Territorio Mudéjar, an example of good practices at the seminar on cultural heritage as a sustainable resource in ‘empty Spain’

Territorio Mudéjar participates in the leading forums on heritage and innovation, including the online seminar entitled “El patrimonio cultural como recurso sostenible en la España vaciada” (Cultural heritage as a sustainable resource in empty Spain), sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports. We not only attended, in this case, but also stood out as a role model of good practices.

At this meeting, coordinated by the Cultural Heritage Institute of Spain (IPCE) and held on October 5 and 6, the lecturers included full professors of the art history department at University of Zaragoza Ascensión Hernández Martínez and María Pilar Biel Ibáñez, who gave a conference entitled “La cultura y el patrimonio como recurso: la lucha de Aragón contra la despoblación” (Culture and heritage as a resource: Aragon’s fight against depopulation).

In line with the theme of the seminar, they discussed how this demographic challenge requires coming up with strategies to encourage people to stay in places with difficulties and studying measures that generate social benefits for the residents, attract visitors and possible new residents, and turn heritage into a driver of the economy, tourism and employment and, above all, to uphold a cultural identity.

In this regard, they explained how we, at Territorio Mudéjar, strive to consolidate a unified, collaborative management network for the use of historical and artistic resources linked to important Mudejar heritage in our towns. And also how we see these resources as a driving force in the development of the towns and as emblems of identity for upholding the communities existing in our region.

They further highlighted that our entity ensures that the projects directly affect the region through responsible and sustainable management of Mudejar cultural heritage.

Experts from the IPCE, the University of Seville’s Industrial Heritage Laboratory, the Santa María la Real and DeClausura Foundations, the Polytechnic University of Madrid School of Architecture, and Asociación Amigos de los Castillos, to name a few, also participated in the seminar. They discussed the issue of desertion of rural areas and the ensuing consequences for heritage, including the loss of traditional architecture and monuments, movable assets, habits and intangible customs.

They also assessed good practices such as reputable cultural routes, famous restoration projects, preserved monuments, foundations whose efforts have had excellent outcomes and models such as that of Territorio Mudéjar.

Meeting on depopulation: new job profiles for building a rural future

Territorio Mudéjar participated in the meeting on depopulation sponsored by Cadena SER in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Zaragoza on October 15 and 16 in Daroca and Paracuellos de Jiloca, reflecting on rural areas as a place for opportunities.

At the meeting, it was explained that towns need more than infrastructures to survive; specifically, intangible strategies are required, such as networking by public and private entities and a commitment to creativity and talent, ideas that form the foundations of Territorio Mudéjar.

Territorio Mudéjar sees the rural world as a place for opportunities at all levels, in which – as remarked during the meeting – disruptive elements that prompt a turning point are needed.

For Territorio Mudéjar, one key disruptive feature is professionalizing job profiles* linked to heritage, because this makes it possible to boost employment in rural settings, attract professionals and develop projects entailing investments.

For this reason, we are committed to finding new uses for heritage spaces and landscapes, such as technical tours, teaching specific subjects in these spaces, funding for internships, etc.

We further strengthen this course of action by attracting highly qualified professionals who generate diverse entrepreneurship projects that prompt them to settle in Mudejar locations. A clear example of this is our fieldwork grants for project development.

Furthermore, Territorio Mudéjar is seen as a role model of management and good practices in cooperation projects and transnational funding, with round tables, workshops, conferences and more.

In addition, Territorio Mudéjar engages in another of the leading lines of work highlighted at the Cadena SER meeting: education. Through projects such as ‘Territorio Mudéjar Circular desde la escuela’ (Territorio Mudéjar, Circular from schools), we strive to integrate heritage and its methods into curricula in order to raise awareness in school children about the identity of their towns and help them discover the professional options in their region. We do this through a cooperation project with local development groups, in which we are a partner.

*This Territorio Mudéjar project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sports, and by the Provincial Government of Zaragoza through its direct support for our entity.