La Gran Historia in University of Oviedo. Spain.
In 2013 I was introduced to the study of Big History by Prof. Walter Alvarez in the University of California Berkeley. After a short stay at that university as a visiting scholar, we started to work on the Big History of gold in the Iberian Peninsula, a paper that will be published soon. Coming back to Spain after that visit, I started to introduce Big History in Spain, giving talks in different departments at my own institution, the University of Oviedo in Asturias (Spain). I started also to give talks in secondary and high schools of my region for both students and teachers finding great interest on the subject. I started to use the term “la Gran Historia” as the Big History TV series in the History Channel was already translated into Spanish with that name.
An informal group of more than 20 researchers from University of Oviedo began to meet since I started with the outreach, and in 2015 we organized a general public lecture series as part as the outreach activity program of our university. More information about that series can be found here http://ibhanet.org/Resources/Documents/Origins/Origins_V_06.pdf. In 2016, we organized our first Big History course for teachers. It was a short course with lectures, practical work and a short field trip. Now we are organizing the first Big history course in Spanish at university level for 2017. The approach for this course will be similar to that of the first course in University of Amsterdam, with lectures from different disciplines building together the grand narrative.
Our university supports our initiative and a proposal was sent and selected to the Spanish foundation for Science and Technology for an exhibition in the National Museum of Science and Technology which deals with the most prominent research projects in the Spanish universities that link research and society. The exhibition will start in September 2016 and will be held in Madrid for one year and in A Coruña (NW Spain) for 6 months.
As future work, we are interested in both building up the European Network of Big History and the Iberoamerican one, with emphasis on collecting Big History materials in Spanish in order to broad the audience now restricted to English language.
Our proposal for the European network is:
– to share our experience with Big History outreach for general public and teachers
– to offer a place where meetings or workshops can be held in the town called Salas (birthplace of W. Alvarez’s Spanish family). The Fundacion Valdes Salas (http://fundacionvaldessalas.es/) offers us a place with free accommodation in a hotel (12 rooms) and food allowance for the participants. They can also help us with the organization of the meetings.
– to collaborate with other institutions in the network if the specialists in our group can be of any help in other Big History courses there