As I wrote previously, Riga is one of the most perfect cities to peregrinate inbetween coffee shops. The week that just passed I decided to occupy Kuuka, a quiet but original cafeteria in Vecriga (the Old Town), to start my first MOOC.
For those who don´t know, ‘MOOC’ is the acronym for Massive Open Online Courses. In practice, a MOOC is a free online course open to anyone who is commited to learn. The offer is truly exhaustive, covering all subjects: from arts and medicine, to computer science and history, etc; in a wide variety of courses offered by universities from all around the world.
So, this week I started the MOOC called ‘Literature and Mental Health’, designed by Warwick University. Focused in poetry, novels and plays, this course explains a variety of emotional strains through the work of several authors, such as Jane Austen, Edward Thomas or William Wordsworth.
So far it´s been very interesting. During my classes, I found myself remembering when me and A. arrived in Latvia and found a magazine about Riga´s year as European Capital of Culture.
In this magazine there was an article about the ‘Riga Poetry Map’, a project by the Orbita literary collective that turned into a transdisciplinar exhbition composed of poetry, music, multimedia, visual arts and photography. The result was an innovative map of the latvian capital.
I wish I have had the chance to see this exhibition. So, during my MOOC lessons in Kuuka I imagined myself this map: absorbed in a beer I first looked outside as I was inside bus #3, from Plavnieki to Bolderaja, described in Anna Auzina and Inga Gaile´s poem. In the next minute, the dark brick walls of the cafeteria took me for a walk in Dzohara Dudajeva iela, a street eternalized by Arturs Punte.
Poetry is truly a great way to discover a city. Just like imagination, one of the few things you can´t learn in a MOOC though.