Boulouki: Itinerant Workshop for the Traditional Building Techniques
Municipality of Central Tzoumerka
Municipality of North Tzoumerka
Municipalities to support organisational needs and collaborate on legal framework. P2P Lab to advice on the commons and guide through the right implementation of open source technologies.
The occurring loss of traditional heritage seems to be having mounting consequences on the wellbeing and independency of the next generations, as well as on the future of remote rural areas. The proposal’s objective is to map built elements of the agri-cultural landscape of Tzoumerka through participatory practices, and promote an undistracted and inclusive voluntary engagement of citizens in the management of heritage as cultural commons, supported by an improved and efficient legal framework.
Tzoumerka, a mountain area in the region of Epirus, NW Greece (141 villages - 2 Municipalities)
Tzoumerka, a typical case of a remote mountain area of Greece, is greatly affected by regional disparities, dysfunctional policies of decentralised governance and inequitably allocated economic resources ―both across the wider region of Epirus and between the municipalites―. As a consequence, depopulation and the aging community, deprived of the tools to preserve a link to its productive past state, mean the depletion of the capacity to collectively imagine and create a sustainable future. The proposed idea aims for an active community involvement in the management of a common cultural resource: the local tradition of stone-craft, in which dynamics relatable to the local reality have been identified, that could become agents for the alteration of this ominous narrative for the region.
Our proposal is based on the re-introduction of the forgotten practice of "mintati", which translates as help/solidarity, and was the typical way of cooperation between the community members for the building and maintenance of the built environment in order to meet their needs. A certain level of autonomy, as well as the understanding of the value of individual contribution for the common benefit, as implied by the practice of “mintati”, are key concepts of an empowered and active community. Given that similar practices prevailed in the past all around Greece and internationally, we hope that the endevour in Tzoumerka could set an example of a systematic approach to local governance practices in the present context, which could be more widely adopted in the future.
Inclusiveness is pivotal to the idea, which is targeting the local community as a whole, mainly the permanent residents, but also those who originate from Tzoumerka and visit/stay on a regular basis, while maintaining strong bonds to the area and are up-to-date with the local affairs. The community is encouraged to actively assist the implementation of the idea while being the beneficiary of the results. Everyone will be given the opportunity to voice their opinion, attend talks, engage in open discussions and participate in hands-on mapping and educational activities. Furthermore, a small group of representatives from the administration and educational sectors will attend capacity building seminars, in order to further support the progress of the works.
The planning is divided into three thematic groups:
1) Participatory heritage mapping [digital mintati]: with the participation of the community and the use of various methods (questionnaires, discussions, on site walks), to enrich an open database and a digital platform.
2) Investigation and proposals for the improvement of the related legal framework [rules of mintati]: in collaboration with legal advisors and qualified personnel from the municipalities.
3) Pilot participatory heritage restoration activities [mintati in place]: organised by the locals for the locals, with our support, guidance and coordination.
All information is to be disseminated efficiently amongst the community and to the wider public, in favour of an open and inclusive bidirectional exchange of opinions.
A year from now,
1) important part of the local heritage will have been located and referenced in an open and easy to use digital platform. This will assist the monitoring and management of heritage by both formal and informal actors and stress the right to access public information.
2) voluntary civic engagement in traditional heritage restoration works will be promoted by an improved legal framework, that allows certain autonomy and efficiently deals with health&safety and other legal issues.
3) a community more aware of the integral values of local heritage and their prospect to become means of rural revitalisation, will be ready to take action.
4) ways to strike a balance between bottom-up and top-down processes in the management of cultural commons will have been developed.
Remote rural european communities face specific challenges emerging from EUs internal policies, which in the case of Greece are intensified by their inadequate adaptation on the regional and local scale. Although, there is great diversity amongst the EU member states, it is clear that the empowerment of rural communities and the understanding of the integral value of bottom-up processes in the public realm, are critical for the viability of the european democratic concept. The idea is based on offering the community a central role in the making of heritage management policies, while the outcomes will provide ground to discuss politics in action and from a creative, inclusive and comprehensive perspective, contributing to the international dialogue on active citizenship and civic cohesion.
The proposal is part of a wider vision that began to take shape during the implementation of our first project in Tzoumerka back in 2018. Given that we are willing to continue this endevour for the years to come, we consider the proposed idea to be a milestone, since it is focusing on working closely with the locals as a vital part of the process, without which it would be impossible to achieve any significant lasting impact across the region. Inspired by the people that we meet and work with, we are determined to investigate their social role as the treasure keepers of local heritage and knowledge, and based on this fact to support them gain the skills needed to create their own tailored interpretation of active citizenship within the local contemporary context.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
12000 EUR Digital tools (database, platform, equipment)
10000 EUR Mapping workshops (personnel costs, materials, equipment)
10000 EUR Legal framework investigation (personnel cost, experts, dissemination)
8000 EUR Project management, coordination
7000 EUR Accommodation & travel expenses
3000 EUR Office and other expenses
22000 EUR Restoration works (craftspeople, materials)
8000 EUR Survey mapping (personnel, equipment)
It would be great to get feedback by initiatives that focus in the fields of heritage management and the commons, of law/policies/legislations related to volunteering for building in public space, and of participatory mapping practices.