Smart Solutions

Creative Rural Residencies

A 10-day residency for 80 participants from different creative and professional backgrounds, focused on exploring ways to revive village identity and local territorial development.

Implemented inMorigerati

Country : Italy

What’s the solution?

'Transluoghi' is a concept from Morigerati, a rural (mountain) municipality located in south-western Italy, which involves bringing together 15-20 local inhabitants with 35-45 ‘external’ participants for a 10-day creative residency. Together, they explore local needs and develop small joint projects to inspire and promote local rural development based on arts, culture, agriculture and tourism.

External participants are mainly artists, creatives, researchers and architects. They are accompanied by around 20-25 members of a core organising team (staff+ tutors).

Starting from the assessment of residents’ needs through the organisation of tours guided by the residents and design thinking laboratories, ‘Transluoghi’ engages participants in a series of cultural and artistic workshops to explore practical solutions to some of the most interesting challenges of the rural community and territory, such as raising village attractiveness, tackling depopulation, addressing lack of trust, promoting social cohesion, supporting local enterprises and creating a local brand identity and strategy.

In its four editions so far, Transluoghi has produced some concrete effects in Morigerati and on its local business system, including the regeneration of public spaces with the installation of artworks co-produced by residents and participants, producing new equipment following the indications of business owners and reviving the local countryside festival. Film and documentaries produced in the framework of Transluoghi are used by public institutions and private actors as promotional materials for the village.

What makes it smart?

A social innovation initiative, this solution harnesses both local and external energies, perspectives and expertise on local rural development opportunities and potential. It has also created a new climate of trust among people, contributing to solving conflicts and reviving social cohesion.

This scheme, developed by a multidisciplinary team in an NGO taps into the skills and competences of a broad range of artists, creatives, researchers and other professionals who make up the external and village participants. This includes digital and technological skills, which are provided for the benefit of the local community.

Transluoghi has also fostered new points of view on village life, promoting a multifaceted vision of life in Italian inner areas.

How is the solution implemented?

  • The first crucial step is to connect and engage with the local municipality, enterprises, NGOs and residents in order to foster the interest of local stakeholders in the idea of the creative residencies and to start practical collaboration.
  • Select a theme for the (first) residency, building on local needs and stakeholder ideas.
  • Decide the practical details of the (first) residency including: appropriate dates; where visitors will be housed e.g. availability of camping sites or free local accommodation; whether and how much participants will be charged etc.
  • Launch a public call for external participants through online communication channels.
  • Choose participants carefully from the applications received based on their experience and motivation
  • Plan to spend the first few days of the residency exploring the local area, its characteristics and needs with all participants and brainstorming on needs and possible responses, before starting practical workshops/laboratories to develop local solutions/projects
  • Plan additional activities for participants in the mornings or evenings, such as talks, presentations, movie screenings or other social activities.
  • Plan a public event at the conclusion of the residency to present the results and outputs to the local and surrounding community

In what local context has it been applied?

Morigerati is one of the few villages of Cilento area which started in the early 2000s a series of active policies for sustainable tourism and to host visitors in an innovative way. Thanks to the presence of a natural reserve protected by WWF, Morigerati was one of the few villages of the area which fostered an active relation with rural farms and involved them in a new storytelling of the village, promoting typical products and the assets of the village in a collaborative way.

The main challenges of Morigerati are the contrast to depopulation, which was focused by Transluoghi through the active involvement of different categories of residents (such as local youth and elderly persons) along the year and supporting the creation of new opportunities for them.

Implementing skills of local business and innovators in digitalisation and territorial marketing is another relevant challenge of Morigerati, which was addressed by Transluoghi promoting the empowerement of local stakeholders and a stronger coordination among SMEs for the creation of a solid and integrated offer in terms of tourism and local products.

Who was behind the implementation?

The platform for bottom-up urban regeneration Recollocal is the main organisation behind the smart solution, developed in collaboration with other NGOs and organisations based in Morigerati and in other Italian regions (often driven by participants or trainers of the first editions of Transluoghi). Recollocal is composed by architects, cultural activists and experts of communication.

What was the local journey?

  • The platform for bottom-up local regeneration Recollocal made contact with the Municipality of Morigerati, local enterprises, NGOs and local residents who play a key-role in the local community and started a collaboration with all the local stakeholders, and proposing the concept of Transluoghi.
  • The most difficult aspect in implementing the smart solution was to foster the collaboration with local actors through meetings aimed to convince them about all the aspects of the project and the benefits for the local community, overcoming personal resistances and scepticism.
  • The 10-day Transluoghi residency is now held every year. Currently, numbers are limited to 80 for logistical reasons: 20-25 people from the core team (staff + tutors), 35-45 participants from other areas and 15-20 are from the village (and neighbouring villages).
  • Each year’s residency has a theme which is decided by the core group, building on the experiences of the previous edition, the evolution of research carried out in Morigerati and dialogue with the Municipality and local stakeholders.
  • A key challenge was to overcome a cultural deficit on how to structure public-private and private-private relations at local level. These obstacles were overcome through an action of listening and reinterpretation of local needs and the management of conflicts with new tools, often linked to artistic and cultural practices.
  • To attract external participants, they launch a public call through their communication channels (website, social media) and spread through the communication channels of the partners of the event. They just pay some ads on Facebook.
  • They evaluate the experience and motivation of all the applicants before confirming their participation. Each participant pays around 100-150 euros to participate.
  • Local participants include representatives of local NGOs, local businesses and interested residents and local professionals known to the local NGO.
  • Many participants sleep in a temporary campsite set up in a disused stadium in the village. Others sleep in local accommodation (hostel, B&B and private homes)
  • The first three days are dedicated to exploration of the local area guided by local residents, including observation of the landscape with photographers and video makers and excursions to less-known places of the surrounding area.
  • One day is dedicated to brainstorming, to analyse altogether what emerged from the exploration of the places and to develop a collaborative planning with residents to highlight local needs and start to co-design possible solutions.
  • For around 5 days, between 4 and 7 laboratories are organised, attended by 5-15 participants each. The laboratories each have their own focus and work autonomously, but they can decide to collaborate with other laboratories.
  • Normally participants have activities from 9am to 1 pm and from 3pm to 8pm - with some short breaks. Usually one afternoon is left free. Talks and movie screenings or presentation of books or research on the area are usually organised at the beginning of the day or in late afternoon or night as inspiring moments for the participants and the residents.
  • As groups work to complete outputs in the final days, activities tend to also carry on into the late evening.
  • On the 10th day there is a public presentation of the results in the main square of Morigerati, with the participation of the mayor or deputy mayors, and other local authorities.
  • A recurrent problem is connected to the funding of the event and to ensure a financial sustainability to Transluoghi, whose realisation is mainly based on volunteer work. The organisers applied for regional and national funds but without success.

What have been the main outputs & results?

  • A documentary describing the local context with the use of images and a multifaceted storytelling on the village was produced and distributed at the end of the first edition of Transluoghi. This experiment gave the opportunity to the local community to self-represent. A permanent photo exhibition showing the inhabitants and created in collaboration with them was installed in the centre of the village. A wooden sculpture was installed in a public space and perceived as the symbol of this collaborative action of regeneration of the village.
  • Three new editions of Transluoghi were organised following the same scheme and producing new outputs: a community branding paper for the municipalities of the area (Morigerati, Tortorella, Casaletto Spartano) with indications on territorial marketing, new artworks and temporary installations were installed in the centre of the village, the former stadium used as a temporary camping was refurbished and a temporary auditorium was installed for theatre exhibitions and talks and used by the local community along the year. New laboratories were organised and some collaborations with local enterprises were launched, collaborating to the creation of machines for the assembly line or to improve packaging of local products
  • Active involvement of residents, with local youth and elderly persons empowered for supporting activities on sustainable tourism
  • Fostered collaboration among neighbouring municipalities and public entities active in the area, such as the Cilento National Park
  • Promoting collaboration with social cooperatives, SMEs, NGOs, restaurants and hotels of Morigerati and neighbouring villages
  • Production of three public artworks and contribution to the regeneration of public spaces
  • Creation of new road signs on rural trails surrounding the village and support to their inclusion in local tourism offer
  • Support to the promotion of local events such as the country festival, promoting local quality food

What does it bring the village/community?

  • Contribution to rethinking the village as part of a wider area, through a strategical involvement of two other neighbouring municipalities, homogeneous at social and economic level
  • New tools for active participation of residents were produced, distributed and left to Morigerati in order to be used also after Transluoghi for promoting process of civic empowerment and civic engagement, to be carried out by local NGOs and stakeholders active in Morigerati and in neighbouring municipalities
  • Contribution to the creation of a new type of relationship between private entities and between public and private sector, through an action of mediation with local stakeholders
  • Creation of new paths of collaboration among neighbouring municipalities, which led to the realisation of new initiatives such as the opening of a trail connecting the villages
  • Creation of photo and video documents in Creative Commons licence for the promotion of the villages and local branding, to be used by public entities and private companies

What’s needed

Financial resources

Financial needs:

Initial/set-up costs: € 7000

Ongoing/recurring annual costs: € 15000

Funding received:
Municipality of Morigerati6,000 €Travel costs, a part of food and accommodation expenses, materials printed and wooden materials for installation/artworks
Ente Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Valle di Diano e Alburni1,500 €A part of food and accommodation expenses, materials printed and wooden materials for installation/artworks
Participant Fees8,000 €A part of food and accommodation expenses, transport
Local businesses & associationsN/AMetalware, wood, furniture etc.

Human resources

A coordinating team composed by: a project manager, a logistic manager, a communication manager, and social media manager, a community manager, an artistic curator

An operative team composed by a small group of videomakers and photographers, a small group of people involved in logistics, and a team of trainers tutoring every year 6-7 laboratories

Physical resources

A main premises for the event: a public structure used as a camping and event location

Two structures for trainings: a social centre and the basement floor of a local hostel

Cameras, drones, microphone, computers, speakers

Wood and metal material for new constructions and related equipment

What to do…

  • Find a group of very motivated people who can coordinate all the aspects (logistics, content of the laboratories, etc)
  • Ensure you produce final outputs which are useful and concrete to the village, in order to make the scheme important also for the rest of the year and not only for the days of the event
  • Focus on multidisciplinary contents and topics, in order to make it interesting to different types of public (participants and residents)
  • Involve residents, local businesses and social actors from the beginning so that they are aware of what is going to happen and can choose which role they want to play
  • Ensure a good mix of local and external people with different profiles.
  • Lunchtimes, dinners and evening parties are also decisive moments to create both a group dynamic and interaction with additional local people, including from nearby villages.
  • You can cooperate with neighbouring municipalities but you need to dedicate at least one day per village for the exploration phase.

and not to do

  • Do not make the residency too short. 10 days proved better than doing it in 7-8 days because in 10 days you have more time to produce something interesting at the end.
  • Do not take on too many participants to begin with when you are not experienced in how to manage and organise them.
  • Do not overpromise or be unclear about the technical and financial means needed for implementing the project which can damage relationships of trust.
  • Do not make big plans in the creative labs if it is not realistic to implement them.
  • Avoid creating individualistic paths, which do not take into account the need of collaborating with neighbouring villages.

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