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The Colegio Imperial de Madrid as a paradigm of the union between humanities and technology

Comillas CIHS organised a seminar dedicated to delving into this heritage landmark of the Society of Jesus

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20 May 2024

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Comillas CIHS) at Comillas Pontifical University organised the seminar "The Colegio Imperial de Madrid. Cultural heritage and digital humanities", a two-day meeting in which specialists from different universities shared their research to improve knowledge of the Colegio Imperial de Madrid, the cultural heritage of the Society of Jesus, from the perspective of integral heritage.

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The vice rector for Research and Teaching Staff, Mariano Ventosa, was in charge of opening the conference. "This project combines history, thought and technology. As we are in the midst of the 5th Industrial Revolution, that of Artificial Intelligence, at such a profound time of change we must stop and think. That is the job of university centres," he noted.

The vice-rector was accompanied by Henar Pizarro, lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Comillas CIHS, director of the Master's in Integral Heritage. Culture, Identity, Innovation and principal researcher of the project, promoted by Comillas, in which the seminar was framed and which pursues the scientific study of the heritage of the Society of Jesus from the point of view of the cultural heritage label promoted by UNESCO.

As Pizarro explained, "the choice of the Colegio Imperial as the object of study represents, on the one hand, a continuity of the work on cultural heritage, but also allows us to open up to other considerations such as the impact on the vertebration of the city, and on the landscape, given that the it had various properties in Arganda del Rey, connecting the city with the rural environment, and the college with commercial activity, crafts, etc., and brings us closer to the concept of integral heritage.

"The versatility and possibilities offered by the Colegio Imperial is interesting for the work of researchers in the field of technology who take heritage as an object of study," proclaimed the conference organiser. "In fact, one of the aspects most highlighted by the researchers who attended the seminar were the digital humanities workshops, which showed the work carried out in the university's Library Service in the bibliographic field, such as the collaboration with researchers from Comillas ICAI. Their excellent work has given us access to the knowledge of the library of the Imperial College, taking as a guide the project never carried out by Ventura Rodríguez", he pointed out. "Thus, we have been introduced into this library through virtual reality glasses, providing, in this case, the knowledge of a recreated reality. Undoubtedly, this union between humanities and technology brings us an immediate future in the field of university education," he concluded.

Colegio Imperial

The Colegio Imperial de Madrid was a Jesuit educational institution that began with the settlement of the court of the Monarchy in Madrid and ended with the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. It was a long-term project, although the name only refers to a very specific stage (1609-1625) in which the aim was to educate the court not only intellectually, but also in human and spiritual values in accordance with those advocated by the Society of Jesus. It is an object of study that is particularly suitable to be approached in an interdisciplinary manner, as reflected in the members of the working team of the project financed by Comillas.

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