‘Rural Erasmus’ has gone international

Territorio Mudéjar collaborates with the European university project UNITA- Universitas Montium in which the universities of Zaragoza; Turin (Italy), which acts as coordinator; Pau and Savoy Montblanc in France; West Timisoara in Romania, and Beira Interior in Portugal participate.

The project aims to strengthen the skills and improve the employability of university students, connecting public and private rural organisations with students who want to put their knowledge into practice.

In Territorio Mudéjar we have counted on Giacomo Pasini, an Italian student who is finishing a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at the University of Turin and who during these weeks has accompanied our students of the Challenge Programme.

Giacomo – originally from Sartirana Lomellina, in the province of Pavia (Lombardy) – is researching the impact of the climate crisis on local communities, with a special interest in the forms of adaptation and resistance to the crisis. “I work on two themes: environmental migrations and local ecological knowledge as a resource against climate change,” he explains.

Why did you choose Territorio Mudéjar for your internship? “I was interested in approaching an association that works with cultural heritage in rural areas and learning strategies to strengthen the connection between the villages that are part of the network developed by the entity”, he answers. And then adds: “I have settled in the town of Tobed together with Eugenia, Elena and Diego, and I am working with them on the different projects they are carrying out within Territorio Mudéjar”.

With this programme, we are reinforcing our Centro de Innovación Rural project through the management of heritage and the use of heritage space as a learning space.

The first students in the 2020 Challenge Program reach Territorio Mudéjar

The first students in the Challenge Program, which is funded by the DPZ and organized by the University of Zaragoza, are now at Territorio Mudéjar, learning and implementing applied cultural heritage management models. This is the third edition of this initiative, which enables university students to do internships in towns in the province of Zaragoza in order to encourage young people with good ideas come to – and stay – in rural settings.

“By showing students how we work with the heritage in these towns, we pave the way for them to choose how they want to focus their careers in the future, and we hope that this future is closely related to our region,” explains Victoria Trasobares, director of Territorio Mudéjar.

The group of Art History students participating in the Challenge Program –María Foradada, María Domínguez, Elena López and Sarai Salvo- have been living in Tobed, the town where the entity’s offices are located, since early August, learning about the working system there. They are joined by Eugenia Gallego, María Irazabal and Derry Holgado, working remotely.

The program’s first phase consists in an introduction to the entity and its working methods, familiarizing the students with the networking system and the partners involved: city councils, culture officials and individuals in charge of cultural and heritage dissemination programs, combining classroom learning with fieldwork. In addition, the students are being trained in the cultural heritage management project methodology by professionals in diverse disciplines such as project design and assessment, awareness of the applied management models implemented in our region, and in the fields of project dissemination management and communication.

The Challenge Program – now in its third edition – is aligned with Territorio Mudéjar’s strategic aim of fostering for-credit and training internships and professionalizing job profiles linked to heritage in order to boost employment in rural settings, attract professionals and develop projects that entail conservation of our heritage and investments in our towns as a distinguishing feature.

How is Territorio Mudéjar unique? It is a part of the rural setting, working with a network of 34 municipalities and numerous cross-disciplinary professionals, bolstered by the international renown afforded through the declaration of three monuments pertaining to the member towns as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Additionally, it is committed to professionalism, scientific rigor, innovation and sustainability, while also ensuring that the inhabitants of the towns are inextricably involved in the projects.