What it is
The activity of letters borrows from the long tradition of the Republic of Letters, a diverse community of scholars that could maintain long-distance intellectual exchange by sending letters via post, in Europe and in the America, in 17th-18th centuries. A letter can be sent in a video, but also in audio or text format from one member of the WP5 team (which includes the WP5 researchers and the WP5 societal partners) to another member. Letters are meant to instigate intellectual dialogue, in the broad sense (so, not primarily academic), and reflection about issues of common concern. Their form and content may vary, but they are expected to be short, and address a question, or invite for a comment or reflection.
How it will work
Vaia Doudaki will act as the general coordinator of the (video) letters activity, facilitating the process and distribution. Video letters can be self-recorded through a mobile telephone camera, computer camera, etc. Similarly, audio letters can be self-recorded using a mobile telephone or other recording device. Text letters can include pictures and visual elements. For the production of letters, we will use the basic technology that everybody has. There is no need for high quality footage, video editing, perfect sound, etc. The purpose is to instigate intellectual exchange, inviting for reflection, and not to produce a professional film or podcast. A letter can be sent to one individual receiver privately (preferably communicated also to Vaia, but not necessary, if you prefer not to), or shared with the WP5 team, or with the entire world (!), still addressed to one recipient. It is expected to be answered by the recipient, in the format the recipient prefers, which will again be communicated privately or shared with the WP5 team, or more broadly, within one month after receipt. Follow-up letters by both the initial sender and receiver or by third parties, that wish to join the conversation, are welcome. The video letters can be uploaded on YouTube, in its basic (free) version, after creating an account. Except the standard, ‘public’ view option, YouTube Basic offers the option to upload a video for ‘private’ view (after invitation to YouTube users that have own accounts), or as ‘unlisted’ (the video does not appear in search results; you can share the link with people you want to watch the video). The audio letters can be made available through a remote/cloud drive option (e.g. www.drive.google.com). Alternatively, the audio letters can be uploaded on the sound upload and sharing platform SoundCloud, in its basic (free) version, after creating an account. Except the standard, ‘public’ option, SoundCloud offers the option to upload a private file (the audio file does not appear in search results; you can share the link with people you want to listen to the track). The text letters can be sent by email or made available through a remote/cloud drive option (e.g. www.drive.google.com).
There will be two (video) letter calls per year. Additionally to the calls, all WP5 team members are welcome to send a letter to another member any time they wish.