The Moise Palace – From Oblivion to an Incubator of Knowledges and Skills

The Croatian island of Cres is an outstanding place to plan getting lost in while discovering its bays and ports, old towns and narrow paths, chimerical legends, and the cultural heritage dating since the Roman days. In 2020, Cres became even more engaging for the intellectual wanderer due to the opening of the Moise Palace, a 16th-century palace the islanders never knew they had. On July 24th, Rijeka’s daily paper, the Novi list, brought the story of the Moise being “Torn from Oblivion”.

The 500-year-old patrician palace has this year become the University of Rijeka’s educational and research center, prior to which it was a famous ruin, erroneously considered to have been an old residential complex. The reason for its neglect during the 20th century was in its being inhabited by the poor and the outcast in society, so the building got nicknamed “Biafra”, as to indicate the caste it stood for during this time. It was only in the late 2000s that the newest research found the “old ghost house” to in fact be the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. Build in the mid-1550s, the Moise Palace once belonged to the famous aristocratic family of Petris. Given that the Petris collaborated with the Habsburg Empire, their presence was precarious in the then Venetian Cres, yet the family persevered, leaving traces of their political thought, interests, and education in the shapes of the many symbols and murals found in the palace. The palace was added-on in the 19th century, then belonging to another Croatian-Italian aristocratic line, the Moise, thus inheriting the name. This chimerical legend, a palace standing on a natural water spring in the middle of the old-town Cres, now stands to tell yet another interesting story, one which has just begun.

Today, the Moise Palace is a scientific-educational center, an island hub run by the University of Rijeka, where it’s all about being present, dynamic, informed, connected, and – hybrid. The palace is conceived to stand out both as a place and as a principle: to serve the community whilst charging it with new practices and knowledges, and sharing its own local knowledge with the world in an engaging and intimate (personal) way.

For this reason, two of the University’s centers are running the Moise now: Centre for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe and the Centre for Studies and Lifelong Learning. To make things simple, the job of the one university Centre (CSLL) is to share Cres with the world, while the other Centre (CAS SEE) is to bring the world to Cres, doing so by fulfilling its core activities of coordination and research work of visiting postdoctoral scientists. The CAS SEE also organizes activities that follow the construction of new economic paradigms by developing a business culture focused around the man and his work. So, the Moise is to expect “a flux of persons and goods in the winter period, after the tourists have gone, when the rains start immersing the narrow passages and aqua alta reaches the palace. Questioning the uncomfortable position of “academic tourists” and looking for elements that disturb the setting from inside, our guests can challenge their traveler’s comfort zones and immerse into the urban-cum-natural tissue of Cres, in order to develop both locally and globally meaningful research and artistic responses to the materials and signals in situ” – Sanja Bojanić explained, the Executive Director of the CAS SEE.

The current Moise Program evolves around various and versatile activities: from the Berlin symphony orchestra “No Borders” rehearsing there this summer, across a specter of engaging lectures and workshops, to an exhibition of the old Cres Dock-09, which has been reinvented for contemporary purposes by an architect infatuated with the island. Much more is to be expected from the Moise Palace in the challenging times to come, and much is planned for the scientific treatment and discussion(s) on issues such as internal migration, settlement dynamics and social practices of the post-war periods in Rijeka, but also for the cognitive and ethno-pragmatic models in the relationship between individuals and public, the reform of the common European asylum system and/or linguistic landscapes, thus bringing and exercising new insights into already known concepts, practices, and worlds.

Architecturally resurrected as an incubator of knowledges and skills, the Moise Palace is becoming a venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, a center welcoming visiting students and artists wishing to withdraw for a moment to a serene and inspiring collaboration setting. In fact, the Moise Palace already is a study haven for those whose intentions are to conduct scientific and artistic work while enjoying the island’s pristine nature. It is a place to restore individual and group wellness while mapping the local and advancing new investigative practices.


Original article (Croatian) is available as a typesetting version on page1, page2, and page3.

A Day at the Moise Palace

The tenth generation of CAS SEE fellows were inaugurated at the Open Doors Day of the Moise Palace in the city of Cres on October 1st, 2019 thus symbolically celebrating the new academic year 2019/2020. The event provided us with the opportunity of welcoming an esteemed guest, Prof. Bernard Stiegler who gave a lecture on the “Wealth of Internation” following the introductions on the Moise Palace project developments by Kristijan Jurjako, the mayor of the City of Cres and Krešimir Partl, State Secretary, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.

Prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Rector of University of Rijeka welcomed the participants and guests at the Palace opening the topic of wealth of possibilities of future academic and participatory programs to be considered by the Cres community and recognized by the future guests of Moise Palace. Therefore, the Palace welcomed its many visitors for the day and hosted a roundtable on various topics, with reference to the development of the future University of Rijeka Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, with participation of Prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, rector of the University of Rijeka, Kristijan Jurjako, mayor of the City of Cres, Đanino Sučić, vice-president of the council of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Prof. Aleksandra Deluka-Tibljaš, Lifelong learning program Director, UNIRI, and Dorian Celcer, Partnership and Communications coordinator, Rijeka 2020 in the afternoon, following a guided tour of the Palace by Danijel Ciković, Ph.D. (Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka).

Open Doors Day at the Moise Palace

New academic year 2019/2020
Lecture by Bernard Stiegler and a roundtable

October 1st, 2019 at 12.00 pm

It is our pleasure to invite you to the celebration of the beginning of the new academic year 2019/2020, which will be marked on October 1st, 2019 at 12.00 pm with an Open Doors Day at the Moise Palace (City of Cres), and numerous interesting activities.

Firstly, the inauguration of the 10th generation of Fellows of University of Rijeka, Center for Advanced Studies – Southeast Europe and the presentation of their research projects to the citizens of Cres, the academic community and the interested public, will be accompanied in dialogue with the representatives of the University of Rijeka and the City of Cres concerning the vision of the development of the future University Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, which will be hosted in the newly renovated renaissance palace.

Rector of University of Rijeka, Prof. Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, State Secretary Krešimir Partl, the mayor of City of Cres, Kristijan Jurjako, and the Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Zagreb, Türkan Karakurt, will deliver an address to the gathered audience, which will be followed by the lecture by the French philosopher, Prof. Bernard Stiegler, on the subject of the development of the activities of the future Center in a discourse with the community. The lecture will begin at 12:00 pm.

The tour of the Palace with an expert guidance by Danijel Ciković, Ph.D. (Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka) will take place at 4.30 pm while the roundtable on the development of the future Center for Humanities and Social Sciences begins at 5.00 pm. The roundtable will be moderated by Ass. Prof. Sanja Bojanić, Director of the Center for Advanced Studies – Southeast Europe, and the guests of the roundtable will be: Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Rector of the University of Rijeka, Kristijan Jurjako, mayor of the City of Cres, Đanino Sučić, vice-president of the council of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Aleksandra Deluka-Tibljaš, Lifelong learning program Director, UNIRI, and Dorian Celcer, Partnership and Communications coordinator, Rijeka 2020.

By developing this unique cultural monument through interdisciplinary educational and research activities of a regional scientific center, University of Rijeka and City of Cres together strive to contribute to the progress of understanding and solving the challenges of the contemporary social, academic, cultural and touristic realities.

Bernard Stiegler is a French philosopher, the head of Institut de recherche et d’innovation. He was also the program director at Collège international de philosophie, professor at Université de Compiègne, deputy director of Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, director of IRCAM and director of Department of Cultural Development at Centre Pompidou. He is also the director of Ars Industrialis, an association founded in 2006. He is an author of numerous books and articles focusing on the research into philosophy of technology and the possibility of the political and social response to Anthropocene.

In his Analysis of Guterres’ Speeches, Bernard Stiegler writes that “(f)aced with systemic risks, we need to invent systemic replies”. This is “possible only as a protection, cultivation and participation of knowledge”. The “systemic risks” he refers to are the multiple and complex ecological, economical and political crises spreading through the globe, and accelerating, as a result of a flawed international institutional design which allowed for the conditions conducive to such compound threats and injustices to flourish. How do we change the system? What are the structural, functional and fundamental redesigns necessary for the cosmopolitical community to emerge and for the cooperative heterogeneity to thrive? For one, as we now know, the true progress cannot rely exclusively on technological advancement. While developing and diversifying the emancipatory technological solutions constitutes the necessary aspect of our transition into the post-anthropocene world, the nurture of such knowledge is impossible if it is undertaken without deep inquiries into the social, political, economic and epistemic projects which can give rise to what Dan Ross refers to as “the right kind of crazy for the future”. As Stiegler writes: “A new type on innovation is needed”. This Palace is dedicated to the search for this new type of innovation, this right kind of crazy, these “multiplicities of design” (Geert Lovink) – to the discoveries of the diverse and the intricate systemic elements of our truly liberatory future.

Lecture by Prof. Bernard Stiegler will take place at the Moise Palace on October 1st, 2019, starting at 12.00 pm.

Call for Applications: “Transitional Justice & Memory Politics” Summer School

Venue: Cres, Croatia

Date: July 1-12, 2018

How to apply?

Applications have started for the 2018 edition of the Cres  Summer School on Transitional Justice and the Politics of Memory, a unique,  two-week immersion into how diverse societies around the world deal with past abuses and conflicts. The Cres Summer School offers participants a timely, intensive and multidisciplinary immersion in topics such as human rights, war crimes trials, cultural memory, and processes of post-conflict reconciliation in diverse regions of the world. It includes lectures, workshops, site visits and films focusing on the politics of memory and transitional justice. Lecturers include an  all-star cast of scholars and practitioners  in transitional justice from around the world.

The summer school hosts an international group of students from around the world (the 2017 program included participants from South Africa, Brazil, South Korea, Europe and the U.S.). The students have the unparalleled opportunity to engage with a diverse group of peers. They gain ideas and build networks that inspire research, theses, study abroad programs, and post-graduation careers.

For more information check out the official website, Twitter (@CresTJSummer) or Facebook page. 

Get program details here.