Research Groups

RICONTRANS Research Institutions

Host Institution

The Institute for Mediterranean Studies (IMS) – based in Rethymno, Crete – was founded in 1985 and is one of the seven Institutes of the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), a leading research institution in Greece. IMS’s research fields include the humanities, social sciences, and the application of science and technology on cultural heritage and the environment. The Institute has been distinguished for the historical research it has produced in the fields of economic, social, Ottoman, and maritime history, and has received the first four ERC grants (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) ever to be given in the field of humanities in Greece. It is home to the only “El Greco” Art History Center in the Mediterranean and contains the single wealthiest archive pertaining to the modern Greek theater. It has received a number of international distinctions in the field of the application of new technologies in archaeological research with the methods of geophysical research and geoinformatics. It is also home to various specialized collections of books and archival material. 

The Institute’s research programs focus on the history and culture of Greece and other countries of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in various historical periods, from prehistory to modern times. To date, its research focuses on three research fields: (a) Mediterranean History, (b) Mediterranean culture, (c) Geoinformatics technology for Culture and Environment, and is undertaken by ten teams of researchers based in the Institution’s research sections, centers, and labs.

The research programs of the Institute are carried out by its permanent  researchers and collaborating faculty members. In the framework of these research programs PhD Theses and other diplomas are supported, prepared, and submitted to the higher educational institutions with which IMS collaborates and, particularly, the University of Crete, the Technical University of Crete and the Technological Educational Institute of Crete. IMS supports education at post-graduate and post-doctoral level with a considerable number of annual scholarships, thus managing to attract a steady flow of young researchers and to promote research in the field of humanities at the periphery.

The Institute maintains close academic relationships with various international research foundations in Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, France, Spain, England, Belgium, Tunesia, Egypt, China, USA, a.o.

IMS is administered by a director and five members who form the academic council. It is housed in two separate buildings in the old town of Rethymno, owned by the Institute. The main structure of the first building dates back to the Venetian period of Crete (13th – 17th century).

Research team
Dr. Yuliana Boycheva, Art Historian, Principal Investigator
Associate Professor Panayotis Ioannou, Art Historian, Senior Researcher
Dr. Daria Resh, Philologist, Researcher
Dr. Katerina Seraïdari, Social Anthropologist, Senior Researcher
Dr. Sofia Katopi, Art Historian, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr. Tasos Kostopoulos, Historian, Postdoctoral Researcher
Maria E. Fragopoulou, Art Historian, Research Assistant
Katerina Stathi, Historian, Project Coordinator
Former Collaborating Member
Dr. Tatiana Borisova, Philologist, Senior Researcher

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Second Beneficiary

The Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Research team
Assistant Prof. Anastasia Drandaki, Archaeologist/Art Historian. Lead Researcher
Mara Verykokou, Museologist, Participant Contact
Vassilis Paschalis, Art Conservator
Alexandra-Eleni Kalligas, Art Conservator

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Collaborating Research Institutions

Department of History of Art, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

The Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade was founded in 1838 and is the oldest and most prominent institution of higher education in Serbia and among the oldest in South-Eastern Europe. Today it is a modern school in compliance with contemporary trends in European academic space and maintains a high standard of academic excellence. It employs 255 teaching staff members and has approximately 6000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in nine departments: Department of Philosophy, Department of Classics, Department of History, Department of Art History, Department of Archaeology, Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, Department of Sociology, Department of Psychology, and Department of Pedagogy and Andragogy.

Research Team
Prof. Nenad Makuljević, Art Historian, Senior Researcher           
Assistant Professor Anna Kostic, Art Historian, Reaserch Assistant for project
Vuk Dautović, Art Historian, Reaserch Assistant for the project
Irena Ćirović, Art Historian, Research Assistant for the project

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National Museum of the Union, Alba Iulia, Romania

The Museum was established in 1888, under the patronage of History, Archaeology and Natural Sciences Society of Alba County (former Austro-Hungaria). After unification of Transylvania with Romania on the 1st of December 1918, it was taken over by Astra Society and, in 1929, it was reorganised under the name of Union Museum and was sheltered in the north-eastern wing of the complex of Coronation Cathedral. Functioning in the actual headquarters of the Babilon Palace and the former Army House, dating from 1968, it includes the departments of Archaeology, History, Restoration, and a Sacred Art department – Museikon. Since 1942, the Museum publishes the Apulum journal, and, since 2017, a second journal called Museikon. A Journal of Religious Art and Culture.

In the beginning, the main activity of the Museum was research and conservation of the archaeological discoveries resulting from the urban planning of Alba Iulia, mainly those belonging to the Roman town Apulum. Subsequently, research expanded over prehistorical, Roman, and medieval sites from Alba county (Romania). Since 1958, history, ethnographical, art collections as well as library began developing. Historical research was mainly focused on the Unification in 1918 and on some subjects related to history of culture. During the years, the museum’s activity was diversified, and re-enactment approaches were being adopted. In 2017, a new department opened with the name Museikon, focusing on religious art and especially religious culture from Transylvania.

Research Team
Dr. Ana Dumitran (Curator of the icon collection at the National Museum of the Great Union, Alba Iulia), Senior Researcher

Dumitrița Daniela Filip, Research Assistant

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Institute of Balkan Studies and Center of Thracology,
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Institute of Balkan Studies was founded in 1964 under the auspices of UNESCO as part of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. In 2010, it was merged with the Center of Thracology under the name Institute of Balkan Studies & Center of Thracology. IBSCT is a research institute but it is also accredited by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency to educate doctoral students in six scholarly areas, including ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary history; archival and documentary studies, paleography; theory and history of culture. Most scholars of IBSCT are teaching at Bulgarian and foreign universities.

As a multidisciplinary institute, IBSCT explores the political, social, economic, religious, and cultural development in South-East Europe of the past and present, as well as the interrelations of the region with other parts of the continent. The publishing activities of IBSCT span from monographs and collected volumes to the journals Etudes Balkaniques, Balkani and Orpheus, as well as the series Studia Balkanica, Thracia, Seminarium Thracicum, Thracia Antiqua. They attract authors from Bulgaria and foreign countries.

The scholars of the institute collaborate successfully with many state institutions and leading scholarly organizations such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Archives State Agency, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, the National Library, and foreign embassies and cultural centers among others. The institute maintains partnership with several academies, research institutions and universities abroad. IBSCT is member and co-founder of the International Association of South-East European Studies (AIESEE). IBSCT hosted the First, Sixth, and Eleventh Congresses of South-East European Studies in Sofia in 1964, 1989, and 2015.

Research Team
Professor Roumiana Il. Preshlenova, Historian, Senior Researcher
Professor Gergova Ivanka Yordanova, Art Historian, Senior Researcher
Associate Professor Angel Nikolov Nikolov, Historian, Researcher
Georgi Mitov, Philologist, Researcher
Assist. Prof. Alexandra Dimitrova Milanova, Historian, Coordinator for the Bulgarian team

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Research Center “Episteme in Motion” Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Collaborative Research Center “Episteme in Motion” is dedicated to the examination of processes of knowledge change in European and in non-European pre-modern cultures. It aims at overcoming the modern view of premodern knowledge as static and tradition-bound, arguing instead that bodies of knowledge are in constant flux and, frequently, self-reflexive and aware of their own historicity. But this kind of change occurs over extended periods of time, in a subcutaneous fashion and through the transformation of already existing knowledge as well as through the tacit integration of novel items, so that the traditional toolkit of the history of knowledge with its focus on indicators of ‘progress’ within narratives of ‘rupture’ or ‘revolution’ does not offer appropriate models for the phenomena we are interested in.

Project C06
Transfer and Overlapping. Configurations of Knowledge in the Era of the Greek Homines Novi in the Ottoman Empire (1641–1730) Direction: Prof. Miltos Pechlivanos

The project examines the early modern Greek culture of knowledge in the era of the first representatives of the Mavrokordatos ‘dynasty’. The objective of this project is to show the tensions and changes of structures of knowledge characteristic for Greek culture in the Ottoman Empire: Antique and Byzantine scholarly traditions were preserved and re-arranged in the Ottoman context. At the same time, they were affected by orders of knowledge transferred from Western Europe.

Research Team
Dr. Nikolas Pissis, Senior Researcher

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The State Institute for Art Studies is the leading Russian centre of comprehensive research in the field of arts, both Russian and foreign. The Institute was created in 1944 in accordance with the decision of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Since 1962 it has been subordinated to the Ministry of Culture of the USSR/Russian Federation. Its founders include such outstanding personalities of Russian culture and science as Igor Grabar, Sergey Eisenstein, Boris Asaf’yev, Viktor Lazarev, and Aleksey Jivelegov.

The Institute carries out fundamental projects related to the history of Russian and foreign arts, including the publication of the 22-volume General History of Russian Art (since 2000), of complete works by the great Russian composers Pëtr Tchaikovsky and Modest Musorgsky, and of the legacy of the great theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold. Another large-scale project is the creation of the Code of Monuments of Russian architecture and monumental art. The Institute is involved in a number of encyclopaedic editions and in studies on sociology and economics of art and culture, carries out expert assessments in the field of cultural heritage and contemporary art, and participates in the elaboration of Russian Federation’s legislative acts pertaining to culture. The Institute serves as a base for the Scientific Council for Art Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Institute’s members are active as State experts in the field of protection of historical and cultural monuments, as members of the expert councils of the Ministry of Culture, the State Duma, etc.

The Institute’s four dissertation councils confer degrees in the following specialized areas: theatre; music; visual, decorative and applied arts and architecture; culturology and aesthetics. The Institute trains scientific cadres through post-graduate and in-depth study courses. The Institute realizes a large-scale publishing program. Its periodicals include the leading specialized journals Iskusstvoznanie (‘Art Studies Magazine’) and Voprosï Teatra / Prostsenium (‘Problems of Theatre’), as well as the electronic journals Khudozhestvennaya Kul’tura (‘Art&Culture Studies’) and Iskusstvo Muzïki: Teoriya i Istoriya (‘Art of Music: Theory and History’).

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The Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences is the leading academic research institute in Russia conducting to research and publishing of books and annual collective volumes on various aspects of World and Global History.

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The Andrey Rublev Museum was founded in 1947. The museum’s collection numbers more than ten thousand works of art: icons from the 11th—early 20th centuries, works of ornamental art, manuscripts and early printed books, and fresco fragments. This collection provides a complete and comprehensive picture of the art of Old Russia. 

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The Saint Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences is one of the leading research institutions of the Russian Federation in the sphere of Russian and General History. Many famous scholars, well known both in Russia and abroad, work in the institute.

The Institute has a long history and established contacts with many famous foreign scholars.

Saint-Petersburg Institute of History regularly conducts Russian and international conferences and issues leading scientific journals

The Institute prepares the best specialists by carrying out specially designed post-graduate and doctoral programs and provides an opportunity to defend theses on Russian and General History at the Dissertation council for all the candidates.

The Scientific archive and branch of the Library of the Academy of Sciences are a part of Saint Petersburg Institute of History.

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Head of the Centre: Dr. Martin Doerr
Information management for cultural and scientific heritage  supports the documentation, exchange, presentation and preservation of historical sources, facts, human memories and the evidence of material culture spanning all areas of human activities, including sciences. It supports the scholarly and scientific discourse reconstructing and interpreting possible pasts. The discourse in cultural heritage is particularly rich, ranging from physical investigation methods (e.g. radiocarbon analysis) to analysis of historical sources and philosophical considerations, and arguments combining all those aspects. Therefore the cultural heritage domain provides a particular challenge for knowledge representation and the design of effective information systems supporting this discourse. It extends seamlessly into the recent and past record keeping of all kinds of knowledge creation processes of observation, evaluation and hypotheses building in other sciences. It provides both a rich application field for the research results of ISL and advanced research questions of its own, particularly in ontology engineering and discourse analysis.

ISL addresses these challenges through a specialised unit, the Centre for Cultural Informatics (CCI), which is currently the most extensive facility of ISL in terms of manpower and external funding. The Centre for Cultural Informatics pursues a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary approach to supporting the entire lifecycle of cultural information and documentation procedures for the benefit of study, preservation and promotion of cultural heritage. Special focus is laid on semantic interoperability, information integration and integrated access. The cross-disciplinary mission of the Centre is underpinned by maintaning rich co-operations with cultural institutions and scientists from the humanities, that range from pure research, community work on documentation methods and standards down to rich application development and consulting.

The operation of the Centre brings together skills in knowledge representation, ontology engineering, knowledge organisation systems, database technology and web technology with expertise in archaeology, museum documentation and management, sites and monuments management, art conservation, archives and libraries, thesaurus and dictionary management and other cultural disciplines.

The activities of the Centre unfold in three directions:

1. Targeted research with focus on the formal representation of information structure and scientific discourse in the humanities, in the machine – supported communication and in the semantic interoperability.
2. Community building for the promotion of standards, complementary skills and know-how in the creation, processing, integration and presentation of cultural information for the benefit of quality, accessibility and exploitation of digital cultural content.
3. Targeted development of advanced information systems that provide a scientific challenge or a proof -of -concept in real settings.

Results of these activities include:

  • Data models and standards
  • Monuments’ and museums’ information systems
  • Source material management systems
  • Terminology systems
  • X3ML Toolkit

In addition, the Centre works as competence center for the CIDOC-CRM (ISO 21127), by building up and exchanging application know-how, consultancy to implementers and researchers, and contribution to the dissemination, maintenance and evolution of the standard itself.

Collaborations:

  • CCI and the Germanisches National Museum – Nuremberg maintain a general collaboration on cultural-historical information processing and interdisciplinary research
  • CCI provides an administrational home to the CIDOC-CRM Special Interest Group
  • CCI has provided services to Institutions such as the Deutsches Museum – Munich, the Institut für Museumskunde – Berlin, the National Documentation Center – Athens and the European Centre of Byzantine & Postbyzantine Monuments (EKBMM) – Thessaloniki

Research Team
Dr. Chrysoula Bekiari
Dr. Pavlos Fafalios

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