He was from an aristocratic family. As he was very young, it appeared that Toulouse was suffering from a congenital illness due to his parents being closely related genetically. In such a wealthy family it was very common to marry between first cousins in order to protect the patrimony. This illness known as Pycnodysostosis (nowadays commonly called Toulouse-Lautrec syndrome) weakened his bones. Because of two serious horse-riding accidents, his legs stopped growing, letting him for the rest of his life with the legs of a child.
Unable to pursue his original equestrian passion, he started to take art lessons. At the time of his arrival in Paris in 1882, he rejected the idea to join L’École des Beaux-Arts and rather decided to frequent small studios which were approaching unorthodox training and experimental tendencies. He especially met Van Gogh there, with whom he became a friend. Living on his own for the first time, the young eighteen year old man went wild and started to take part in the crazy nightlife of the bohemian Montmarte.
As an Impressionist learner, he was working on site, painting his compositions on the very spot of his nights. He was frequenting famous cabarets, bars, circuses and brothels of the capital. Thus, most of his models were performers, crooners or prostitutes. The particularity of Toulouse-Lautrec was that being himself sort of a marginal, the workers of the night could have entire trust in him and were not afraid of any judgment.
Later, the artist produced several advertising posters for the Moulin Rouge and other nightclubs. He became an important figure of the Bohemian Parisian world of the end of the nineteenth century. He died because of alcoholism and syphilis in 1901. Last but not least, he is also the inventor of a cocktail called The Earthquake, made of half absinthe and half cognac.
Text written in March 2019.
Elisa Maurice, a volunteer from France.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.