Objective of international project : to develop joint intellectual projects of students and university teachers from Poland, Spain and Italy, aimed at promoting student learning by engaging in projects useful for local social partners of companies and institutions operating in various economic sectors.

Title of the project on the Polish side:

„Meritorious for science and technology under the sign of a griffin”

Objective of Polish project : promotion of the economic history of the West and Central Pomeranian region in Poland in cooperation with economic and technical self-government organizations (NOT in Szczecin and Slupsk). Promotional material is a short film as well as a website  entitled  „Meritorious for science and griffin technique”, which will be made available free of charge to educational, tourist and cultural organizations in Poland and abroad.

 The concept of the Polish project:

The history of the Pomeranian region in Poland, both its western part (West Pomeranian province) and eastern part (Pomeranian province) as well as the city of Szczecin and the city of Slupsk have a common denominator in the form of the sign of a griffin in their coats of arms. The lands of Pomerania over the centuries were under various regimes undergoing changing political-military and socio-economic fate. A distinctive feature of West and Central Pomerania is the fact that the heraldic griffin mark in these areas has taken on the red colour, and in the eastern part of Pomerania – black.

The red griffin appears in the coat of arms of several Pomeranian cities, including Szczecin and Slupsk, as well as in the logos of many universities and companies in this area. These cities are joined by a common history – the griffin played in the family coat of arms of the Gryphites’, Slavic princes who ruled these lands from the Middle Ages for several centuries. Nowadays, we can easily find this sign in other regions – sometimes very distant from Pomerania and Poland, which is connected with global economic development. Therefore – project partners whose organizations come from Szczecin and Slupsk decided to tell the story of the red griffin.

Griffin as a mythical animal is most often presented as a winged monster with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. The oldest descriptions come from Mesopotamia with about 3 000 B. C. The symbol of griffin has probably reached Europe via the islands in the Mediterranean Sea – Crete and Cyprus around 1 600 BC. The widespread use of the griffin  symbol in heraldic symbolism in Europe took place since Middle Ages and the red griffin has started to be the symbol of the Slavic Gryphites’ dynasty in Pomerania from 12th century. This mark was on the banner of the prince of Szczecin, Kazimierz V, who was captured by the Polish king Jagiello in the battle with the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald in 1410. From the 30s of the 16th century, it was already a sign of the whole  Pomerania region  united by prince Boguslaw X. Through activities of this prince, the sign of the red griffin appeared also permanently in Denmark and Sweden. We want to share this story in our project as a metaphor for the historical routes of today’s globalization.

As mentioned, the history of the red gryphon wandering in the southern Baltic region began in the middle ages, thanks to the Pomeranian-Slupsk duke Boguslaw X, son of Warcislaw VII, who in 1412 (after the adoption by the Danish queen Margaret – his aunt) changed his name, and already as Erik I Pomeranian took the throne of three Scandinavian countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. He reigned for over thirty years seeking to control transport from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic and pursued expansive policy throughout the whole  region. The Swedish city of Skåne – Malmö was of strategic importance to him. Therefore, in 1437, Erik I gave the city of Malmö its coat of arms – a red griffin with a golden crown – describing exactly in a letter to city councillors how this coat of arms should look like. Erik I, unfortunately, did not maintain the throne, after dethroning for several years he was battling a pirate on the Baltic Sea, and finally return to Pomerania – to the castle in Darlowo and he was buried there. Earlier, he gave the treasure gained during his reign and pirate plunder to his closest relatives – the Gryphites’ dukes.

The red griffin in the form of the city coat of arms remained in the Skåne region of Sweden, and in 1901 to find its place also in the logo of the newly created Malmö machine factory, which originally produced bicycles and over the twentieth century has developed into a globally operating automotive concern Scania. The concern was finally taken over in 2014 by the Volkswagen AG group and is still growing dynamically. The head of a red griffin is constantly visible on the car masks produced by this company. By this way, the griffin ‚flies’ on the new routes of the global economy.

The rich history of the lands of Pomerania and the southern Baltic Sea area are the source of discussions and disputes between historians and politicians, but they can also be a source of useful social and economic reflection and satisfaction that people who  lived and created in this region – regardless of their nationality – made contributions to development of science and technology at the global level.

The message of the project is the idea that the present shape of the development of the region of Pomerania and its cities was influenced by representatives of various nations who inhabited these lands. Contemporary social and economic cooperation of various regions in the European community is a clasp linking the history and present shown in the project. The project aims to honor and restore the memory of those who, with their knowledge, determination, ingenuity and creativity, served science and technology, and consequently the society, contributing to the social and economic development of Pomerania. It is also important to show the role of Polish engineers and technicians in shaping the development of this region after the Second World War. Emphasizing the contribution of these people to the achievements of world science and technology, we are able to show the continuity of the idea of serving science and society, thanks to the work of people living and creating for centuries in a given area.

The main practical objective of the project is the dissemination of information among residents and tourists of West and Central Pomerania in Poland, that a number of living and creating here meritorious people for science and technology, representing representatives of different nationalities can combine the symbol of the red griffin, which is not only a historic distinguishing of regions, but also contemporary a link between people of different nationalities. The interesting history of the griffin reveals the historical richness of the Euro-region of the southern Baltic and indicates that there are ideas that unite. Undoubtedly, they include the systematic social and economic development of the Pomeranian region, which runs independently of the nationality of these lands. Symbolically, it is spliced ​​with a common heraldry shaped over the centuries, and nowadays – intensive cooperation through the global economy and international social contacts. The common roots of the gryphon in Pomerania are the development of science and technology, the contribution of people of different nationalities from different eras to the development of regions, and thus service to people and societies. The red griffin sign can be a good tool for promoting common socio-economic ideas.

Technical outline of the Polish project
Two 5-person groups of students from two academic centres -Slupsk and Szczecin will be involved in the project implementation. Students will be selected from among students of the Pomeranian Academy in Słupsk and the University of Szczecin. Their task will be, in contact with the city and regional authorities and relevant historical centres, to develop 10 biographies of prominent figures who lived and formed in the lands of Central and Western Pomerania before and after 1945. They will be people who particularly deserved to develop the science and technology of Central and Western Pomerania. In the promo movie „Meritorious for science and technology under the sign of a griffin” there will be graphically and sonically elaborated biographies of  ‘heroes’ and other materials  (e.g. interviews, albums, etc.), which will also be partially made available on the website, taking into account formal and legal possibilities in this range.

Students at the first stage of the project will work under the supervision of teachers – specialists in the field of economic history in the region of Pomerania. Their tasks at this stage are:

  • desk-research – work on historical and bibliographic materials to identify key periods and characters that have a significant impact on the socio-economic development of the region
  • interviews and consultations with representatives of local socio-economic institutions
  • determining the initial pool of about 20 names of the ‚heroes’ of the promotional material
  • selection of the target 10 names after consultation with the socio-economic partners
  • developing bio-grams of selected characters in the form of text and film narratives.

The second stage is the technical implementation of promotional material, conducted under the supervision of teachers – specialists in the field of modern multimedia technologies.

The tasks at this stage are:

  • developing a screenplay of the film and the concept of the website
  • development of graphic, photo and audio materials for the film and website
  • implementation of the website
  • making a promotional movie
  • dissemination of promotional material.

The third stage of the project is the development of a LINCE Methodological Guide which will be prepared after completed student projects of all partners. This part will be done by teachers of academic institutions participating in the project. The tasks of this stage are:

  • project based methodology description
  • audiovisual treatment and presentation of methodology.

Additionally, as an added value of the project, it is planned that students will prepare information on the contemporary occurrence of the griffin sign in coats of arms and logos in Pomerania and in the South Baltic region. This information will be made available on the project website.