Creative Laboratory

The key topic of Research Program 1 is the origin and place of the concept of creativity, a feature of free society, in the Euro-Atlantic space. University, newly understood in its social openness, serves as a model of this free society in relation to liberal education. This openness does not concern the realm of ideas only but directly develops the three capabilities associated with modern European society, as follows:

  1. to contribute creatively to adaptation to conflicts and crises of the present;
  2. to change itself through self-reflection;
  3. to solve its crises and inner conflicts more efficiently than through mere repetition of previous solutions.

Research of the connection between creativity and free society, in close relation to the problem of adaptation to the challenges of the contemporary interconnected world and to the model of the university (or, rather, the concept of liberal education), is completely unique in the humanities today.

Research of creativity is based on the notion of the so-called ‘self-creating’ (‘autopoietic’) systems. From its original biological meaning, related to self-reproduction of life and maintenance of an open interface with the environment, the notion of autopoietic systems has been developed further by N. Luhmann in his specific theory of systems. This theory includes, apart from society itself, economy, politics, science, literature, religion, media, education, etc. The specificity of our research resides in its focus on the self-reflective aspect of autopoiesis, as it has been traditionally developed in philosophy in the notions of self-awareness and self-care. Recently, autopoiesis has been enjoying a new application for example in the pragmatic theories of language, theories of the autonomous literary field, cognitive sciences, and artificial intelligence. Research in RP1 also focuses on the links between creativity and a pragmatic approach to knowledge, experience, and above all to culture. Here, its uniqueness resides in emphasizing the performative function of language, especially its dynamic nature as an interface between social organization and communication systems. Our research takes as its foundation the general notion of knowledge and experience, which is not based on a passive approach of ‘reflection’ or adaptation of an organism to its environment, i. e. it does not understand knowledge as a result of processing stimuli or given facts, but as an active process. This process will be explored further in the dimensions of continuity and discontinuity and in relation to existing and newly emerging traditions. The applied research within this program focuses on creative industries and their development, suggests solutions to their problems, and supports the development of creativity and fostering cooperation leading to establishment of creative clusters and incubators. This applied research includes also the development of ‘digital humanities’ in the field of manuscripts, linguistic corpora, data mining, and the analysis of data from the internet (especially from social media) that reflect the transformations of the structures of media and social behavior.


Project proposal on Autopoiesis, Creativity and a Pragmatic Concept of Experience will be prepared collectively by all work packages within RP1 and submitted in 2020, in collaboration with the strategic partner KU Leuven, under one of H2020 calls, in order to meet the requirement of the indicator ‘number of team members participating in international collaborative programs’ (04/2022).

WP 1.1 Autopoiesis and Creativity

Aim: To elaborate on the notion of autopoiesis in relation to the concepts of freedom, adaptation, and creativity.

People: Cieslarová Olga; Čapek Jakub; De Santis Daniele; Grauová Šárka; Halík Tomáš; Hanzal Tomáš;  Housková Anna; Chlup Radek;  Jirsa Jakub; Kinter Vojtěch; Kolman Vojtěch; Koloskov Daniil; Matějčková Tereza;  Mengozzi Chiara; Mudrochová Radka; Pehal Martin; Petříček Miroslav; Poláková Dora; Sklenář Václav;Šuman Záviš; Švec Ondřej; Thein Karel; Tropia Anna; Voldřichová Beránková Eva

1.1.1 Tasks

T1.1 Research of basic concepts of the autopoietic concept of experience.

T1.2 Research of autopoiesis in an interdisciplinary perspective.

T1.3 Establishing a group for the research of political philosophy, ethics, and interfaith dialogue, and determining general research themes. (03/2018)

T1.4 Research development in the area of political philosophy, ethics, and interfaith dialogue and its establishment, with special focus on philosophical presuppositions and their historical context.

T1.5 Research of the concept of knowledge and various forms of experience in terms of the ‘embodied mind’.

T1.6 Interrelation of knowledge, corporeality, and behavior as a common topic of philosophy and cognitive sciences.

T1.7 Study of autopoiesis and creativity in relation to literary as well as artistic genres.

T1.8 Research of normative poetics, historical styles, and schools of thought as stimuli of creativity.

T1.9 Field research of borderline religious phenomena in contemporary society, including the study of mechanisms leading to the rise of new ritual forms.

T1.10 Creativity as a source of modalities of cultural reflexivity within borderline religious phenomena in contemporary society.

T1.11 Research of the autopoietic structure of the university and its relation to freedom in an interconnected society.

T1.12 Research of the gradual rise of literary-field autonomy from an intra- and extra-literary point of view.

T1.13 Research of the crucial periods of modernism (i.a. fin-de-siècle) and post-modernism in an international and intercultural perspective.

1.1.2 Results and Deliverables

The results of WP1.1 research activities are primarily centered around the basic methodological topic of the entire project, i.e. autopoiesis and its role in the formation of a free society, in relation to other concepts such as creativity, adaptation, self-reflection, freedom, and others, both on a general level and in individual areas of experience (religion, literature) and in diverse perspectives (historical, cognitive, philosophical). The key deliverables are hence academic studies and conferences on the given topics, and, in relation to the wider public, exhibitions, summer schools, and the like.

1.1.3 Milestones

M1.1 International conference on the topic of Autopoiesis in Perspective. The results of tasks T1.1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12 will be presented at the international conference and compared to the current state of knowledge. It summarizes the first research stage of WP1.1 (10/2019).

M1.2 International conference on the topic of Is Education Free? The conference will be a key deliverable of tasks T1.1, 2, and 11, a milestone in terms of research localization of the entire project in a university environment. Participation of key international experts is expected, they will be involved in a debate on the role of the university in an interconnected society (06/2021).

M1.3 International CEACS congress: Transnational Challenges to Canadian Culture, Society, and Environment. The prestigious Central European Association for Canadian Studies congress will be organized in collaboration with the Canadian Embassy in the Czech Republic (09/2018).

WP1.2 Fiction, Play, and Performativity as Forms of Creativity and the Foundations of a Pragmatic Concept of Culture

Aim:  To develop an innovative trans-disciplinary approach to the issues of performativity and experience in the learning process and in modern and contemporary culture.

People: Armand Louis, Horová Miroslava, Little James, Markus Radvan, Nixon Kiryushina Galina, Pilný Ondřej, Poncarová Petra Johana, Pranić Martina, Procházka Martin, Vichnar David, Wallace Clare

1.2.1 Tasks

T2.1 Creativity and performativity as the foundations of dramatic production as well as a pragmatic concept of culture in Early Modern theatre.

T2.2 Early modern theatre and the ways in which entertainment industry functions in political and economic relations of the day.

T2.3 Parallels between the aesthetic and economic functions of early modern theatre and some characteristics of contemporary creative industries.

T2.4 Aspects of the romantic concepts of imagination, drama, and artistic production as ideologies of political emancipation in comparison with contemporary manifestations of radicalism.

T2.5 Dynamics of the Romantic concept of history and culture in the ideologies of national and social emancipation of that time.

T2.6 Transformations of the concept of creativity in relation to technological progress and the rise of new artistic and communication media.

T2.7 Comparison of the functions of creativity in the development of avant-garde, popular, and commercial art.

T2.8 Creativity and performativity in the development of modern and contemporary theatre.

T2.9 Pragmatic concept of fiction as interface.

T2.10 The importance of a pragmatic concept of culture for a new understanding of cultural identity and the possibility of intercultural communication in conflict situations.

T2.11 The concept of dialogue as a ‘functional approximation’ and a pragmatic theory of fiction.

T2.12 Transformation of dialogue influenced by recent theories of discourse, culture, and play.

T2.13 Reassessment of pragmatic cultural anthropology drawing on the late work of W. Iser.

T2.14 The concept of culture as an ‘emergent phenomenon’ in relation to contemporary theories of entropy.

1.2.2 Results and Deliverables

The basic outcomes of research activities within WP1.2 (tasks T2.1-14) will involve the development of a trans-disciplinary approach to the issues of performativity in theories of knowledge as well as in modern and contemporary culture, emphasizing intercultural communication based on the concept of culture as dialogue, and a description of the fundamental role of culture in the active formation of human environment, particularly through fiction, play, and visuality. This approach will lay the ground for a theoretical and historical description of changes in the concept of cultural identity in the Middle Ages, the Early Modern era and the present, with emphasis on multinational and multilingual hybrid cultures (in collaboration with the identity research within RP2 and RP3).

1.2.3 Milestones

M2.1 International conference on the topic of Performativity and Creativity in Early Modern Culture. The results of T2.1-3 will be confronted and contrasted with the current state of research and tied in with international research on the basis of existing and new collaborations (11/2019).

M2.2  Obtaining financial support from Erasmus+ for the program H2020 MSCA ITN EJD for the project Migration and Modernity: Historical and Cultural Challenges (MOVES), with the partners University of Kent, Freie Universität Berlin, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier III and Universidade do Porto. Application of the results of T2.4, 5, and D2.9 in the international context of university education programs. Meeting the demands of the indicator ‘number of team members participating in international collaborative programs’ . (05/2018)

M2.3 International conference on the topic of Culture as Interface and Dialogue. The results of T2.9-2.14 will be confronted with the current state of research and tied in with international research on the basis of existing and new collaborations. Publication of a collective monograph based on the conference (10/2022).

WP1.3 Continuity, Discontinuity, Tradition

Aim: To analyze forms of continuity, discontinuity, and tradition in culture and society.

People: Bažil Martin, Čermák Jan, Čermochová Klára, Doležalová Lucie, Hrdlička Josef, Kinter Vojtěch, Koloskov Daniil, Mengozzi Chiara;Mudrochová Radka; Murár Tomáš, Poláková Dora;Starý Jiří, Svatoňová Kateřina, Svobodová Andrea, Šebek Josef;Špirit Michael, Šuman Záviš;Tropia Anna;Vojtěch Daniel, Vojvodík Josef,  Voldřichová Beránková Eva; Wiendl Jan

1.3.1 Tasks

T3.1 Research of diverse types of disruption of the continual development in literature.

T3.2 Research of diverse types of continual development disruption in broader interdisciplinary and intercultural contexts.

T3.3 Interdisciplinary research of the term ‘artistic boundary’.

T3.4 Interdisciplinary research of the issue of creative identity.

T3.5 Researching the concept of the relationship between individuality and institution in literature and culture.

T3.6 Researching the forms of cultural, mental, and geographical discontinuity in the history of Czech literature, culture, and media in the 19th and 20th centuries against a wider Central European background.

T3.7 Research of institutional approaches to literary and cultural history (reception, interpretation, school education, etc.).

T3.8 Historically oriented research of ‘new media’.

T3.9 Research of the concept of text and intertextuality, particularly during crucial turning points in the late Antiquity and the late Middle Ages

T3.10 Identities and (dis)continuities in 12th-century literature written in English.

T3.11 Continuities and discontinuities in Elias Lönnrot’s Kalevala (1849).

T3.12 Continuity among language forms in Czech and Central European mediaeval theatre.

T3.13 Late mediaeval theatrical forms related to the carnival as a liminal religious phenomenon.

T3.14 Research of the concept of identity in relation to the concepts of autopoiesis, reflection, and interface.

T3.15 Research of the concept of identity in an interdisciplinary perspective.

1.3.2 Results and Deliverables

The results of WP1.3 research activities are centered around the basic methodological topic of the entire project, which is the monitoring of the forms of cultural, mental, and geographical continuity, discontinuity, and identity as reflected both in the Czech 19th- and 20th-century literary and cultural history, and against a wider Central European background, and in confrontation with the forms of continuity, discontinuity, and identity in the preceding periods, especially in the Middle Ages and in a wider European context. The main types of deliverables are hence academic studies and monographs, chiefly collective monographs, as well as conferences on the given topics.

1.3.3 Milestones

M3.1 Publication of the collective monograph Fictions of the Real: Representations of Historical Persons and Events of the Czech Context in Fictional Discourses. This is one of the key deliverables of WP3. A theoretical and historical mapping of the forms and expressions of the clash between fiction and reality in the 19th- and 20th-century Czech literature and culture (10/2022).

M3.2 Congress IMC Leeds: Memory. The largest mediaevalist congress in 2018 will focus, under the management of L. Doležalová and J. Čermák, on the topic of memory as related to the concept of textuality (07/2018).

M3.3 International congress Société Internationale pour l’étude du théâtre médiéval. Periodic congress of the society bringing together scholars from all over the world (France, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy), thematic sections, e.g. on the relationship between the sacred and the profane, the forms of dramatic text and textuality (and editing practice), parody in mediaeval theatre (07/2022).

WP1.4 Research of Creative Industries

Aim: To create an infrastructure for the collaboration between academia and the creative industries, to identify critical problems of the creative industries, and to suggest solutions to these problems.

People: Anger Jiří, Česálková Lucie, Gorčíková Magdaléna, Hanzlík Jan, Mitrič Petar, Podhajský František, Průchová Andrea, Szczepanik Petr,  Švelch Jan, Zahrádka Pavel

Central and Eastern European Audiovisual Industry Research Working Group – link to FB

1.4.1 Tasks

T4.1 Establishment of the ‘Group for the Research of Audiovisual Industries in Central and Eastern Europe’.

T4.2 Internship program, combining learning by practice, support of employability in the application area (culture and creative industries), and qualitative data gathering.

T4.3 Qualitative and quantitative data gathering on the critical problems of the audiovisual industry which hamper the development of creativity, competitive ability and innovation in audiovisual production and distribution.

T4.4 Critical analysis of cultural practice in the area of cultural and creative industries: theoretical and methodological preparation.

T4.5 Critical analysis of production practice in the development phase and the realization of an audiovisual work.

T4.6 Critical analysis of distribution and reception practice in the area of audiovisual industry and culture.

T4.7 Data gathering for a comparative research of Central and Eastern European audiovisual industries.

T4.8 Comparative analysis of cultural practice in audiovisual production and distribution.

T4.9 Proposing solutions to the critical problems identified as obstacles to the development of creativity, competitive ability, and innovation in audiovisual production and distribution.

T4.10 Expanded internship program, combining learning through practice and support of employability in the application area.

T4.11 Establishment of a platform for the methodological preparation of the Creative Cluster Kampus Hybernská in collaboration with the Prague City Hall.

1.4.2 Results and Deliverables

The results and deliverables of WP1.4 will comprise methodological preparation, data gathering, and data analysis within tasks T4.3-4.8. Other deliverables include research rights and a draft of an amendment to the current non-legislative regulation, proposing a solution to the critical problems that will be identified in the practice of creative industries in the form of best-practice descriptions (T4.9).

1.4.3 Milestones

M4.1 State commission for a research report on the critical problems in audiovisual industry. The State Fund for Cinematography in the Czech Republic (see letter of interest) is planning to publish a call for the formation of such a commission. Data and results from tasks T4.3-4.6 will be used in the formation of the commission (05/2019).

M4.2 International conference Screen Industries in East-Central Europe 9. The theoretical and methodological solutions of T4.3-4.6 will be compared to and contrasted with current research and linked to international research on the basis of existing and new collaborations (11/2019).

M4.3 International conference Screen Industries in East-Central Europe 11. The results of T4.3-4.6 will be compared to current research and submitted to internationally recognized experts for a critical reflection (11/2021).

WP1.5 Digital Humanities

Aim: To increase the efficiency of digital humanities tools in humanities-oriented research.

People: Klír Tomáš, Šisler Vít, Šlerka Josef, Švelch Jaroslav, Žonca Milan

1.5.1 Tasks

T5.1 Research of theoretical grounds and methods of digital humanities.

T5.2 Research of new media and their impact on changes in society.

T5.3 Development of digital-humanities software tools.

T5.4 Research of new forms of religiosity in the new media environment.

T5.5 Web portal introducing Czech mediaeval texts in translation.

T5.6 International workshops and conferences in the area of digital editing.

T5.7 Preparing joint international projects in the field of digital humanities.

T5.8 Establishment of an interdisciplinary research group uniting digital lexicography projects.

1.5.2 Results and Deliverables

The results of WP1.5 research activities are based on the fundamental topics of digital humanities, namely, on analyses of large data-files through computational methods and analyses of data from social networks, but also on the individual research topics listed above (religiosity in cyberspace, mediaeval sources, lexicographical research support). There are two types of WP5 deliverables: theoretical publications of basic research and research software tools of applied research.

1.5.3 Milestones

M5.1 New Media Inspiration conference; interim results of the theoretical research in digital humanities and the impact of new media on the transformation of society will be presented. The New Media Inspiration conference is organized annually at CUFA, and this particular year will be devoted to the specific research topics above. The conference brings together academia and the entrepreneurial sphere, particularly in the area of creative industries (02/2019).

M5.2 Creation of software tool prototypes for research in digital humanities and for the evaluation of their efficiency. The development of software tools involves design and development of a functioning prototype and evaluation of the prototype in a pilot study (08/2022).

M5.3 International conference on digital editions. The annual conference of the European Society for Textual Scholarship will be organized in Prague, with a special section devoted to digital editing (11/2018).

M5.4 Creation of a web portal for the Czech mediaeval texts translated into world languages. The portal will be built with a broader vision in mind – so that, in collaboration with international experts, it can become the portal providing access to mediaeval sources in other minority languages.  The portal will contribute to a significant degree of international collaboration within Mediaeval studies (01/2019).

M5.5 International project within Horizon 2020 (Marie Curie ITN). Project on digital editions, not only of mediaeval texts (T5.7) in collaboration with CNRS Lyon and University of Köln. Part of the project will also focus on digital work with manuscripts (digital paleography, digital codicology) (08/2022).