Alentejo Regional Workshop – Day 1
The workshop opened with welcoming speeches from local stakeholders. The first one was Dra. Maria do Céu Batista Ramos, Secretary General of the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, who explained how heritage is not only something to be preserved but a driving force of inspiration. Marcos António Nogueira, Alentejo Permanent Representative in Brussels, pointed out the importance of getting involved with the EU Heritage Cloud initiative, contributing with ideas for the future and making sure the regional needs are considered. João Grilo, President of ADRAL – Alentejo’s Regional Development Agency, highlighted the importance of the workshop to produce knowledge as key to all changes that need to be done at regional level.
Delving into Alentejo’s cultural heritage ecosystem
The morning sessions were focused on showcasing the cultural heritage ecosystem of the Alentejo region. This section started with Alexandra Correia, Coordinator of the Department of Development and Cooperation of ADRAL, who presented an overview of the region. Alentejo is one of the most preserved regions in Portugal, with a total of 491 classified cultural real estate assets and a list of intangible heritage recognised by UNESCO. Correia explained collaboration among entities and a more fluent dialogue with policy makers to express their views are points to be improved.
Following this first introduction, a panel discussion on the region took place:
- Carmen Carvalheira, Vice-Preisdent of CCDR Alentejo. Carvalheira expressed the importance for all regional entities to work together and coordinate activities in order to take better decisions.
- Ana Paula Amendoeira, Regional Director of Culture. Amendoeira ratified the notion of knowledge as THE keyword for Alentejo to identify, map, study and promote heritage from a future perspective. Additionally, a focus was placed on traditional knowledge, as something neglected to a second place when it can actually be the key tool for the future.
- Hermínia Vilar, Rector of the University of Évora. Vilar stressed the fact Alentejo was one of the first regions to put cultural heritage in the center of its policies. Her vision was focused on the importance of heritage for the future and how to prepare young people for its preservation as an indispensable political, social, economic element.
This rich exchange of visions led to small focus groups with local stakeholders to reflect on their experience and views on this particular heritage ecosystem.
Best practices cases: Heritales & Hercules Lab
First pitch on professions and skills best practices was led by Maria Zozaya from the Heritales – International Heritage Film Festival. Launched in 2017, the festival aims to promote the dissemination through various media, presenting anthropological knowledge of different cultures through cinema and documentaries. Zozaya presented how storytelling is used to achieve the mission of the festival, recurring to a diversity of formats and activities such as animations, gamifications, installations and film projections.
The second pitch had António Candeias as speaker, Professor at the University of Évora, in representation of the Hercules Laboratory. The institution aims to valorise and preserve heritage as well as train young generations on their many fields of research: past cultures, sciences for the arts, sciences for heritage conservation, new materials and tools for heritage.
The second part of the day began with a large overview of EU policies and initiatives in the field of intangible cultural heritage. The session led by Ondina Taut (National Heritage Institute Romania) and Astrid Hannes (ERRIN), offered participants valuable information regarding funding opportunities, as well as recommendations and examples.
Later, the Work Package 2 held an interactive exercise using the CHARTER CH ecosystem model and Spiderweb Diagram. Local stakeholders used the CHARTER framework to place their daily tasks and activities on the six heritage functions (research and development/education; management; governance and policy making; preservation and safeguarding; engagement and use; recognition) to reflect on their profiles and map skills shortages or needs.
To finish the first day, all participants and CHARTER members visited the Resource Centre for Oral Tradition and Intangible Heritage, where Miguel Pedro (Department of Culture & Heritage from the City Council of Évora) & Rui Animateia introduced the institution. The Centre works for the promotion and inventory of values of Évora and Alentejo intangible cultural heritage in order to contribute to the construction and preservation of the collective memory, sharing and identity of the territory. The collection is very diverse, with a strong focus on tales and stories, which Animateia himself makes sure to collect from the community.
Alentejo Regional Workshop – DAY 2
Education and Training sessions
The second day of the workshop started with a session dedicated to best practices on Vocational Education and Training and beyond with the participation of Paula Caeiro (Regional Delegate of Instituto do Emprego e Formação Profissional); Pedro Torrão (Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude) and Filipe Duarte (Transforma: Programme for an Inclusive Culture in Central Alentejo – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Alentejo Central).
Work Package 3 continued with its session aimed at discussing gaps and needs in education and training programmes. Local stakeholders were split into two groups to test WP3’s methodology to assess gaps & needs and to discuss which type of indicators better define “innovative” and “emerging” curricula.
The next panel was developed under the theme “Education and Youth: Valorisation and Recognition of Regional Cultural Heritage”. The panel was joined by Ana Telles (Director of the School of Fine Arts of the University of Évora), Carlos Filipe (Centro de Estudos de Cultura, História, Artes e Património) and Pedro Mestre, viola campaniça player and teacher.
- The School of Fine Arts’ mission is transferring knowledge to the community, with interinstitutional cooperation (at national and international levels) and foster intercultural dialogue and the study and enhancement of cultural heritage.
- The CECHAP’s mission is to study and spread the Alentejo heritage, both material and immaterial, through knowledge transmission of the culture, history, arts and heritage in their different kind of expressions. The non-profit organisation works mainly in low density territories from Alentejo, thus giving voice to the local communities to defend their heritage and its best interests.
- Mestre explained the viola campaniça is a traditional instrument considered extinguished until not so long ago. He’s in charge of training children to play the instrument and to sing traditional songs. For this purpose, a centre for training was established in 2017, where besides playing the instrument, the knowledge of how to build the instrument is also shared. This activity engages the local community with an intergenerational approach.
The last panel of the workshop was focused on circular economy and specific projects linked to reskilling/upskilling in the field of heritage. The panel was joined by Paulo Ferreira (Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre), Elsa Nunes (IrRADIARE), Mariana Pinto e Costa (Beecircular) and Rosa Onofre (Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo). Each of the different cases underlined different approaches and initiatives to work on energy and waste valorisation, agrobusiness and sustainable production, ecological designs, products life extension, re-conceptualising architectural structures, etc.
Site vists: Paço de São Miguel and Estremoz
The Alentejo Regional Workshop allowed CHARTER members to discover the wealth of heritage of the region. On the second day, a guided visit to the Paço de São Miguel (St. Michael’s Palace) took place. This building dates back to the Middle Ages, and its current state is linked mainly to 2 families who inhabited it: the Counts of Basto and the Eugénio de Almeida family.
To conclude the workshop, all CHARTER members and participants visited Estremoz to discover the UNESCO recognised ceramic dolls, and the Municipal Museum with its laboratory for conservation-restoration of tiles.