The 1st Terra (in) Cognita International Conference: Dialogues between Greek Culture and Modern American Art, organized by Hellenic American University and supported by Terra Foundation for American Art, came to a successful close on November 13th, 2022.The 4-day conference brought together 40 scholars and artists from the US, Greece, and elsewhere in Europe to present their research and discuss cross-cultural influences in art, architecture, theater, cinema, literature, music, and dance.
The conference’s keynote address was delivered by Dr. Sozita Goudouna, professor, curator, and founder and director of “Greece in USA,” a non-profit organization that promotes knowledge of contemporary and ancient Greek culture. Dr. Goudouna discussed the organization’s work and its role in helping Greek artists gain a voice in the U.S.
The conference featured 12 thematic panels, led by renowned scholars and artists such as Marie Koutsomallis-Moreau, Head of Collections of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation; Dr. Thodoris Koutsogiannis, Chief Curator of the Hellenic Parliament Art Collection; Dr. Katherine Schwab, Professor of Art History in Fairfield University; and Nicholas Alexiou, Professor of Sociology at CUNY Queens College. The program of conference events included James Lane’s video exhibition “Re-Reverie”, a concert by the L’Anima String Quartet dedicated to the memory of Theodore Antoniou, and a presentation by Dr. Nina Papathanasopoulou, which explored the role of Greek myth in Martha Graham’s work and which was accompanied by a restaging of excerpts of the choreographer’s work.
In their text for the conference’s opening remarks, members of the Organizing Committee Drs. Panayotis Kalozoumis and Ermioni Karachaliou pointed out that: “the 1st Terra (in) Cognita International Conference experience shows that success is not a matter of size and resources. A small and relatively young university such as Hellenic American University can thrive through hard work and a commitment to excellence.”
For the organizing committee and the University’s executive leadership alike, the dialog and interaction that took place during the four days of the conference shed light on the terra incognita between the two cultures and opened the door to similar endeavors in the future. As University President Leonidas Phoebus Koskos notes, “Our role as an American university in Greece goes beyond offering academic programs. Enhancing cultural bonds between the U.S. and Greece is also part of our mission. The grant for organizing the conference was not awarded to Hellenic American University by chance.“
The organizing committee is eager to capitalize on the knowledge capital and potential for academic collaboration that emerged during the conference and has already begun planning a second conference.
Image on the top: Keynote Address - Dr. Kalozoumis, Dr. Goudouna, and Dr. Karachaliou