof. dr. A. Miceikienė.

President of UNeECC prof. dr. Flora Carrijn welcoming the audience pointed out that since the network was founded in 2006, the annual conference brings together experienced researchers, budding academics and PhD students to share scientific insights and collaborate with local institutions and artists. Prof. dr. F. Carrijn was pleased that the topics of culture, science, social well-being, as well as the consciousness in cultural consumption consumption of culture, sustainability and nature and new cultural thinking for this conference attracted interest. According to the professor, the selected topics respond to today’s challenges and open opportunities for international interdisciplinary dialogue and cooperation between representatives of different scientific fields.

Speaking about the uniqueness of this event, the chancellor of the VMU Agriculture Academy prof. dr. A. Miceikienė also noticed that international, interdisciplinary conferences that bring together representatives of different fields of science are always distinguished by their productivity and results. “While preparing for them, news about the organizing institutions spread widely, during conferences new innovative ideas are formulated, interdisciplinary groups of scientists come together, and productive cooperation continues even after the event ends – new meetings and other projects are initiated,” about the importance of events that bring together scientists from different fields for joint work speaks Chancellor of the VMU Agriculture Academy prof. dr. A. Miceikienė.

In the plenary part of the conference, the president of UNeECC, prof. dr. Flora Carrijn gave a presentation “Through the Looking Glass – Nature in Art as Cultural Metaphor through the ages”. “Balatorium”, a unique project developed in Hungary, was presented by “Veszprém-Balaton 2023” chief advisor for art and creativity Tan Togay.

During the conference, researchers and cultural representatives from various European countries shared their research results in three presentation sections: European Capitals of Culture, Culture, Science & Social Well-being, and Nature, consciousness and sustainability. The third day of the conference was crowned by the final plenary session and round table discussion. The discussion was moderated by UNeECC vice-president. prof. dr. William John Chambers. Insights were shared by UNeECC president prof. dr. Flora Carrjin, “Veszprém-Balaton 2023” chief advisor for art and creativity Tan Togay, UNeECC vice-president prof. dr. László Imre Komlósi, VMU Agriculture Academy professor dr. Vilma Atkočiūnienė, “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022” representative Lukas Alsys and UNeECC General Secretary dr. Edit Kővári.

“Culture changes people’s attitudes and behavior, helps them learn about natural phenomena. The integration of culture capitals and nature helps to achieve sustainability, but it is important to measure the impact. Scientists, together with the developers of the concepts of cultural capitals, are developing a methodology for measuring the impact, but there is a great lack of data, there is no universally accepted system of evaluation indicators”, – VMU Agriculture Academy professor dr. Vilma Atkočiūnienė commented the highlights of the round table discussion, adding that the organizers of cultural capital activities pursue various goals, choose different means of communication and strategies. “For example, Tartu 2024 has chosen as many as seven Sustainable Development Goals – 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15. This is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity to act in a purposeful way by introducing the principles of co-creation to create collective knowledge,” – said prof. dr. V. Atkočiūnienė.

PROCEEDINGS (KAUNAS 2022) - UNeECC Forum Volume 13. (published: 2023)

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Source: https://zua.vdu.lt