After a well-deserved night of rest we awoke to the second day of the seminar. Today’s agenda was exploring the concept of cultural exile, and what better way to do that than to head off to a place that is closely related to it – Madrid’s world-renowned Residencia de Estudiantes.
About thirty minutes of public transport later we stood before our destination.
The Residencia was founded in 1910 and served as Spain’s first real cultural center, where prominent minds from different academic disciplines and countries came to exchange ideas – not only within strictly scientific fields, but to an equal extent within the arts. After attending an exhibition on the history of the place and admiring the extensive list of notable thinkers that have stayed there – including but not limited to Albert Einstein, Salvador Dalí, Marie Curie and Igor Stravinsky – we got the opportunity to listen to Andrés Soria talk about the Residencia and its relation to cultural exile.
It has housed examples of both professors and students that went into exile to the UK, US and most notably Mexico during the time of Franco. This topic spawned the unforgettable quote “Franco was a serious dictatorship. No bullshit.”
When all of our questions were answered, we said farewell and headed back to our base of operations here in Madrid. The afternoon was spent talking about exile in a Spanish cultural context in relation to the civil war with professor Milagrosa Romero Samper of CEU San Pablo, first in the form of a lecture and later discussion in a more free form.
Tomorrow we will zoom out to broaden our scope and take a look at exile worldwide. Stay tuned.