In June 2022 the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) awarded more than $1.2 million to the UCLA SNF Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University to support a collaborative, three-year pilot program intended to enhance academic mobility for faculty, staff, and students traveling between our institutions and to bridge the geographical gap that divides the Greek academy and the West Coast. The program also offers opportunities for semester- and term-length residencies of authors, artists, and academics at the two institutions. What is more, this innovative, collaboration-based, and capacity-building grant will bring faculty and students to Greece, where critical research tools, including languages and digital skills, will be imparted in the context of seminars and classes. A manager housed at our UCLA center will coordinate much of the program, including scholars involved in Hellenic Studies on the West Coast of the United States and Canada.
Collaborations will unfold on two main axes: a West Coast axis, which utilizes existing resources and support from the SNF to mobilize regional expertise, drawing on broader geographies of the Pacific Rim region, and a West/East axis, which seeks to better integrate our Centers and our students into modern Greece. Considering the roles that both Los Angeles and Vancouver play as hubs for the arts, we aim to engage Greek writers and performers in dialogue with academics, artistic foundations, film festivals, and communities in both cities. Existing programming at both Centers will also expand through enhanced collaborations with institutions in Greece. We have already approached several local organizations, including the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, about participating in this pilot project. We see our Centers and the enhanced West Coast axis as venues and avenues through which Greek cultural and educational output may circulate as it seeks to leave its imprint on audiences outside Greece. This new initiative will capitalize on existing yet diffuse and fragmented resources and relationships to mobilize networks of academic, artistic, and broadly cultural production that will inspire students and lay audiences alike.