Research & Studies

Melinda Harlov-Csortán: Closing remarks about a new phase in Local Flavours project

We have reached a termination of another phase in our Local Flavours project. Many planned and proposed actions could have been fulfilled such as the detailed introduction of the adaptability of both the KRAFT methodology and the knowledge basis of the colleagues at the University of Bologna to the partners’ projects with their unique features, aims and challenges. There have been new initiatives proposed and realized as well as unexpected challenges like COVID-19 that leads to human catastrophes, economic clashes and specific tasks for Local Flavours project and its realization.

One of the newly proposed and realized initiatives was the delegation of iASK researchers as themtic experts to each partner in order to serve as supervisor and initial help. Kraft technique is a tool that has to be adapted to every unique situation and modified throughout the realization process. Delegated iASK researchers are believed to be effective help not just as they are familiar with the named technique but also through their individual research projects and previous experiences. The Advisory Partner of the Local Flavours project, University of Bologna provided also important help not just supervising each project but also by introducing another mutually adaptable extra technique (place-making through storytelling) that they have researched and shared with the participants. Together with the iASK thematic experts the adaptation of this technique to each partner’s project is in progress.

In terms of generally fulfilled planned actions each partner has identified the potential stakeholders with whom the named aims are planned to fulfill. Some partners have already arranged one or even more stakeholder meetings others choose the role of first establishing one to one connection to establish trust and specify better the aims and goals of the cooperation. Also generally fulfilled action was the data collection and arrangement as well as the introduction of the KRAFT analysis for the specific goals. Besides colleagues from Bologna and Kőszeg, partners themselves shared with each other time to time their experiences, questions and good practices. iASK has arranged besides the bilateral meetings with the supervising partners (iASK researchers and colleagues from University of Bologna) themed small group meetings and thematic meetings for all partners as well. Moreover, related programs, available online seminars and discussions that relate to the Local Flavours project have been shared with each partner through which further information, practice can be achieved to support the success and the overall goals of the Local Flavours project.

Besides University of Bologna and Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg there are seven other partners in the Local Flavours project who all have their special goals and states of progress. Our partner in Romania, the Hargita County Council have a clear vision based on previous projects. Their aim is to initiate a policy change that supports/motivates the original folk costumes from its research and creation to its marketing and valorization. They have identified the stakeholder members and initiated contacts, prepared the meeting and worked on a document regarding planning and scheduling. They are supported by an iASK member who has experience in policy change specifically at this region too, accordingly he has both the expertise and the insider knowledge.

Local Flavours partner from the Netherlands formulated its aim also based on previous projects (the successful year from 2016) and aims for the enhancement of participatory and sustainable tourism by focusing on both the locals and the visitors and providing local (especially in culinary industry) services throughout the whole year. The focus and the human resources have changed since the Local Flavours project kick-off and the pandemic has challenged the originally planned process as well. However the partners from ’s-Hertogenbosch has already defined local stakeholders and group meeting members, provided data for adapting KRAFT technique and for finding answers to the newly formulated goals and questions. Moreover they have developed and shared with other partners possible methodologies for the post-COVID re-start.

Local Flavours project partner from Finland sees as main goal to include heritage issues in the regional development strategy. Through such methodology colleagues from Savonlinna see the possibility to enhance regional connectedness, cooperation and place-making for the local communities. They have already arranged stakeholder meetings however they need to work on increasing and motivating stronger involvement. The iASK supporting expert introduced a specific case study as an example for storytelling and the involvement of the locals (Talking Houses) and pointed to the importance of targeting the young generation.

The project partner from Vittorio Veneto, Italy despite experiencing lot of challenges during this phase such as the pandemic and its consequences (human and economic as well) has already implemented many planned steps. They have arranged already three stakeholder meetings, and worked on solutions to ”re-start life after the quarantine period.” With the help of the project they have co-creating with the local communities a new/modified theme (not just related to World War history, but probably to the local Prosecco related UNESCO World Heritage values) for their local identity based on which social and economic enhancement (including hospitality industry) can be reached.

Local Flavours partner from Ireland has already developed themes and target groups in order to achieve longer stay of the visitors also in off-season. The project aims to enhance small heritage examples in rural areas working together with the local communities. The iASK thematic expert among others has offered examples for valorizing this kind of “small heritage” and iASK colleagues also work on the analysis of the received data. The partners from Waterford have identified catalyst projects and created a well-developed plan to proceed, which has been shared and discussed with all other partners in the Local Flavours project.

Project partners form Croatia has a unique approach as they represent and work on national policy. Even though they are also facing with the still-unknown consequences of the corona virus, they have formulated a clear aim to influence the next chapter of national policy planning to focus more on the complexity of local values and communities. They identified two immediate main steps to realize. One is to conduct a policy analysis about the efficiency of the current national policy regarding the valorization of the local social and heritage values and secondly to plan methodologies through which the emphasis on tangible and intangible values can be balanced on national level too. iASK colleagues have cooperated in the formation of a gap analysis technique that would be specifically effective and suitable for the given case. They have also discussed the upcoming tasks such as possible methods for influencing policy (e.g. emphasis on digitalization).

On the meetings between the representatives of the Riga Planning Region and iASK, first the actors, relations, potentials and challenges in the region surrounding Riga were defined. The formulated aims are to achieve sustainable, local initiatives and to motivate the establishment of a cooperating network in the region through policy initiative. The Local Flavours partner has arranged successful stakeholder meetings as well as collected information via questionnaires and conducted interviews with key figures. Throughout these steps, attention was paid to the necessary data and connections regarding the KRAFT methodology. After identifying and analyzing comparatively catalyst projects with the assistance of the iASK colleagues, goals and steps have been formulated on the whole Riga planning region and for the adaptation of the place-making storytelling approach.

It can be concluded that all partners of the Local Flavours project have approached the planned steps with the cooperation and support by the colleagues of the Institute of Advanced Studies

Kőszeg and the University of Bologna. They are sharing and discussing tasks and challenges together at the thematic meetings and even though the near future is highly unpredictable they are closely monitoring and cooperating with the stakeholders to improve policies supporting places unable to fully exploit their cultural legacies due to less-advantaged locations.