Simonetta Luz Afonso: “There are many issues to deal with. Do not always study the same”

“Portugal and its Circumstances: Culture, its Internationalization and the Creation of New Publics” was the motto for the conference of Simonetta Luz Afonso, at the opening session of the Communication Sciences and Cultural Studies doctoral programs, on the 12th of October.

The organizer of exhibitions such as the Europalia Festival 91 or the Pavilion of Portugal in Expo’98 was presented by the president of the Institute of Social Sciences, Helena Sousa, and began by alerting the doctoral students present that “there are many issues to deal with. Do not always study the same”, referring to the doctoral projects to which each one will have to start in this new school year.

Simonetta Luz Afonso made his contribution from a historical point of view, driving the gifts for a journey back in time. The 70s were the starting point: at a time when Portugal was not a world-recognized country, but for its relation with the ex-colonies. Simonetta recalled that the Revolução dos Cravos, on April 25, 1974, began a new image of Portugal: “it was an unforgettable milestone in our country.” “We were only known for the revolution without blood, the rest was negative”, she said.

“There was no way to communicate the culture of Portugal” and “it was necessary to provide events so that others knew us”, Simonetta explained of a time when there was “no internet”. From the 1970s she went on to the next decade when Portugal became better known when it joined the European Union in 1986. “Communication can be done even without the Internet. We do not think so”, said the historian, recalling that, in the past as at present, it was important to “encourage children to take ownership of cultural spaces”.

Moving on to the 90’s, Simonetta Luz Afonso spoke of her experience as the organizer of the Pavilion of Portugal, in Expo’98. “We made city” she said proudly, adding, “other colleagues in the world have come to look at us as peers”. In this way, for Simonetta, the idea of Portugal established until then was changed.

As for the future, Simonetta Luz Afonso left some key ideas: “who does not appear, forget”, so it is necessary to bet on events, even if they do not have the same dimension as Expo’98. The guest of doctoral programs associated with the CECS also recalled that “we must realize what is wrong, what has not been done and what we can help”.

[Text published 10-15-2018]