Cultural heritage and the role of women in the process of achieving sustainable development of rural communities
Jasna Fakin Bajec
(Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts)
Paper short abstract:
The paper presents how women and their energy, knowledge, teaching skills, feelings for different generation needs, and wishes to preserve, research and modify a local tradition can be an important generator for achieving goals of sustainable development in rural communities.
Paper long abstract:
In a world of continuously changing life circumstances in which many rural communities are constantly seeking opportunities for achieving sustainable development, cultural heritage practices and reviving tradition customs have also acquired new roles and meanings. There are many themes, elements, skills, knowledge and other sources of our predecessors which can be used and modified according to a sustainable policy. The problem is that many local residents, economists and politicians do not understand cultural heritage and tradition as a potential for further development. Researching the past, reviving traditions, preparing exhibitions or modifying past skills is mostly recognised as an art or amateur activity for leisure, expressing social identity or enriching tourist programmes. The question arises of how to make local stakeholders aware of economic potentials of culture heritage and tradition in order to ensure new sustainable products.
The answer lies in activities prepared by local heritage associations or NGOs whose purpose is not only to research or revive traditions of ancestors, but also to modify and use them according to contemporary needs, ideas, wishes, and technologies. The paper presents the activities of the Association of Housewives from Planina pri Ajdovščini (Slovenia), which during the ten years of work, research and collaboration with different scientists (an ethnologist and cultural anthropologist, photographers, a designer, etc.) has managed to develop an interesting lifelong learning method (through an amateur stage performing) and concrete local products (e.g. new recipes and other products based on tradition and innovation), which are suitable for further development of the area.
Traditional knowledge as the key for sustainable rural development: utopia or reality?