November 2007 saw the first ‘Semeando UFRJ’ festival in Paraty. This date marks the beginning of a collaboration between the local population and the University. The festival was a reduced version of the UFRJ-Mar festival that has been happening yearly for the past 6 years, taking the University to remote part of the state of Rio de Janeiro, to areas where historically the University has had little or no presence.

‘Semeando UFRJ’ involved around 200 students and staff from UFRJ, who organised around 30 workshops, seminars and lectures. More than 4,000 people praticipated in these events, mainly students and teachers from government schools.

Since then, UFRJ has been working in collaboration with the Associação Casa Azul and the town council of Paraty to develop projects that would ensure the presence of the University in Paraty. The projects started with a public consultation with various local groups, such as fishermen, artisans, local caiçara people and quilombo inhabitants, to decide on priority areas of intervention, inform public policy, and discuss the creation of equitable and sustainable trade networks.

The first outcome of these meetings was the decision to create a ‘politecnic’ school that will also serve as the organising centre for various other actions in the town, such as seminars, courses and events.