The picture shows the dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.

Summer School, DILEF - UNIFI

4-8 September 2023

EUniWell Summer School “Across Nature and Culture: the city of Florence as a case study for natural-cultural conservation and preservation issues”

Master and PhD students from the Universities of Cologne, Linnaeus, Nantes and Florence interested in learning more about urbancity biodiversity conservation and practicing cultural heritage conservation strategies in urban contexts can apply for the latest EUniWell Summer School in Florence. Application closes 17 July,  11:00 CEST / 10:00 BST.

Nature and culture intertwine in multiple ways in the Anthropocene city. Sometimes the strategies we put in place to preserve cultural heritage in urban contexts interfere with those aimed at preserving natural heritage. How can these aspects be effectively integrated? What is the role of the arts, aesthetics, and literature, in cooperation with the natural sciences in creating a truly sustainable city? To discuss these issues, a rotating field study Summer School will be hosted in Florence (Italy), from 4-8 September 2023.

Florence, as a prototype of a densely populated European city with a significant artistic-historical and natural heritage, is the case study we have chosen in order to start designing, theoretically and practically, a new, replicable model of a bio-culturally sustainable European city.

In times of increasing urbanisation and biodiversity erosion, the future of natural heritage is expected to increasingly depend on the ability of people to maintain a connection to nature within urban contexts. A city park or a municipal garden is often the only form of nature that people in cities can experience directly. Furthermore, cities – paradigmatically European cities - also raise issues of historical-artistic heritage conservation: In urban contexts, green areas frequently coexist side by side with examples of tangible and intangible cultural heritage (buildings, monuments; traditions, oral history). What are the main challenges posed by the necessary integration of natural heritage issues on the one hand and cultural heritage issue, on the other in the context of today’s Anthropocene cities? What is the role played by the arts, aesthetics, and the natural sciences in these challenges?

The Environmental Humanities, as an interdisciplinary field of research and teaching which underlines the centrality of the humanities to understand today's environmental emergencies, provides the most effective approach to bio-cultural conservation in urban contexts. 

A range of different fields and disciplines, including ecocritical literary and media studies, art and design, biological conservation and biodiversity studies, environmental philosophy and aesthetics, will be involved in the discussion of these issues during the Summer School, explored through theoretical seminars, field trips, excursions and creative workshops.

The Summer School is open to Master and PhD students from the 4 participating universities (Nantes, Cologne, Linnaeus, Florence) who are interested in learning more about the Environmental Humanities, the city in the Anthropocene, and the interconnections between cultural conservation issues and biodiversity conservation issues. 

All students will receive free accommodation in Florence and their travel expenses to and from Florence will be fully reimbursed (students are required to organise their trip to Florence by themselves). In addition, a certificate will be issued to each student to testify to their participation in the Summer School. 

As the Summer School will be conducted in English, proficiency in English is a prerequisite. If there is a high number of applications, a selection among the candidates will be made.

The programme runs from the early afternoon of 4 September 2023 to the afternoon of  8 September 2023. The Summer School requires full-time attendance, including evening (social) activities. There is no tuition fee to participate in the Summer School, which also includes excursions, field trip experiences, and shared accommodation.


Apply if you are interested in learning more about urban biodiversity conservation and practicing cultural heritage conservation strategies in urban contexts! You’ll have the chance to design, imagine, practice, and experience the new prototype of a truly bio-culturally sustainable European city!

Applications are open until 17 July at 11:00 CEST / 10:00 BST to students of any courses and faculties from the 4 participating universities (Nantes, Cologne, Florence, Linnaeus).

How to apply:

To apply to take part in the Summer School, please send a short CV (maximum two pages; with your personal details) and a motivational letter to Mariagrazia Portera, by Monday, 17 July 2023 at 11:00 CEST / 10:00 BST.

Apply now, there are only 16 spots available for students from the EUniWell partner universities!

Notifications of acceptance will be emailed to the applicants by 23 July 2023.

Find the call for applications at:


University of Florence, Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia, via della Pergola 60, Florence, Italy.