Young people living in the rural area of Alto Maceratese suffer from isolation, lack of cultural services, and social exclusion both at the individual and community level. We want to tackle the issue by involving local youth in the co-creation of light facilities that can host the sociocultural services which are lacking. These pop-up spaces will be taken up by local cultural providers, enabling them to counteract geographical constraints and boosting civic participation in isolated communities.
The project will take place in the rural area of Alto Maceratese (Ripe San Ginesio, ITALY).
The area of Alto Maceratese faces the challenge of the economical, social and geographical cohesion between rural communities.
The region is negatively affected by lack of socio-cultural services, exclusion from urban flows, depopulation. In 2016, the region was hit by severe seismic events which had destructive effects on many of the premises where cultural activities could be carried out, such as schools, multipurpose rooms, historical theatres...
Furthermore, in 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the exclusion of this area, thinning down the resources that local cultural organizations could put in place in their surroundings.
As a consequence, people living in such areas suffer from social and cultural exclusion both at the individual and community level.
We aim at enhancing citizens' proactive participation through four key achievements:
>Set up an inclusive, learning-by-doing experience for young people, where they will carry out a collaborative process to tackle local issues. We strive to stimulate young entrepreneurship in the cultural sector.
>Trigger intergenerational cooperation and knowledge sharing by involving local elders in our activities.
>Provide an inspiring example of resilience-based design practice.
>Set up facilities that are affordable and flexible to changing needs, so that they empower local associations to spark cultural life in their surrounding. These facilities will be spaces of democracy: sociocultural services providers, local communities and local stakeholders will meet and co-create their cultural life.
The main target group of our activities is the youth of Alto Maceratese, as their proactive contribution to community life is often neglected in an area where the population is ageing.
We aim to include those who are harder to reach by sharing our call for volunteers through local employment offices.
We want to promote cooperation between local actors. Therefore, we also address cultural-service providers (associations, artists, artisans) who will benefit from a flexible space for their activities.
Local municipalities are supporting the project, as the pop-up facilities offer an alternative to the buildings damaged by the last earthquake.
Alto Maceratese population at large will then benefit from the enrichment of the local socio-cultural offer.
We will achieve impact through process (the workshops), product (the facilities), and activation of local actors.
Participative methodologies are at the core of our 3 main interventions:
1) Co-design (7 days): we will coordinate activities aimed at understanding the context where the facilities will be implemented, as well as at designing them. Local cultural organisations (future service providers) will join as consultants.
2) Co-building (12 days): we will guide volunteers in building the structures using locally sourced materials.
3) Activation and Migration (4 months): we will support selected service providers in the activation of the facilities and in their first action plan around the territory of Alto Maceratese in 2021.
One year from now, we will have accomplished a participative process in the Alto Maceratese. Young people will have interacted proactively with their surroundings, gaining new skills and establishing new connections. The community of Alto Maceratese will be empowered by their involvement in the making of their social and cultural life. Local authorities will have supported this pilot for a sustainable answer to the lack of sociocultural activities.
During Borgofuturo Festival 2021 the facilities will be activated and presented to a broader public of possible future users.
The structures will then migrate and animate the sociocultural offer in the area, inspiring further adoption of a flexible approach towards the geographical and economical constraints of the region.
Social isolation in rural areas represents a major challenge for European democracy, as it aggravates the rise of populist and nationalist ideas. Opposing such a trend by promoting access to culture and sociality is, hence, a way to strengthen a democratic Europe.
Moreover, thanks to the participation of Belgian and French consultants, the community of Alto Maceratese will benefit from the experience of taking part in a transnational project. Enabling a flow of expertise and ideas between the North and the South of Europe is a way of nurturing an inclusive European identity.
Communication on the project through the networks of each partner will then spread in Europe the idea of cultural reactivation through adaptable facilities, inspiring its replication elsewhere.
Growing up, we directly struggled with the cultural isolation of rural areas. Answering to the lack of sociocultural offer and geographical isolation is at the core of our activities. Ephemeral Cities is our attempt to counteract the trend in Alto Maceratese. As we also benefit from an outsider perspective – some of us live now in other European cities – we can highlight both the difficulties and the resources that rural areas offer. Through this project, we join forces with actors whose expertise and ambitions are mutually complementary.
We want to bring this project to life because it allows to:
Integrate locally a collaborative process of design and creation
Sparkle positive dynamics between urban and rural worlds
Test out a concrete alternative to social and cultural disengagement.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project management (coordination): 18.000€
Travel and accommodation costs for participants and tutors: 3.000€
> Participants: 2.000€
> Tutors: 1.000€
Tools & materials: 15.000€
> stationery and prints: 1.000€
> materials for one movable structure: 14.000€
4 Service providers: 14.000€
> Participation Co-design & Co-building: 6.000€
> Support for Migration (capacity building activities, allowance for pilot activation in 2021): 8.000€
We would like to receive feedback on the concept of the project and on the added value it can bring in rural areas, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Input for its possible amelioration are also appreciated.