The social innovation research conducted under the Horizon 2020 project SIMRA – standing for Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas – is coordinated by the James Hutton Institute, complementary to the delivery of the ecosystem services based social innovation research for Scotland, carried out under the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme. The research on social innovation in rural areas has seen some broad media coverage in recent months with its recognition at an international level due to the organisation of sessions in several conferences.
In early September a group of SIMRA researchers participated at the International Social Innovation Research Conference 2018, which was held in Heidelberg, Germany, where findings and advances within SIMRA were discussed with international experts in the field.
Why do we have in the Teleno mountain, our land and natural resources, a Heritage that allows us to live, work and enjoy a great quality of life?
For thousands of years in the foothills of Monte Teleno, the highest peak of the Montes de León in Spain (2,188m), men and women have lived and coexisted in harmony with a natural environment that allowed them to eat, live and develop taking advantage of the nearest resources. Hunting, fishing, fertile land with wild edible species and even autochthonous pine forests have guaranteed the permanence of the human being in the Teleno Mountains area, although in the 21st century we talk about the fact that the human being is almost “in danger of extinction” in many rural territories of our country.
SIMRA’s fourth brochure collecting examples of social innovation in marginalised rural areas has just been published. This collection of brochures aims at concretely illustrating social innovation through the presentation of local on-going initiatives throughout Europe and the Mediterranean basin, taking turns addressing different marginalized rural areas. This brochure addresses mountain areas.
Read this article in Norwegian here.
Researchers believe Norwegian outdoor life contributes to good integration. This is the starting point for an Innovation Action led by the Eastern Norway Research Institute.
Immigrants in many cases are crucial for the small municipalities in the rural areas of Gudbrandsdalen, four hours North of the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
“Ethnic Norwegians move to the cities”, researcher Tor Arnesen explains. “It is immigration from abroad that attenuates the decline in population in the rural areas. Inclusion of immigrants is of course important for long-term development.”
New solutions for inclusion and integration have to be found.
As part of a SIMRA Innovation Action, Tor Arnesen and his colleague Mari Bjerck have organised an innovation seminar for representatives from different refugee and immigrant services in the remote area of Gudbrandsdalen. Special guest at the seminar is Havva Curkukaya, head of inclusion of the Norwegian Trekking Association in Drammen, Norway’s 6th biggest city with a 28% immigrant population. Havva Curkukaya is originally from Turkey, and she has managed to inspire many people with multicultural background to get out in the great Norwegian nature.
In July 2018 CETIP and Institute of Forest Ecology SAS undertaken field research of SIMRA project to ancient isolated rural settlement VIDOVICI in Adriatic Island CRES.
After turbulent times over the past 5 centuries and as the response to global crises of early 20s, in particular de-population and land degradation Vidovici area is facing reconfiguration of community practices. Today this charming village located on the top of the hill with spectacular view around the Adriatic coast and in the neighbourhood of UNESCO Word heritage site is witnessing transition to sustainable rural life.
SIMRA partners and members of the Scientific Advisory Board gathered in Padova from 12th to 14th June 2018 for a productive annual project meeting and the second General Assembly, hosted by the University of Padova. Halfway through the project, and having already completed the first periodic reporting, the meeting was an opportunity to reflect on achievements and progress thus far, and to plan our next steps.
The Smart Villages concept aims to “help local communities address issues of inadequate broadband connectivity, employment opportunities and service provision in a clear and comprehensive manner”. It also aims to improve the attractiveness and well-being of inhabitants in rural areas. Social innovation can play a key role in the development of the full potential of rural areas. By working together and through social innovation, some communities have taken leadership of the provision of key rural services such as health, education, energy, mobility and other social services of key importance in rural, mountainous and remote areas where such services were of poor quality and often in decline. How can we capture their success in social innovation in marginalised rural areas and use it as an inspiration for all? How can we best support social innovation and Smart Villages in the future programming period?
Social agriculture is defined by the National Forum for Social Farming (FNAS) as an innovative, inclusive, participatory and generative model of agricultural practices that deliver recreational, educational and assistance services. It aims at the social and labor inclusion of disadvantaged people, which through social agricultural practices are able to contribute to food and agricultural production (Di Iacovo, O’ Connor, 2009). According to the recently published Report on Social Agriculture in Italy (Giarè 2018), social agriculture experiences have the characteristics of being a generative welfare, as they aim at developing practices for a transversal development of the territory, supporting growth, skills and professionalism of those people who are at risk of social exclusion. Social agriculture provides the tools for the creation of cohesive, intelligent and competitive communities able to provide meaningful responses to population’s needs and to the productive industry.
On Thursday 7 June 2018, a workshop on how to enhance innovation in Scottish rural areas was organised and hosted by the Scottish Representation to the European Union in Brussels and in which SIMRA partners Euromontana and James Hutton Institute participated. The focus was on examining the Scottish perspective on Rural Innovation and looking forward with the recent launch of the Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) – a Scottish Rural Network initiative. This workshop offered a follow-up to the 11th OECD Rural Development Conference in Edinburgh in April.