The rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Guārdia, and the mayor of Molins de Rei, Xavi Paz, have signed an agreement to create the new UB Chair of Renaissance Studies in Molins de Rei. This chair aims to promote the study and dissemination of this historical period and its importance in the Catalan territory, which the latest research has highlighted, and also to promote research and dissemination of the history of the town of Molins de Rei.
Within the framework of the chair, which aims to be a multidisciplinary meeting point for different disciplines, grants will be given, seminars and scientific meetings will be organised, and prizes will be awarded for research work and dissemination activities. The Chair will also participate in the activities held by Molins de Rei Town Council every November to commemorate the visit of Emperor Charles V to Molins de Rei in 1519, and will also serve to provide scientific content for the Renaissance Museum of Molins de Rei Town Council.
At the signing ceremony of the agreement, the rector pointed out that the chair is an example of the UB’s links with the metropolitan area of Barcelona "as an ecosystem of knowledge, innovation and transfer". Specifically, the agreement promotes Molins de Rei as a "city of culture and university". At the same time, the rector stressed that "the key role of the university in the study, conservation and dissemination of heritage" and how this takes place through the mechanisms of participation that open science and citizen science make possible.
In his speech, the mayor of Molins de Rei, Xavi Paz, said: "Our aim is to promote knowledge on the Renaissance and the Requesens family and its historical relevance in Molins de Rei. The knowledge and dissemination of our history is essential, and we look for solvent alliances. We are fortunate to have prestigious institutions such as the UB and the MNAC".
The teaching staff of the UB are currently researching the Renaissance period in a variety of fields such as philology, art history, history and law. The Chair will promote the presence of scientific studies on the Renaissance in Catalan in the international arena, whether at conferences and scientific meetings or with indexed international publications, with special attention to young researchers who are beginning their activity.
The Renaissance, the historical period from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 17th century, was a process of change that embraced religious and secular forms of thought, the organisation of society, especially urban society, and new aesthetic, cultural and political forms. It was also a period that, at the Catalan and European level, saw changes in the map of the continent and the first formulation of the current idea of Europe. In the case of Catalonia, the building of the historical narrative had been done until a few years ago ignoring this period. The works of Eulālia Duran, former UB professor, on literary culture, or the more recent works on the construction of the Drassanes (shipyards) and the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona revealed that there was in fact a vigorous creative activity linked to the culture of the Renaissance.
The director of the Chair and lecturer in the Faculty of Geography and History, Ángel Casals, explains that "until the end of the 20th century, the Renaissance period was considered decadent and uninteresting in Catalonia. The UB, through the research of its research staff in philology and history, and art history, has given a new value to the period. Now, the most important challenges of the Chair will be to bring together all this activity, sometimes too dispersed, and to spread knowledge of a few centuries little known in our society".