DEPAK- Organization for Cultural Development.
Municipality of Kalamata
The Department of Cultural Studies, 1996-99
The Department of Cultural Studies (Τομέας Λόγου) explores Greek social life, history and culture, local and national, through symposia, conferences, exhibits, educational seminars, publications and public education programming.
The Department supports and engages in research projects for salvaging and reconstructing the local history and culture of the region of Messinia (Southern Peloponnese).
The Department is committed to promoting the region of Messinia and the city of Katamata as regional centers of intellectual exchange of national and international relevance.
The Department designs and implements annual or multi-year thematic programs. This type of programming enables and promotes linkages between a multiplicity of disciplines and arts which are brought into dialogue through the Department’s public events. Thematic annual or multi-year programs reflect our committment to a life-long, university level education opportunities in public education.
Director: C. Nadia Seremetakis
PROGRAM OF EVENTS 1996 – 1998
The City Remembers:
Kalamata 10 years after– The Earthquake of ’86
A multimedia event exploring the experience of natural disaster and trauma as a crucial social, scientific and political process. It features lectures, visual and scientific exhibits, including a special exhibit on objects of memory donated and narrated bv the citizens and a children’s interactive learning/play space.
The exhibition space functions as a crucial place of memory for the victims and survivors of the earthquake and their families and friends, and as a learning/participatory space for the numerous school students who visit the exhibits and contribute with drawings.
The Past in the Present
(Part I & II)
Two events exploring archaeological knowledge from the perspective of regional history and culture. The various lectures, discussions, and exhibits constitute a search for the poetic, philosophical encounter with hidden, invisible and forgotten time in the experience of excavation and in the sensory passages carved into the past by ethnographic fieldwork – thus opening dialogues between the disciplines that investigate the worlds of the dead and those that explore the societies of the living.
The Past in the Present. Part I
History and Material Culture in Messinia
A multimedia event on the important excavations in Messinia bv Greek and foreign archaeologists and physical anthropologists, including the active contribution of the various Ephorates of Antiquities, and significant field research in local pottery-making and weaving.
This event features public lectures and discussions, continuous video presentations, and major exhibits on photography, books, collections of antiquities from ancient and modern times, and new archiving methods and interactive visual learning technology.
The event is open to school tours.
The Past in the Present. Part II
Philosophical and Poetic Journeys in Time and Space.
With word and image, through a melange of readings, lectures, film and video screenings, this event transports us from Cavafy’s unending trek to Ithaca, to the deep passages of the archaeologist’s excavation, the ethnographic journeying of the anthropologist, the documenting of the folklorist and the imagining of the writer to the vision – quest of the documentary photographer and film maker.
It searches for the diachronic, cross cultural experience of “excavation” and investigates the field of excavation itself as a theoretical medium for knowledge. This event proposes the field of “excavation” as a flexible site, in-the-making, bringing excavator-narrator and audience in an antiphonic dialogue, where one completes the interpretation of the other.
Eros and Thanatos
Eros and Thanatos are intertwining concepts and existentials in ancient and modern Greek life, thought and art, that cross cut various philosophical, literary and poetic currents. Featuring readings from great poets, writers and thinkers of the past, from Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean, highlighting spoken word performances by contemporary Greek women poets, and culminating in recitations and music concerts of Greek popular lyric and displays of film and book exhibits, this event explores the abiding passions of Greek sensibility across the centuries.
The Greek Contribution to the Making of European
Culture and Democracy
This conference commemorates the local and national holiday of Greek Independence. The 1821 revolution was the first modern nationalist uprising in Europe and both captured the imagination of, and dynamically influenced, European political thought. Greece’s committment to democracy has in part been based in its particular cultural institutions such as those that gave birth to revolution in the Kalamata area. Today the continued democratization of Europe will be based on the ability to recognize and tolerate cultural difference of the type that gave birth to Greek democracy.
The Olive Tree: A Historical and Cultural Harvest
For millenia the olive tree had provided sustenance, heat, light, cleanliness and natural beauty, all of which are integral components of the Mediterranenan character and experience. Through lectures, symposia, multimedia presentations and displays this event will present a social-historical biography of the olive tree from the perspectives of archaeology, social history, ecology, technology, anthropology, literature and the arts.
The Publishing History of Kalamata: The Creation of
a Reading Public
The development of publishing is tied to the emergence of modern Greek democracy in Kalamata in 1821, and expanded to include a wide variety of textual media, newspapers, books, pamphlets, posters, advertising media all of which contributed to the literate and visual culture of the city. This event will reconstruct the history of publishing, the various reading publics that emerged in the city from the 19th century to the present and will explore current and future trends in the reading and discursive culture of the city.
In collaboration with known publishing companies, the Department organizes evenings of acquaintance with significant books, presented by their authors and critics.
Celebratory presentation of selected notable personalities and their life and work. This instituted program begins with personalities from Messinia and embraces the rest of the Peloponnese.
The Department of Cultural Studies
Because of the interdisciplinary character as well as local – level and international agendas of the Department’s programming, special events often require original research. Through field work and archival research, the Department is in the process of building regional cultural resources in the form of archival materials, including visual, textual and artifactual objects. These collections are temporarily or permanently displayed at the Department.
ADVISEMENT AND SUPPORT
• The Department provides advisement and technical assistance to organizations and educational institutions within and beyond Greece on matters of cultural research and development on a community and region level.
• The participatory dynamics of many of its research projects enhance and support local cultural production by regional photographers. artists, crafts persons, collectors and journalists.
PUBLICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL MEDIA
• The various research, public education and special event projects of the department culminate in the publishing of acts of conferences, edited volumes, photography books, documentary film and video and interactive electronic computer teaching curricula.
• The Department also publishes a Newsletter focusing on important intellectual, cultural and educational activities and events in the region, in Greece and abroad.
EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE AND RESOURCES
• The Department provides educational programming and technical assistance to elementary and high schools in the area.
Every special event has built-in components, such as open workshops, school tours and film screenings, that encourage the participation of students and teachers and which can also be deployed as a curriculum for the schools.
The Department offers seminars and training series in field research methods targeted to university level students and teachers. Training programs are also customized for informal community – based researchers, collectors and documentarians. In this fashion the Department is identifying, building and nurturing local human resources with appropriate skills and tools that can eventually contribute to its future public education programming.
• The Department offers public education through local radio and TV programs.
• The Department features a library of 2.500 volumes and a library of multimedia documentation from all of its special events.
The Department of Cultural Studies collaborate with various
• Universities and other educational and research centers appropriate to its thematic programming and public educational agendas.
• Government Ministries
• Local and national media
The Department serves as a funding provider, conduit and co-organizer for various other organizations whose activities and interests coincide with its mission.