Cultural Studies and Europe 
or the Reality of Virtuality 

About the exhibition

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The Internet exhibition, "Cultural studies and Europe", presents a programmatic concept which should establish cultural studies as the productive force of the 21st century.
The exhibition includes five explanatory essays ("On the exhibition", "Cultural Concepts", "Language, Multilingualism, Images and Number Systems", "Reality and Virtuality", "Motto") and twelve presentations dealing with primary themes, as well as numerous sub-themes, and covers a broad range of information. A "Cultural Collaboratory" has also been set up, to allow contributions to be sent to the exhibition's editorial office. To ensure easy access, a search engine is included and there's a switchlist available at the end of each section.

The Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies (INST) first brought together theses on the theme of cultural studies and Europe in 1996 in the St Petersburg Memorandum. This was presented to the EU Commissioner Edith Cresson by an INST delegation on the 8 October, 1996 in Brussels. Underlying concepts were further refined during the conferences, "European Language and Literary Studies", held in Innsbruck in 1997, and "Cultural Studies, Data Bases, Europe", held in Debrecen in 1998. Contributions to the conferences, as well as the conference resolutions, were published in TRANS, the Internet journal for cultural studies.

Whereas conferences are usually limited either in terms of the number of participants or their ability to communicate, or both, via Internet a large number of those interested can participate almost at will. The exhibition should also be seen as offering different potentialities than a journal such as TRANS , which has already attracted around 1500 interactive users in the scientific communities of some 70 countries. In contrast, this exhibition offers the advantage of setting up opportunities for interactive discussion around interconnected major motifs. Rather than placing emphasis on critical examination of the current situation, the focus has been put on possible future developments. The themes are organised according to these primary motifs. Organisational principles were discussed within the INST. Keynote concepts are to be presented in short textual passages, annotated access to other homepages provided, and links between science, images, numeric and architecture newly interpreted.

The exhibition is conceived as offering a platform for discussion, with the aim of modifying research, and the framework within which research is conducted in Europe and internationally. This has to be done in line with current and foreseeable conditions. The intention is to include the results of this discussion especially in the 6th Research programme of the EU, which should be passed in 2003, but also in the plans of UNESCO, private organisations and communal and national institutions.

The exhibition has been fashioned on the principle that as broad a circle as possible should find as easy as possible access to information. Thus data intensive components such as photos, videos and sound, and recent configurative technologies, eg. frames, have been deliberately avoided. Instead hypertexts are given prominence, since the sciences in essence express themselves by means of language.
To allow those who have no access to Internet to also take part in the discussion, the exhibition will be presented internationally and publically via computer and beamer.

There are great opportunities for cultural studies in the 21st century. But whether that potential will be utilised depends on one hand on the framework in which they are conducted, but is on the other hand independent of that, and is reliant on how clearly their importance can be spelled out. Nobody would deny the significance of cultural studies.

Cultural concepts
Language, images, number systems
Reality and Virtuality
Does Europe exist?
Information Structures
Structures of Research
Cultural  Studies on the WWW
Cultural Processes
European Policies, Civil Societies
Education and Scholarship
"Culture of Peace"
Cultural Exchange
Financing Research
© INST: Research Institute for Austrian and International Literature and Cultural Studies, 1998