Connecting with rural producers and their traditions in Várzea de Calde, Portugal 24 May 2017

spinning flax fibres

By Alessandro Vasta

I want you to remember a time when you were on holidays in a rural area and came across a local shop selling traditional hand-made products. Have you ever asked how it was made?  Who made it and why it was made in this way? And what its impact on the community was? These are some questions that spurred interest in my research topic: revalorization and innovation of local resources in rural communities. As most rural traditional products are rooted in local culture, identity and values of the place of production, a potential strategy to foster place-shaping practices can be the revalorization and innovation of local resources while maintaining traditions and values.

As part of my research within SUSPLACE, I started to conduct field visits at the beginning of May. The context of the fieldwork unfolds in a rural village of about 230 inhabitants called Várzea de Calde, in the Viseu Municipality in the interior centre region of Portugal. It is a village characterized by an ageing population and emigration trends, as is most of the interior of the region, but also by a strong tradition related to linen. This is shown through the local museum “Casa de Lavoura / Oficina do Linho de Várzea de Calde” which has a permanent exhibition on traditional linen production, a cooperative of traditional producers (Cooperativa do Linho de Várzea de Calde) and a singing group (Grupo Etnográfico de Trajes e Cantares do Linho de Várzea) which perform songs related to linen.

… read more »

Final opportunity to participate in the SUSPLACE Autumn School 2017 11 May 2017 - We offer a final opportunity to participate in the SUSPLACE Autumn School 2017 ‘Shaping Places, Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries’, hosted by the University of Aveiro, Portugal and taking place from October 2-6, 2017. We welcome applications from PhD candidates and Early Stage Researchers, and encourage  participants to bring in their own research projects and proceedings.The Autumn School focuses ... read more »
People make places 19 April 2017 - Lisbon Giant Street Art. Picture by Kevin Poh. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinpoh/5140012026 under Creative Commons license. “People make places”. With this sentence the journalist of Click, a Portuguese radio program from the national radio Antena 1, introduced and tried to summarize SUSPLACE and what we are doing regarding sustainable place-shaping practices, initiatives, values and local resources. During ... read more »
Back to basics and it feels good! 13 April 2017 - Do you ever have the feeling that in order to live more sustainably you have to make lots of sacrifices? That you have to give up on those things that actually bring joy, comfort and pleasure to your life? Living lightly and feeling good You might want to think twice. Research shows that people who live lightly ... read more »
Managing forests collectively in Galicia 6 April 2017 - Do you know what happened to historical commonlands in Europe? Before the 18th century many of our rural areas where managed directly by communities. Today, many of these historical commonlands have been taken by the state, are privatised or abandoned. To show what’s happening in a community in Galicia, Spain, I made a short video (above). O ... read more »
SUSPLACE’s third training in Leuven 3 April 2017 - Holland’s College, Leuven. Photo: Marie Quinney As we come to the end of the first year of the project, the third training session hosted by KU Leuven provided the researchers with time to reflect on progress made, gain insight into how to move forward and acquire valuable skills. This training included 3 core modules: Sustainable Place-Shaping, ... read more »
An exercise in participatory mapping 28 March 2017 - Participatory mapping at the Sustainable Places Research Institute in Cardiff. Picture: Lorena Axinte In the Sustainable Places Research Institute – the place where I am based, some Friday afternoons are dedicated to one-hour seminars where academics can give short presentations of their work. These sessions are open for anyone to attend and the audience is generally made of approximately ... read more »

View all posts