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Virtual Exhibition: Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934

Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934.

   This commemorative exhibition of the Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934, organized by the Universitat de Barcelona (Autònoma, at the time) presents diaries, letters, pictures, menus, musical programmes, telegrams and passenger lists that constitute the essence of a journey that never before had been studied and presented to the public. The documents, the majority of them unpublished, allow us to witness the arrangements for the Cruise, and to build a picture of the life aboard the liner Marqués de Comillas. We will be able to join our travellers during their visits, and we will share their thoughts on the return and the launching of new projects. Ultimately, this exhibition makes us delve deep into a way of conceiving education and learning that may become an essential point of reference for the University and for today's society.

   This exhibition evokes the 80th anniversary of the Transatlantic cruise to America: an initiative of the Universitat de Barcelona (at the time called the Universitat Autònoma), whose objective was to gather students from different disciplines and enable them to visit ports of South, Central, and North America, with the purpose of learning in the field about subjects that they had the opportunity only to sense at university.
   The ship, the "Marqués de Comillas", the property of the Compañía Trasatlántica, became for a few days a floating university, where several thematic conference cycles were offered. The intention was to provide an education based on a direct and quality knowledge of reality, an interdisciplinary didactic programme, and new approaches to studies. In other words, an educational perspective that embodied the approaches advocated by the Institución Libre de Enseñanza and the Catalan Pedagogical Renewal Movements. Some of these approaches are still being emulated today. Some others are still far from being attained.
   The Cruise lasted fifty days and was directed by Dr. Ángel Ferrer i Cagigal (Dean of the School of Medicine), assisted by two young professors of the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature: Guillermo Díaz-Plaja and Jaume Vicens Vives. Compañía Trasatlántica endorsed the project and facilitated tickets at a very reduced price, and both the University and the Catalan Government offered scholarships. One hundred travellers, including professionals and students, from the Universitat de Barcelona and other parts of Spain, participated in the project. 
   Through these pictures, letters, fliers, ship's logs, and other documents we aim to approach the experience through the eyes of its protagonists. We want to share a way of understanding education, and allow the visitors to this exhibition to consider how community spirit, knowledge, and joy of living pertain to an advanced model of education and constitute an example for today’s society.


All materials, except otherwise indicated, come from Fondo G. Díaz-Plaja (Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona).


Coming Exhibition's places:


Exhibited at:

  • Exhibition. Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934. Central Library: from October 3rd to October 20th, 2017, Monday to Friday, from 9:00h a.m. to 8:30h p.m. and Saturday from 9:00h a.m. to 2:30h p.m. Pº de la Senda del Rey 5, lobby. Exhibition poster.
  • Una universidad flotante: el crucero universitario de 1934. Biblioteca de Ciencias Sociales y Jurídicas, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, from 19th May to 16th June 2017.
  • Faculty of Philology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, from 25th April to 12th May 2017, during the VII Complutense Literary WeekExhibition poster
  • Tordera Public Library (Barcelona), 30th June to 22th July 2016.
  • Espai Betúlia in Badalona: from 3rd March to 10th May 2016. Consult the activity programme.
  • Mundet Campus of Universitat de Barcelona: from 19th January to 23th February 2016.
  • Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona: from 20th October to 8th December 2015.
  • Faculty of Geography and History,  University of Barcelona: from 18th September to 19th October 2015
  • Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres de Barcelona: from 25th April to 2nd September 2015.
  • Faculty of Philology, University of Barcelona: from 16th February to 22nd April 2015.


  • Díaz-Plaja Taboada, Ana and Marcelino Jiménez León: “80 anys del Creuer Universitari a Amèrica organitzat per la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona al 1934”, in InfoGiH. La Facultat al dia. Blog de la Facultat de Geografia i Història de la Universitat de Barcelona. (date of publication: Nov. 15th, 2014).
  • Díaz-Plaja Taboada, Ana and Marcelino Jiménez León: "'L’altre' creuer universitari. L’expedició a Amèrica del 1934”, L’Avenç, n. 409 (February, 2015), pp. 22-28.
  • Díaz-Plaja Taboada, Ana and Marcelino Jiménez León (coord.): "Dossier: El Creuer Transatlàntic Universitari de 1934", Temps d'Educació, núm. 51 (2n semestre 2016), pp. 93-135.
    • Jiménez León, Marcelino and Ana Díaz-Plaja: “Viajar para aprender: el crucero trasatlántico de 1934” Temps d’educació, núm. 51 (2n semestre 2016), p. 93. Presentación del dossier monográfico sobre el Crucero trasatlántico universitario de 1934.
    • Jiménez León, Marcelino: “Dos diarios inéditos de los cruceros organizados por la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona en 1934 y 1935”, Temps d’educació, núm. 51 (2n semestre 2016), pp. 95-106.
    • Díaz-Plaja, Ana: “Las mujeres se embarcan hacia el futuro: las cruceristas de 1934”, Temps d’educació, núm. 51 (2n semestre 2016), pp. 107-122.
    • Merino Escobar, María del Mar: “Cruceristas en el año 1934: otro descubrimiento de América”, Temps d’educació, núm. 51 (2n semestre 2016), pp. 123-135.
  • Radio program recorded at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, on the occasion of the inauguration in the Central Library of the UNED of the exhibition "Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934": or
  • "The UNED on TV2, news": 4 minutes video recorded on the occasion of the inauguration in the Central Library of the UNED of the exhibition "Transatlantic University Cruise of 1934" on October 3, 2017.
  • Conferences on the university cruises of 1933 and 1934 at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Madrid, on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, on the occasion of the inauguration in the Central Library of the UNED of the exhibition "Transatlantic Cruise University of 1934 ".
    Dr. Daniel Marías Martínez (Carlos III University, Madrid): "In search of our roots: the 1933 university cruise through the Mediterranean"
    Dr. Marcelino Jiménez León (University of Barcelona): "The transatlantic university cruise of 1934: Value and meaning of a cultural project"

 Permalink exposure to the Virtual Museum of the Universitat de Barcelona

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