Project: Design & Intervention Summer Workshops in Aldeias Do Xisto, Portugal (2009)

Description: Summer 2009 was the beginning of a Design & Intervention program aimed at supporting the local communities by the creation of a platform in which, through creativity & design, ideas and possibilities for the sustainable development of inland Portugal can be explored and discussed.

Taking the form of interdisciplinary design workshops in 2009, the platform created a meeting point between the local population and several international designers. A meeting point through which knowledge that had survived in the people, objects, architecture and landscape of the region was mapped and with which insights into sustainable design processes and into some of the challenges involved in local development were gathered.

In collaboration with Daniela Pais, Bruno Carvalho, Noesjka Klomberg; Patr�cia Valinho; Janine Braun; Mathijs Vogels; Catarina de Medeiros; Dominic Oliver Cort.

For more information please visit: 'Design & Intervention at 'Aldeias do Xisto' Portugal' Blog.

Support: Portuguese Ministry of Culture- DG Artes, ADXTUR.


Design & intervention Aims of the workshops:

1. To provide designers and design students with a challenge and a platform to explore new ideas within the rural context.

2. To offer & develop insights into design processes and the challenges involved in the creation of new and innovative concepts about crafts, nature, sustainability, social design & local development

3. To provide the local communities with creative and innovative input for their sustainable development.
Design & intervention Objextives of the Platfrom:

1. To support the regional intervention program with new refreshing ideas and attitudes towards the restoration of the villages & their future lifestyles.

2. To Revitalize and promote local crafts & sites of interest for tourism, education and leisure activities.

3. To introduce and promote the Aldeias do Xisto in new social & professional networks in Europe

4. To attract new & young people to this area who may in turn want to stay and help to develop the region in the future
Design & intervention Thematic Content - Water & Energy:

With 2 of the main rivers of Portugal flowing through this region the water element is present everywhere, not only in the riverbeds and fountains of fresh water, but also in the remnants of old agrarian facilities such as derelict graining mills (moinhos) and olive oil mills (lagares).

When registering these facilities and the flow water around them we mostly reflected and thought about the vitality, or the force of the water and the possibilities of using this renewable energy source through the renovation and re-application of the old lagares.
Design & intervention Thematic Content - Modern vs. Local:

Though municipal development programs many villages undergo intervention in the form of modernization of infrastructure; the renovation of electricity grid and lighting to the village, the construction of sewage and water ways as well as the introduction of public furniture and infrastructure for emergency services.

However in many cases, whether performed privately or through the municipality, these renovations result in an eclectic style of patchwork in which foreign elements are added on old facades and street ways.

This clash of �life styles� is an evident struggle that can be observed through all the territory as �Modern� and �Old� live side by side and on top of each other in village buildings and public infrastructures. As outsiders we portrayed these elements of conflict searching also for the roots of its existence in order to understand, to improve or even take advantage of it.
Design & intervention Thematic Content - Human Capital:

People are the key factor for sustainable development. They are the carriers of local knowledge, guardians of history & heritage, and it is through their skills and motivation that sustainable development can be achieved.

In our travelling through Aldeias do Xisto we met many people, most of them were old, some were young and only a few of them were children. With this declining population in mind we felt it urgent to capture and document the knowledge of the individuals that are slowly disappearing from the region. However their knowledge is only one aspect of sustainable development here, it is equally important to not let the strength and motivation of these people escape.
Design & intervention Thematic Content - Horticulture:

Following the irregular landscape of this region it is understandable why this land is farmed and organized in small parcels which mostly owned and used by families to cultivate there vegetables and fruits, sometimes even in large quantities. In this landscape full of family �farms� we were taken by this green connection and followed the close relationship between people and their food. The existence of the �Hortas� is directly related to the existence of human capital i.e. The local knowledge and skill that is still present and alive in this region.
Design & intervention 37. Design & Intervention Summer Workshops in Aldeias Do Xisto, Portugal (2009)

Concept & Programning and Curation by: David Lxembourg & Daniela Pais

Participated: Bruno Carvalho, Noesjka Klomberg; Patr�cia Valinho; Janine Braun; Mathijs Vogels; Catarina de Medeiros; Dominic Oliver Cort.

For more information please visit: 'Design & Intervention at 'Aldeias do Xisto' Portugal' Blog.

Support: Portuguese Ministry of Culture- DG Artes, ADXTUR.

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