Resilience in COVID times The role of RURITAGE project.

For the RURITAGE project partners the COVID-19 pandemic has not only halted a critical development phase for the Replicators and Role Models rural communities, but also generated a real-life test for human and community resilience.

When the COVID-pandemic struck Europe, Replicators turned to us at RURITAGE for advice on how to better deal with the new challenges they were facing. To better help our RURITAGE communities, an open call for resilience actions was launched in April. In coherence with the RURITAGE methodology, the overall aim was to learn and exchange rural experiences through a collection of practices. This was thought to increase and strengthen rural communities while supporting each other within the project and beyond.

Providing E-Learning services for the Tetritskaro community

By June, when the call for actions closed, we had received a total of 66 initiatives. These actions came from a total of 17 different countries, mostly in Europe, from all rural contexts were and related with RURITAGE’s main areas of work. This includes sustainability, cultural and natural heritage and our main innovation areas (SIAs) – Local Food, Migration, Art and Festivals, Landscape Management and Pilgrimage. Most collected actions were related to the Resilience SIA, with a total of 35% out of all actions, followed by Local Food, covering 30% of all actions. The actions showed that rural communities around the globe were enhancing the value of local resources, cultural and natural heritage and human capital through mutual support, reinforced networks, better collaboration, cooperation and solidarity for reinforced resilience. Moreover, the collection of actions shows how rural areas are able to cope with emergencies and build the basis to rethink the current crisis as a crucial tipping point for a resilient development of rural territories.

Connecting Hearts in Aguilar de Campo, Spain

All actions that we received were assessed on the basis of their relevance to the overall theme and focus of RURITAGE as well as their impact and replicability potential. From there, actions were gradually published on the RURITAGE Resilience Action page.

The call for Resilience actions aided our researchers to publish a journal article on the COVID-19 pandemic effects in rural areas – “Turning challenges into opportunities for rural regeneration” – published in a special issue of TeMA -Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment in June 2020. The full article will be publised on our website under Publications at the end of October. Moreover, the gathering of Resilience Actions during COVID-19 formed the foundation for the EU Vision paper – Thinking beyond the COVID-19 crisis: heritage-based opportunities for rural regeneration – that the project will also publish at the end of October 2020.