A specific goal of the project is to develop a new ‘academic path’ in Krakow. It will highlight the links between the city and its universities, in particular by searching for absent, little-known, or forgotten threads in order to reinsert the universities into the city’s cultural landscape. In a broader context, the project addresses the role and potential of the city’s academic heritage in shaping the contemporary social impact of its universities. The concept of 'academic heritage' is primarily understood in its material dimension, i.e., numerous and valuable collections gathered at the Jagiellonian University throughout its history, as well as the intangible aspect, expressed through the contribution that this, Poland’s oldest university, has made to the development of the city, its culture, and its community, which is equally important for understanding what academic heritage is.
However, one of the basic tasks of the project will be to undertake a review of existing initiatives related to the popularisation of knowledge about the university and the methods of narrating its history. The analysis will concern activities undertaken within the university and in its surroundings by persons and institutions unrelated to it. The review will be particularly important for the manner and scope of presentation of thematic threads. This will take into account the consistency of the messages appearing, including their correlation with the educational and popularizational initiatives undertaken in practice by the Jagiellonian University units (especially museums, centres, and curators of collections). It will also include reference to the ongoing discourse on heritage and its critical analysis. The purpose is not only to verify the activities carried out so far, but also to propose topics on which new educational and popularizational initiatives can be based.
As part of the one-year project, museologists and custodians of individual university collections will be invited to participate. These are people who deal with the protection of academic heritage on a daily basis, mainly in its material dimension, as well as scholars, experts, and specialists in such fields as anthropology, ethnology, cultural management, tourism, and urban studies. Consultants and experts selected for their scientific and professional experience will verify the existing and proposed threads, along with the university units’ offerings in terms of their potential and place in tourism, the critical discourse, legitimacy, and ways to explore them. They will also attempt to analyse practical activities in terms of their broadly understood accessibility or ways of managing them. Conclusions and summaries will be related to activities carried out in this field throughout Europe.
Several teams will also select and develop the threads that will make up the Krakow Academic Route. As a result of these works, the project of an ‘academic path’ in Krakow will be created - a walking route or a set of alternative educational paths, the course of which will attempt to recreate the complicated network that has connected the city and its universities, as they reciprocally powered each other over the course of centuries. Above all, the Route will hopefully cover not only the points on Krakow's map known to us, but also discover not always obvious and commonly associated locations connecting the universities with the urban landscape. It will reveal portraits of people, tell stories, and focus on events that will allow us to look at the role of academic heritage in our city in a new light.
The university students will be involved in individual tasks, especially in the field of audience research. In addition, consultations will be held with city guides and educators to ensure that the presentation and reception of the material are appropriate, and that the needs of the intended audience are met. The activities will be accompanied by workshops and academic sessions. The initiatives undertaken shall be included in the activities carried out as part of national and international cooperation in academic and museum networks and alliances. As a result of the consultations, opinions and recommendations will be prepared.
The idea of academic routes has a universal value, and the goal to be implemented is one of the expressions of interest in this subject. At the Jagiellonian University, as part of the idea of academic routes, Michał Chlipała, the university’s coordinator for holdings and specific collections, created a detailed project called Gościniec Akademicki. In terms of concept and execution, intensive works are carried out on the Via medicorum section of the Gościniec. They are intended to protect the heritage of Krakow's former medical district known as Wesoła. A detailed description of these works can be found on the website of the Department of the History of Medicine of the Jagiellonian University where, under the supervision of Professor Ryszard W. Gryglewski, the above-mentioned valuable activities are carried out: https://khm.cm-uj.krakow.pl/via -medicorum/.