History and Mission

Created in 2007, CITCEM – Center for Transdisciplinary Research Culture, Space and Memory is an R&D unit based at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, bringing together researchers from various backgrounds and integrating four Research Units: Interuniversity Centre for the History of Spirituality (CIUHE); Institute of Modern History (IHM-UP); Archaeology Centre of the University of Minho (NARQ); and Literary Studies Centre (NEL). In january 2019, CITCEM integrated a group of researchers from the areas of Information Sciences, Communication and Digital Culture.

Anchored in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences, CITCEM acts as a platform for transdisciplinary research, exploring the close relations between various disciplinary areas, such as History, Archeology, Art History, Cultural and Literary Studies, Demography, Information, Communication, and Heritage Sciences, among others.

CITCEM focuses on the transdisciplinary study of themes related to Memory and Heritage, in articulation with the interactive and evolving construction of identities and economic, social, political, and cultural spaces, with particular, but not exclusive, emphasis in Northwest Portugal. This focus encompasses the study of identity memories, cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible forms, environmental history, rural and urban landscapes, population mobility, religious practices, as well as other related research topics.

Currently, CITCEM includes more than 400 researchers, between integrated and non-integrated. This is a highly qualified, multi-faceted, and motivated team, all of which converge towards the goals of a Center that has just completed a decade of successful operation.

Since its inception, CITCEM has worked closely with local entities and independent institutions, implementing a strong regional connection that has catalyzed successful national and international partnerships. Building on a solid track record of regional impact and cooperation, and staying in close contact with policy makers and independent promoters, CITCEM is committed to knowledge transfer between academic research and local communities.


Following the previous Strategic Plan, which focused on the theme “Dynamics of Memory and Identity”, CITCEM now adopts the theme “Migrations and Permeabilities” as a strategic research priority for the period 2018-2022. This theme encompasses broad concepts of movement and change, of a sociocultural, political, economic, environmental, and technological nature, emphasizing notions of transnationality, syncretism, and transition. The skills, experience, and research interests of CITCEM members will determine their relationship to specific lines of research stemming from the main theme “Migrations and Permeabilities”.

It is CITCEM’s goal to continue to promote a multidimensional appreciation and awareness of territory, culture, literature, history, and heritage, at a local and regional level, combining it with global perspectives. The concepts of “mobility” and “glocality” summarize the Center’s scope for future intervention.


Expanding its offer of specialized training programs, partnerships with industries (such as those foreseen in CoLabs programs) and other similar initiatives are a priority for CITCEM. Likewise, the recruitment of national and international post-graduate researchers will continue to be a goal for CITCEM, associated with an effective external communication strategy that allows for the strengthening of international networks.

As an R&D Unit in Humanities involved in qualitative research, which presupposes human beings and sensitive data associated with them, CITCEM sees as a priority the implementation of procedures for ethical action along international lines, such as those provided in The European Code of Conduct of Research Integrity (2017).

CITCEM will also reflect on its role in the regeneration of Porto and the surrounding region. The Center and its initiatives are intensely linked to this dynamic city and region, currently under intense international demand. In recent years, this process has profoundly transformed the city and its inhabitants, expanding its international connections. As Porto positions itself as a European hub of technology, science, arts, and design, constituting a unique ecosystem that owes much to the city’s industrial roots and to its reconversion, numerous challenges lie ahead. In the context of this paradigm shift, the contributions of the Humanities are crucial.

CITCEM is in a privileged position to provide Porto with timely and relevant contributions. “Migrations and Permeabilities,” CITCEM’s thematic research priority for 2018-2022, places the Center as an ideal collaborator for an in-depth analysis of the changing processes of this city.

In this sense, CITCEM will continue to expand the articulation of its action with local and regional entities, as well as with independent, national and international partners, promoting an open dialogue and providing cutting-edge research contributions that can be integrated in the tourism, cultural, creative, scientific and technological industries of Porto. This articulation will ensure the sustainable impact of CITCEM and the achievement of the fundamental goal of promoting knowledge in the scope of local History, Heritage, Culture and Memory.

To achieve these objectives, CITCEM is organized in 8 Research Groups:

  1. Territory and Landscape
  2. Population and Health
  3. Trading Value
  4. Religious Practices and Sociabilities
  5. Glocal Representations
  6. Tangible and Intangible Heritage
  7. Education and Societal Challenges
  8. Digital Culture

The members of the 8 groups will work complementarily and crosswise in 5 lines of research:

  1. Otherness in Us
  2. Shared Territories
  3. Environmental Transformations
  4. Changing Transitions
  5. Trading Value