The Euracademy 1st Summer Academy of 2002
Imagine a group of wooden buildings set among grass and pine trees on a coastline of the Baltic sea. Imagine sun and gentle wind on an August day. Imagine a group of 60 people from 19 different European countries enjoying that sun and wind while learning.
That was the spirit of the Euracademy summer school of August 2002 – a lively experiment in training which turned into a multi-cultural party. The 60 people – 39 mid-career professionals and students and 21 staff – were together for 12 days, focused on the subject of ‘Developing Sustainable Rural Tourism’. The location was the island of Gotland, which is rich in examples of rural tourism: you can find a description of it at www.gotland.net .
The students, from 17 countries, were from a variety of professions – planners, tourism professionals, university staff, farmers and others. Their average age was 33, and two-thirds of them were women.
Before they arrived in Gotland, the students received :
- A Participant’s handbook, which introduced them to the programme of the Summer School and to the highly participative approach to the training.
- A Thematic Guide to ’Developing Sustainable Rural Tourism’
The eight chapters of the Guide formed a thematic structure for the first 5 days of the Summer School, which were spent in a series of presentations, group discussions, games and other lively procedures. The participants also spent a half day at the closing ceremony of the Mediaeval Festival in the famous walled town of Visby, capital of Gotland.
After this largely indoor phase, the gathering split up into 7 groups, who took off in minibuses for a three-day study tour, each group going to a different corner of the island of Gotland. The groups stayed over two nights in a variety of accommodation, met the local people, and made formal visits and interviews to a number of tourism enterprises. Each group prepared a written report. Six of these reports can be found by clicking below. The seventh, of South Gotland, took the form of a CD film, which cannot be reproduced on the website.
When the whole Summer School reassembled, these study group reports and the CD from South Gotland formed the basis for a series of playful or dramatic presentations.
The final days of the Summer School included a series of discussions about the themes of rural tourism. The participants focused together on the contacts that they had made with each other, and on the potential for future networking among them; and a formal evaluation session of the Summer Academy conducted by the external evaluator of the project.