Research & Studies

Nothing Special? A Cutting-edge Co-creative Regional Development Project in Hungary’s Bakony Mountains

The brand new article was written with the contribution of Mariann Szabó and Izabella Agárdi iASK researchers, and was released in Turisztikai és Vidékfeljesztési Tanulmányok in 2023.


What is it about villages in East-Central Europe that makes them attractive for residents as well as visitors? How can they become communities that are able to keep up with the vast changes
and challenges of our times whilst maintaining their best cultural assets and communal cohesion? These were the fundamental questions that drove our interest in conducting an interdisciplinary research project in the Bakony Mountains of Hungary, financed and supported by the Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture Programme.

Through the capitalization of those methodologies associated with the KRAFT (‘creative citiessustainable regions’) program, the overall aim was to study four villages and their potential for endemic, culture-based development. As the four villages are geographically close to one another, with plenty of interaction and networks of cooperation. The research team aimed at uncovering patterns and dynamics of economic, social, cultural and environmental subsystems that have been influential in connecting these places and making them ‘a distinct region’ and highlighting these patterns. Furthermore, researchers and experts were also interested to discover and collect important cultural heritage elements –material and immaterial, natural and human alike– that might serve as fertile grounds for economic, social, or development strategies, those that locals can relate to, find familiar and those that resonate with their communities and cultural narratives.

The proposed study will describe and analyse this piece of fieldwork, which was conducted in interdisciplinary teams, combining desktop research, a set of empirical methods, a diverse array of academic, artistic and practical competencies, and creative ways of cooperation with locals.

Keywords: social innovation, cultural assets, communal cohesion, VEB2023 ECoC, local communities

The article is available HERE, with full text in Hungarian.