CBSS-funded project highlighting the role of culture in rural development holds a workshop in Latvia

Promoting cultural planning as a tool to address societal issues in rural areas, the Rural Cultural Planning project held its RurCultural Workshop in Līgatne, Latvia on 12-13 August 2022.

On 12-13 August 2022, partners from the CBSS-funded Rural Cultural Planning project met in Līgatne, Latvia to participate in a workshop on the role of culture in rural development. 

“Cultural planning can help policy makers to push rural development,” said Thorvaldur Kristjansson, the Head of Regional Identity and Communications at the CBSS, adding that rural areas are blessed with features cities often don’t have such as easy access to nature, traditions and skills, or local food.

Cultural planning, a citizen-driven process that helps identify cultural resources and their use to achieve civic and societal transformation, was already at the centre of the project’s predecessor, UrbCulturalPlanning, which primarily focussed on cities. The current follow-up project now specifically targets the rural environment.

“As abundant as they may be, cultural resources need to be harnessed, and this is where the cultural planning method comes in – to help rural communities activate their resources,” said Ugis Zanders, the Advisor for Sustainable and Prosperous Region at the CBSS who also attended the workshop.

In Latvia, the CBSS experts notably shared their views on localising the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. 

They also presented the recommendations for local and regional administrations contained in a recent CBSS publication, “Localising Sustainable Development Goals in the Baltic Sea Region: A Handbook”.

In addition to the CBSS, experts from the Billund Kommunes Museer (Denmark) and the Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) also contributed to the discussions.

The Rural Cultural Planning project was one of the eight projects selected in 2021 for funding by the CBSS Project Support Facility (PSF). The project partners are the Danish Cultural Institute (Denmark), Vidzemes plānošanas reģions (Latvia), and (Lithuania). 

About the project:

RuralCulturalPlanning is born out of the experience and knowledge accumulated in the ongoing Interreg BSR project UrbCulturalPlanning (2019-2021). The method of Cultural Planning involves three parties: municipality, community and creative sector. The Covid-19 crisis has exposed a disconnect between human civilization and the natural environment, which included a gap between rural and urban lifestyles. Smaller towns and rural communities offer many advantages which cities lack, such as easy access to nature, local traditions and skills, place-based food systems, etc. However, to take full advantage of the rebalancing between the urban and the rural, smaller rural communities need to activate or attract resources and ideas. The method of Cultural Planning needs to be adjusted to rural situations, where agents of change are often isolated, disconnected from wider networks, lacking the necessary skill, peer support and mentoring. The project focuses on four tasks: (1) Anchoring the Cultural Planning method as a policy instrument with relevant policy makers dealing with rural development; (2) Transferring the knowledge and methods accumulated and tested in UrbCultural to agents of change in rural areas; (3) Adapting the Cultural Planning method to rural BSR typologies by setting up pilot projects (Community Mapping); (4) Expanding the BSR network of practitioners based on the Hubs of Excellence created as a result of UrbCulturalPlanning.

Read more about the ongoing CBSS PSF projects here.