Conversas, an initiative to bring science closer to society

Conversas is a series of conferences promoted by the project “meta.” of the Faculty of Business Sciences and Tourism of the Campus of Ourense (FCETOU). In these meetings, researchers share the stage with professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and other social agents. The themes of the “conversas” are of general interest, dealing with topical issues related to the world of business and its relationship with society and the environment. The main objective of this initiative is to disseminate, promote debate and critique of new knowledge, ideas and opinion to broad social groups.

Today we speak with Ernesto López-Valeiras, FCETOU professor and coordinator of “meta.”, and Xurxo Baca, designer and mentor in “meta.”. Meta is a mentoring project that connects managers with a relevant career path with final year students with the aim of supporting them and giving them advice for an adequate professional and personal development. In addition, it seeks to transmit values of sustainability, solidarity and ethics in business.

Meta is the process of personal learning in which a mentor shares his or her time and knowledge so that a mentor discovers new perspectives that will help him or her progress towards future goals. Meta is not an end. It is a path.

This year, which is the second to be held, 7 mentors and 8 mentors participate. Among the group activities that are carried out is the series Conversas.

“Conversas is a bet born of the desire to learn from experiences”

Conversas series was born within the “meta.” project of the FCETOU. As part of values, we want to promote the importance of exploring territories that we don’t know, so we blindly believe in the value of listening. Conversas is a bet born of the desire to learn from the experiences lived, the decisions made, the decisions that were not made, the successes that were mistakes, the mistakes that were right, and of so many other incidents that throughout life define what we become”, reflects the designer Xurxo Baca.

How are the conversations structured?

“I am the academic coordinator of this activity, and together with Xurxo Baca, professional coordinator, we designed the general format. Each Conversa is organized by a mentor and his or her mentor. They propose a guest speaker and a professor-researcher and organize the Conversa: date, content, format, etc. The mentor and the teacher-researcher accompany the speaker in the conference. This combination of different profiles encourages debate and reflection, as well as bringing research closer to society”.

“We try to get people involved who have interesting things to tell. Listening to us through other people’s stories allows us to imagine other realities, and help us to move towards a better world. Xurxo, like each mentor, brings a vision alien to the educational world, and this is what enriches us as professionals and as people. Being a designer, the processes he carries out to find solutions to different problems are very interesting. I think everything is very connected, more than we can think of”, says Professor Ernesto López-Valeiras.

This activity is born with a vocation of permanence. For the moment, they plan to carry out Conversas periodically, with a bimonthly frequency. The priority format is face-to-face, but it is also transmitted online through the Remote Campus of the University of Vigo.

First sensations

“The welcome of the Conversas exceeded our expectations. Luckily, we were able to do some face-to-face, and the available places were filled, limited by the COVID protocol. The broadcast through the Remote Campus allowed it to reach a large number of people”, says Ernesto.

Scientific outreach is one of the great pending issues for researchers. The format of the Conversas, combining academic and professional perspectives, can facilitate the delivery of the message to society. For the moment this initiative has the collaboration of the Campus of Ourense, the Ibero-American Association of Management Control and ECOBAS, but in the near future other sponsors will be incorporated that collaborate with the organization of these activities.