6th Summer Academy

The Euracademy 6th Summer Academy of 2007

The Euracademy Association in the framework of the EC CULTURE 2000 programme, CULT-RURAL: Promotion of a Cultural Area Common to European Rural Communities , organised the 6th Summer Academy on “Culture Sustainable Rural Development” in the city of Chania, Crete (Greece) on 17th – 26th August 2007. The participants (museum staff, managers of cultural activities, members of cultural associations, researchers, professionals of ethnography, history and art, teachers, policy makers, managers and animators of rural development) and lecturers came from 17 European countries to discuss the role of culture in the process of achieving Sustainable Rural Development.The average age of the students was around 40.

Before they arrived in Chania, the students received a Participant’s handbook, which introduced them to the programme of the 6th Summer Academy and to the highly participative approach to the training. In it they were also asked to write their own case studies and bring them along and present them during the third and fourth days of the Academy to the other participants.

Upon arrival they received the draft  to “Culture and Sustainable Rural Development”. A second edition of this, will be revised and enriched in the light of the Summer Academy and will be prepared and printed as a book.

The 6th Summer Academy welcomed about 60 participants, who shared their experiences, acquired new knowledge and skills and benefited from the wide networking opportunities offered by Euracademy Association. Click  to check the event’s programme.

On the first day there was an open space session, where participants introduced themselves and expressed their individual objectives and expectations from the Summer Academy. During the afternoon there was an introductory lecture by Peter Howard on Rural Heritage, Rural Culture and Global Culture. In the evening an international dinner was organised, where the most typical meals and drinks from the home countries of participants were served. This had been a great opportunity for everyone to meet in a more informal way and of course to get a small taste of each others’ culture and culinary heritage.

On the second day three lectures were given, the first on “Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Rural Development” by Dr. Jane Downes (UK), the second on “Preservation of Culture: the rural museum of the 21st century” by Michel Colardelle (FR) and the third on “Preservation of Culture: the Rural Museum of the 21st Century” by Dr. Mauricio Maggi (IT). After each lecture small group discussions and workshops followed with the active participation of all students.

On the third day two further lectures and workgroups were held, the first on “The contribution of culture in the local economic agenda” by Joan Asby (UK) and the second on “Activating rural communities as cultural agents” by Katriina Siivonen (FI).

During the fourth day the final lecture and workgroups were held on “Planning rural develop-ment with a focus on culture” by Dr. Fouli Papageorgiou (GR).

The fourth day also included a series of thematic workshops:

  • Local cultural planning – Agenda 21, led by Raul Abeledo (ES)
  • Landscapes:The European Landscape Convention, led by Peter Howard (UK) and Jane Downes (UK)
  • Heritage trails, led by Marco Koscak (SL)
  • Sustainability game, led by Joan Asby (UK)

On the fifth and sixth days (22nd and 23rd August) five different study trips were organised to surrounding rural areas to visit examples of good practice. The participants were divided in 5 groups; each group headed for different regions of the three major counties of Crete, Chania, Rethymnon and Heraclion on a strictly organised programme of visits and interviews with local administrators and entrepreneurs. The participants had a chance to become ac-quainted with some interesting Cretan institutions (e.g. museums and cultural centres, national parks, eco-tourist places, development associations etc.) and explore their contribution to sustainable rural development. The most discussed places, which made a lasting impression on visitors, were the eco-tourist village of Milia, the archaeological Museum of Rethymnon, the monastery of Arcadi, the archaeological site of Faestos, the village of Vamos and the area of Sfakia.
After the study trips the participants prepared their reports and worked on their presentations aiming to share their experiences with the others. The presentations, illustrated with photos, pictures and live performances, were held on the 7th day, being one of the highlights of the 6th Summer Academy.

Throughout the summer academy a series of VPL (Validation of Prior Learning) meetings were held by Kees Schuur and Annett Walter aiming to provide the participants with the methodology and tools to identify and valorize individual competences obtained during the summer academy, in the frame of a more global assessment of the individual’s needs.

On the last day, in the course of a plenary session led by a mixed panel, consisting of lecturers, facilitators and students, the participants summarised and evaluated what they had experienced and learnt during the past eight days. According to their opinion the 6th Summer Academy was very successful, provided them with knowledge and new skills, improved their understanding of other cultures, helped them to make new friends professional as well as personal and created unique experiences during a really pleasant and smooth stay in Crete. Click  to see the Evaluation Summary.