Cultural and heritage tourism plays an important role in the local economy of many of Europe's rural areas and is also developing new business and prompting economic development across the continent. The creative sector can have a significant impact on the creation of new domestic products and revolutionise the ways in which our cultural heritage can be developed and packaged by communities as tourism products and services and for local consumption. Cultural heritage can also have an impact on local development by reinforcing the identity of rural communities, strengthening the sense of place and enhancing social cohesion.
Rural landscapes form an essential part of our heritage; they are significant witnesses to the past and present interventions of humans on the natural environment, being a timeless archive where the ways people have lived and organised themselves in certain places are depicted. The term "cultural landscapes" has been defined by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as "distinct geographical areas or properties" that uniquely "..represent the combined work of nature and of man..". The cultural landscape conveys many different and complex meanings, values and aspirations, contributing to identity building, social relations and communication of experience, thus becoming a part of the local culture. The principles of the European Landscape Convention offer some valuable arguments for the preservation of the natural and cultural properties of landscapes, and for stimulating the involvement of local communities in this task.
This summer academy aims to examine carefully the links between rural landscape, rural heritage and culture, paying also special attention to the role of the creative industries in shaping such links and creating added value for local communities. Developing the cultural and creative industries is not a panacea for all rural problems but it has a number of positive attractions and it is one among many opportunities that rural communities can consider to improve productivity and incomes. The summer academy will discuss and debate how the heritage endowed in rural communities by their nature and culture can be exploited by the creative industries for the benefit of rural development; and how communities can take advantage of new developments in the creative and cultural sectors - which include very dynamic industries with new products and services.
Components of this year's theme will include the following:
1. The challenges that rural landscapes are facing in relation to their heritage and cultural makeup
2. The contribution of the European Landscape Convention in the preservation of the cultural elements of landscapes and the mobilisation of local communities
3. The contribution of the creative industries in highlighting and valorising the links between culture, landscapes and heritage
4. Learning and education in the creative, cultural and heritage sectors (including inter-generational connections)
5. Creating new jobs (economic development) through the creative, cultural and heritage industries
6. Motivating local communities and the contribution of local culture and heritage to community development including tools for motivating local participants, growing local ownership and taking on responsibilities
7. Balancing the needs of development and protection of community local cultural heritage
The Target Group: managers and animators within the rural cultural and creative industries, rural tourism & rural development, community developers, providers of rural cultural and creative sector products and services, researchers, policy makers, local and regional authorities, LEADER and local action groups, environmental and development NGOs, economic and development agencies, training providers.
The 12th Summer Academy welcomes participants from all over Europe, south, north, east and west, who are working in the field of rural development. Professional people working in local or regional authorities, development agencies, LEADER and other local action groups, NGOs or other local groups active in rural development are welcome. The course is designed for 40 participants, who will be invited to share their experiences, to acquire new knowledge and skills and to benefit from the wide networking opportunities offered by Euracademy Association. Participants should have a reasonable command of English.
The Format: introduction, thematic study tours, lectures and discussion workshops
The 12th Summer Academy will take place in Loški potok, Slovenia; it will benefit from the experiences of 11 previous Summer Academies held in an equal number of different locations around Europe. Following the arrival of participants on 13th July, an international dinner is held in the evening to warm up the group and give opportunities for participants to meet and discuss in a relaxed environment. The first two days are devoted to lectures and discussion workshops. The following two days will be spent on the Thematic Study Tours. Each tour will focus on a village and its surroundings and will include practical examples on a specific study theme. A Study Tour report will be prepared by participants, which will describe their experiences and make proposals for implementing rural tourism activities and strategies in the area. These reports will be presented and discussed in a plenary session on the day following the study tours. The final two days will be devoted to panel discussions, debating and drawing conclusions, evaluating the Summer Academy and networking. The departure days are 21st or 22nd July 2013.
The outstanding cultural landscape of Retje-Loški Potok
The landscape of Retje-Loški Potok is characterised by its recognisable spatial structure within a wide valley lying on the high karstic plateau in southern Slovenia. The centrally positioned village of Retje in the valley bottom dominates the landscape and although sometimes (especially following heavy precipitation) the underground water table rises dangerously, it rarely reaches the houses, thanks to their wisely chosen location on the highest points of the uneven valley bottom. The village is embedded in the traditional agricultural field pattern of mainly rectangular plots dating back to the 1820's and run from the bottom upwards to the top of the forested slopes on the both sides of the connecting road. To highlight the uniqueness, both sides of the longitudinal valley are distinguished by a church – on the one side the parish church of Saint Lenard while on the other the chapel of Saint Florian.
Course support: Thematic Guide and Participants' Handbook
Course materials will be provided before and during the Summer Academy in printed and electronic format. This includes a course manual on the theme of the rural cultural and creative industries and a Participants' handbook, which includes practical information and the methodology that will be used in the Summer Academy, as well as tasks for participants to prepare before arriving to the Summer Academy. Administrative and tutorial support will be offered by the host Institute and Euracademy Association. Lecturers and facilitators are recruited among the host organisations and Euracademy Association members.
The cost of attending the Summer Academy is kept to a minimum. There is no attendance fee, but a charge to cover accommodation, course materials, full board and travel for the study tours. The cost is 450 Euro per person and a small number of scholarships are also available covering part of the participation cost. The charge includes also the subscription fee for one year's Euracademy Association membership.
How to apply
Learn about the previous summer academies by clicking here.