2019 Fieldwork: Mudejar heritage and learning, educational material: understanding heritage to appreciate it and create models for rural development

A cross-disciplinary team of seven researchers has developed the fieldwork project entitled Landscapecultural heritage and depopulation, which consists in preparing educational materials for secondary school students to work on the relationships between depopulation and cultural heritage in the Territorio Mudéjar towns as part of their classwork. The aim is for students to acquire skills that help them understand and appreciate this heritage and to come up with models and proposals for rural development in order to counteract depopulation trends.

The materials are openly available for use by other schools, thus also fostering knowledge about Mudejar heritage in towns beyond Territorio Mudéjar. They can be found at: https://paisaje-patrimonio-cultural-y-despoblacin-cmzgz.hub.arcgis.com/

These materials introduce the use of ICTs in the classroom, with tools that are similar to those already widely in use in the workplace, and they offer students a geographic analysis tool with which to work on the curriculum contents of the subject of Geography. They also provide an educational resource that promotes methodological and didactic renewal, and teachers can adapt them to the characteristics of the group or to specific students. Guidance, support and online training in the use and development of this application during the school year are also available.

The materials created are presented on a website arranged into several sections. Firstly, there are multimedia applications about specific theme-based content, which were prepared in Story Map Cascade, a template that combines narrative text, maps, images and multimedia content. In each application there are interactive maps for working with distinct layers of information, with activities and instructions for the students. There are also field project viewers that are used for planning, capturing, analyzing and presenting different projects carried out on site in relation to intangible heritage, natural heritage, cultural heritage and types of landscape. Finally, some brief explanatory videos about the interactive maps and their tools have been added.

This secondary school project complements the Territorio Mudéjar initiative for primary school entitled “Rural school as the start of the circle”, in which we aim to introduce heritage working methods into the curricula of rural schools. The objective is for students to understand and appreciate the heritage that surrounds them, thus strengthening their roots and identification with their region.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (2) Territorio Mudéjar and cultural landscape

THE AUTHORS:

  • Carlos Guallart Moreno, project coordinator, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and History and a Master’s in Territorial and Environmental Organization, at Santa María del Pilar school (Zaragoza).
  • Noelia Cuartero Latorre, a graduate in Geography and Regional Planning from the University of Zaragoza.
  • María Felisa Ferraz Gracia, who holds a PhD in Information and Documentation, at Sagrado Corazón de Jesús school (Zaragoza).
  • María Laguna Marín-Yaseli, with a PhD in Geography, at El Salvador school (Zaragoza).
  • Alfredo Ollero Ojeda, with a PhD in Geography, University of Zaragoza
  • Beatriz Rodrigo Garza, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and a Master’s in Cultural Heritage Management, teacher at La Azucarera secondary school (Zaragoza)
  • Javier Velilla Gil, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and History, and department head at El Portillo secondary school (Zaragoza).

2019 Fieldwork: 3D Mudejar World Heritage: digital graphic documentation and educational outreach to revalue Mudejar architecture

The 3D Mudejar World Heritage project is a cross-disciplinary initiative that proposes two complementary actions aimed at revaluing Mudejar heritage. On the one hand, several buildings were registered in a digital inventory and virtual reconstructions were created using a combination of 3D scanners, photogrammetry and drone filming. These include the collegiate church of Santa Maria in Calatayud, the church of Santa Tecla in Cervera de la Cañada and the church of La Virgen in Tobed, all of which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites, in addition to a previous project undertaken by the research team on the church of San Félix in Torralba, with subsequent work on the preliminary phase of work on the church of Santas Justa y Rufina. On the other, the materials were designed to bring data collection and analysis techniques and technology into educational settings in the Territorio Mudéjar towns. The first of these actions was scientific in nature, enabling the virtual reconstruction of these buildings and thus having a strong impact on the scientific community. The second, of a participatory nature, prompted value creation by pertaining to a brand image, Territorio Mudéjar, which has a significant impact on the inhabitants of these towns.

The virtual 3D building survey consists in capturing the actual geometry of a constructed building using the latest point cloud technology in order to replicate buildings with enough precision to provide information that is at least virtual about them in the event of any eventuality. A three-dimensional survey makes it possible to keep a highly precise copy of the current condition of a building so that it can be replicated; this aids in upkeep because geometric information, for example, can be used to simulate structures, moisture, etc. It is also useful in understanding the building and sharing knowledge about it, as an inventory with the three-dimensional models can be created and placed in 3D databases so that the building can be viewed and studied anywhere in the world. With a 3D printer, scale models can even be made.

The second action in this project entails initiatives for raising awareness among the inhabitants of the Territorio Mudéjar towns about the fact that they possess emblematic assets of universal value. The best way to create opinion and brand image – in this case, the Territorio Mudéjar brand – is through schools, given that the youth population is the most open to learning and the most sensitive to the digital world. Therefore, with a view to revaluing Mudejar art, didactic exhibitions and educational workshops at schools were proposed, in which teachers, AMPA and researchers take part, using the project-based learning method.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (1) New Perspectives on Mudejar Art

THE AUTHORS:

  • Luis Agustín Hernández, an architect with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Zaragoza.
  • Miguel Sancho Mir, an architect with a PhD in Architectural Graphic Expression and professor at the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Zaragoza.
  • Beatriz Martin Domínguez, architect and professor at the Polytechnic School of Engineering in La Almunia, University of Zaragoza.

2019 Fieldwork: Mudejar plaster work, as used today: searching the memories of artisans for the keys to traditional production

The fieldwork project entitled Mudejar plaster work, as used today represented the next step in Pedro Bel’s doctoral thesis, which confirmed that Mudejar plaster production techniques remained unchanged until the mid-20th century. This research digs further into the traditional plaster production process to gain an in-depth understanding of it and to identify the catalysts and motives that led to changes in today’s plaster production, increasing its quantity and reducing its quality. During the project, former plaster artisans were located and their technique was documented, noting the variations today. In the process, quarries and former gypsum furnaces were also visited, documenting their conditions and creating a 3D photogrammetric survey at those of particular interest; a registry was also made to identify the region’s buildings with typical Mudejar plaster features. As stated in the conclusion, the ultimate aim is to revitalize work spaces linked to construction trades, re-activating them by creating a local business devoted to traditional or Mudejar plaster production.

The research took place in the towns of Aniñón, Borja, Calatayud, Daroca, Fuentes de Ebro, La Almunia de Doña Godina, Longares, Maluenda, Quinto de Ebro, Ricla, San Mateo de Gállego, Tauste, Terrer, Tobed, Villamayor, Villafeliche and Villar de los Navarros.

The study shows that traditional plaster production processes were prevalent until 1950, after which time the technology at the quarries began to develop rapidly. Those that failed to adapt quickly became obsolete and went bankrupt, making it commonplace to find gypsum plaster furnaces still intact and storerooms containing gypsum at the old Aragonese quarries. The semi-industrialization that took place in the fifties altered the traditional plaster made, and the change that had the greatest impact was when manual grinding was replaced with mechanical grinding procedures.

External factors that influenced this phenomenon include strong demographic growth stemming from a favorable economic and social setting, which led to strong demand, thus driving the pre-industrialization process.

LINE OF RESEARCH: (1) New Perspectives on Mudejar Art

THE AUTHOR: Pedro Bel Anzué is an architect with a PhD in Architectural Heritage Restoration from the University of Granada.

Rural schools and heritage, a forward-looking partnership

Territorio Mudéjar is participating in the first workshops on rural schools, organized by the Centro de Profesorado (Center for Teachers) in Calatayud.

Rural schools in Aragon have always been a laboratory for rural innovation. Some of the most avant-garde educational initiatives have arisen there, later expanding to other schools in Aragon and even being duplicated across the country. One of the reasons for the success of these rural school projects is that they use the land as a reference for learning, making the environment a necessary element of the curriculum in order to educate with a sense of roots. At Territorio Mudéjar we share and promote these same distinguishing features, so we could not miss the “Escuela rural en clave de futuro” (Rural schools in terms of the future) workshops organized by the Center for Teachers in Calatayud.

We were there today, not only to accompany the teachers and schools from our Territorio Mudéjar (schools in the districts of Aranda, Campo de Daroca and Comunidad de Calatayud), but we also had the opportunity to discuss with some of them how we believe that heritage and education form a perfect partnership for innovation.

At Territorio Mudéjar we are working on several projects related to education: “Escuela rural como inicio del círculo” (Rural schools as the start of a circle) and research and development on educational materials. On the one hand, we aim to introduce ways of working with heritage into rural school curricula and, on the other, we intend to provide materials and resources to schools to help students learn to appreciate the natural and cultural heritage in their towns and to enable them to generate proposals for economic and demographic growth in order to counteract depopulation trends.

More info: http://profesoradocalatayud.catedu.es/escuela-rural-en-clave-de-futuro/