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Editorial

REDE ARTÉRIA

In what way can artistic activity contribute to renewing the foundations of citizenship and democracy? How can cultural and artistic activity promote the urban sustainability of medium-sized cities and small towns in low density areas? These questions, among others, have led academics and art professionals to come together to develop collaborative works that articulate scientific knowledge with artistic practices.

REDE ARTÉRIA is an action-research project, artistically coordinated by the theatre company O Teatrão and academically coordinated by the Centre for Social Studies (CES), under the Cities, Cultures and Architecture (CCARQ) Research Group. The goal is to create a cultural programming network of agents from 8 cities in the Centro Region of Portugal: Coimbra, Figueira da Foz, Ourém, Viseu, Guarda, Fundão, Tábua and Belmonte. In each city, the project includes a triptych involved in the creative process – municipalities, universities and polytechnic institutes, and cultural associations and artists. It aims to transform cultural dynamics in each place and in the region more generally by creating conditions for local authorities to understand the production and creation practices of cultural agents, working with them in close collaboration. With respect to higher education institutions, the project promotes stronger relationships between academic research and social reality through cultural and artistic intervention projects, influencing the production of knowledge and its dissemination.

The academic work builds from research and best practices in three fields: participatory cultural and community mapping, participatory cultural governance, and collaborative design of arts intervention projects. The project investigates and innovates, in the Centro Region, community and institutional strategies to: i) engage new audiences in cultural activities and democratize access to cultural heritage; ii) develop participative methodologies to articulate territorial arts-informed intervention and new approaches to knowledge production; and iii) innovate approaches to cultural heritage that develop the touristic potential of culture. It includes three phases: 1) scan and assessment of best practices in the three fields; 2) implementation of action-research approaches to participative cultural mapping; and 3) design of a practice-oriented toolkit and policy recommendations concerning cultural mapping and participatory governance.

In sum, REDE ARTÉRIA is working to find ways to articulate academic and non-academic knowledge and to develop, in a collaborative way, strategies and methodologies that can transform territories and urban spaces into more attractive, less impoverished, and culturally and socially more inclusive areas.

Claudia Pato Carvalho

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