The Center for the Study of Modernity and the Rural World was established in 2016, as an independent and interdisciplinary research center, probably the first one in Romania that has the headquarters and activates mostly in the rural area, namely in the Telciu village, in the Bistrița-Năsăud county. The approach proposed by the Center is a decolonial critical one, which considers necessary the horizontal dialogue and exchange between the rural environment and the urban one, the academic and the artistic one, in order to reduce the differences and inequalities produced by un unequal and non-inclusive development, and of their effects on the rural communities but not only. Together with a feminist and ecologist perspective, the decolonial critique which constitutes the theoretical base of the Center determines us to transpose in our projects and practices – implicitly the organizational ones – principles such as gender equality, intersectional inclusion, sustainability, social ecology, attention for the contextual power relations. Moreover, we constantly have a critical relationship with our material context (including economic inequalities) as well as with the local and global ideological one which encompass us. 

Our projects range from scientific-academic (Telciu Summer Conferences, Telciu Summer School, editorial projects), cultural-educational (Telciu 2020, Telciu Bulletin, etc.), artistic research and production (Handpicked in Telciu, Factories and Plants, Base cells, etc.), which aim to include the communitarian perspective. Through the theoretical approach chosen, the implementation of our projects, and in general the practices of the Center, we aim to explore possible alternatives to the dominating discourses and practices of neocolonialism, patriarchy, capitalism and neoliberal, which leave their indeleble mark not only on the Romanian context, but also on the global one, and which are still being normalized despite their negative effects and the inequalities they produce.

Read the entire story of the Centre.


Last call for Telciu! The Summer School is suspended, one more week to apply to Telciu Summer Conferences

After long and thoughtful consideration on the current restrictions and protection measures in place, the organizers and the scientific board have decided to suspend this year’s edition of the Telciu Summer School. Yet, as we still strive to create a collective space for discussing ideas and sharing experiences, the Telciu Summer Conferences will take place as planned: 13-16th August. You can send your abstracts until the 7th June. More details here.

Decolonizing revolutions: social movements, spiritualities and commoning

This is the theme of the 9th edition of Telciu Summer Conferences, taking place between 13-15th August. The deadline for sending your abstract is 10th of May. Find the entire Call for Papers here.

Telciu Summer Conferences 2019 – Call for papers

The 8th Telciu Summer Conference will take place between 8th and 11th of August 2019 in Telciu, Romania. Please read this Call for Papers for the full information. The deadline for papers is May 18th 2019.

Budget overview for the events in August 2018

An overview in numbers of this year’s events organized in Telciu by the Center for the Study of Modernity and the Rural World! During the month of August, the 7th Edition of the Telciu Summer Conferences and the 3rd Edition of the Telciu Summer School took place. Roughly 150 people – participants, guest speakers, invited artists and organizing team were involved. Click here to read the full report.

Application for the 3rd edition of Telciu Summer School

The call for application for the third edition of Telciu Summer School has been launched. You can find more information about this edition and the application form by visiting the Summer School website.

Handpicked in Telciu

Handpicked in Telciu is a research and artistic creation program launched in 2018 that brings together locals, young artists and researchers. Handpicked in Telciu is inspired by the contemporary Telcean life in the creation of new artistic productions that are subsequently toured throughout the country.

Through this program we aim to contribute both to the exploration of the contemporary rural world and to the enrichment of the local cultural heritage through artistic productions made in and inspired by Telciu and the neighboring communes. The program consists of hosting artists and researchers in Telciu during the summer to document and make artistic creations inspired by the recent rural reality.

The team: Claudiu Lorand Maxim, Adina Marincea, Valer Simion Cosma, Laura Trocan.



The Story of the Centre

The first Telciu Summer Conferences took place in 2012, in the village with the same name, as a project addressed particularly to the students and young researchers in Social Sciences and the Humanities. The initiator of this project is Valer Simion Cosma, born in the village and PhD researcher in History at the time. Confronted with the lack of funds and support for the conference he was planning to organize in Cluj, Valer moved it to Telciu, his hometown, where he found financial and logistical support from the side of the Local Council and Telciu town hall.

The first edition went good, and as a result we decided to repeat it and to make it permanent. In 2015, the organizational team was joined by Manuela Boatcă, and as such we put together an awesome edition, which motivated us even further to extend the project. The idea of contesting the central position occupied at the moment by the urban space – as a privileged place for the production and dissemination of academic knowledge – attracted several professors from both Romania and abroad. Moreover, the interest shown by the public – students, researchers, activists, as well as the support from the side of the community and the local institutions led to further and more complex projects. Together with a handful of people, among whom Alina Branda, Ovidiu Țichindeleanu and Matei Costinescu, we founded the Centre for the Study of Modernity and the Rural World in 2016, the same year when the first edition of the Telciu Summer School took place.

In 2018, together with Claudiu Lorand Maxim, we also launched in Telciu the platform of residences and artistic creation ‘Handpicked from Telciu’. The two series of artistic residences and research – from 2018 and 2019, respectively – allowed the young residents to both get in touch with the rural space and to get locals from the community in Telciu involved in their documentation and creative process. One of the dramatic texts born during the 2019 residences constitutes in 2020 the basis for an artistic production project called “Basic cells”/ “Originary cells”, which will be entirely produced and premiered in Telciu, in addition to which it aims to include the youth in Telciu in the production team.

In 2019, at the public lecture of „Povestea Gaborilor din Telciu” / „The Story of the Roma in Telciu”, a dramatic text developed by Mădălina Brândușe and Andrei Șerban, within the Handpicked in Telciu residence

During these years, various people joined the organizational team or as collaborators, whose help and involvement contributed immensely to the development of the projects and to the transformation of Telciu village into a landmark on the academic and cultural national and international maps. In 2019, the organization of the conference was taken over by Ágota Ábrán, who took the event ever further, together with Ştefan Baghiu, Adina Mocanu, and many others.

Throughout both previous projects and the stay in Telciu, we noticed the need for cultural and community-based activities, but we also noticed the lack of spaces, products and cultural or educational-artistic activities available in the village – a common situation in Romanian rural areas. As a result, in 2019 took place the first edition of the platform for education and culture called ‘Telciu Newsletter’, ‘Telciu 2020’ being its natural outcome.

As part of the Scientific Council of the Centre are professors from notorious universities from Romania and abroad, such as Julie Klinger (Delaware University, SUA), or Cornel Ban (Copenhagen Business School, Danemarca).

On the other hand, the executive team which designs and implements the projects got formed organically during the previous editions of our projects, and it’s constituted by students, PhD or other young researchers. Our main motivation is given by the need for the projects carried out, the positive impact our previous initiatives had on the community in Telciu, as well as the affective relationship we have developed with the local community. Having in common a clear vision of what the Centre means, and of the impact we wish our projects to have, we succeed in learning every year alongside the participants and the community, so that we can develop sustainable projects which would promote a critical understanding of the contemporary world, as well as better tools to navigate it.

Aside from their theoretical or artistic content, the Centre’s projects are collective projects, with a strong community-oriented focus, while their applicability and durability depends on the good cooperation of all involved parts, people, communities, institutions, associations and local companies. As such, the Telciu Summer Conferences, followed by the rest of our ongoing projects, benefitted each year from the financial and logistical support of the local administration and other institutions in the village. Being backed up by the community and the local institutions was essential to having free access to spaces, transport, and timely support in various situations. We are thankful for this especially to the Town Hall and the Local Council of Telciu, as well as to Telciu Technological High School.

The vast majority of funds which enable us to carry out our projects is obtained during the AFCN contests. During the last years we also succeeded in attracting the support of other institutions from Bistrița-Năsăud and other areas of Romania. Starting from 2018, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation helped us financially in organizing the Telciu Summer School. Furthermore, during the past two years, 2019 and 1918, we obtained financial support for all the projects carried out by our association from the county council of Bistrița-Năsăud via Bistriţa-Năsăud County Centre for Culture.

We are also grateful to all people, organizations and companies (Transilvania Print, Casa-Nova Guesthouse, Hovrea “La Motel” Restaurant, Sonia Guesthouse) which have been helping us in various ways. And last but not least, we wish to thank all locals who have been helping us every year and who have been involved in the process of carrying out the events and activities.

Photos by Ioana Ofelia.