Popular University Commitment and Art (UPEA)

The Popular University Commitment and Art (UPEA) is an initiative that seeks to democratise relevant knowledges and information to strengthen active citizenship and encourage the will to strive for a better society by making it more effective. It aims to connect knowledges made of study and knowledges made of practical and everyday experience, of the street and of life; knowledges conveyed by words, gestures and sounds; academic, artistic and based on social and cultural intervention. In short, UPEA aims to promote dialogues of knowledges and actions committed to the struggle for dignity for all, for a more just society, for social transformation and for the valorisation of progressive alternatives.

Inspired by the World Social Forum and the Popular University of Social Movements, in 2016, the Centre for Social Studies joined a group of organisations from the cultural and social world to implement, in practical terms, the ecology of knowledges, i.e., to bring together academic knowledge with citizen knowledge, popular knowledge and the knowledge of social movements. Thus, in addition to the Centre of Social Studies, UPEA had as founding organisations: Chapitô, the D. Manuel Martins Parish Centre, the Campo de Ourique Parish Council, the José Saramago Foundation, the Moinho da Juventude Association and the Pantalassa Association. Over time, more organisations have joined the UPEA in order to develop joint initiatives that call for art and social justice.

UPEA proposes to forward self-organised activities by collectives and partner institutions, in various locations and open to all kinds of audiences, assemblies, be them face-to-face or virtual, in order to bring together activists, leaders and other people interested in dialogue. Other activities are possible as long as they respect the Charter of Principles and the spirit of the methodological guidelines for public activities. All its activities are free and open to all, on a voluntary basis. Organisations or groups that promote sessions or courses may invite other entities or persons apart from UPEA’s own organisations or groups. In 2019/2020, the Centre for Social Studies formed the UPEA-CES, appointed by the Standing Committee of the Scientific Board, whose coordination takes responsibility for promoting and hosting initiatives, in the framework of the UPEA's mission, in conjunction with social movements and organisations.