Conference > Introduction

International Conference
«The missing link: rural heritage and sustainable rural development»

to be held in Athens, Greece,
Monday 21st September 2009, 17:30 - 21:00 and
Tuesday 22nd September 2009, 9:30 – 17:30
at Ioniko Centre, Plaka

The conference is part of the international project “CULT RURAL: Promotion of a cultural area common to the European communities” which is co-funded by the European Commission in the context of “Culture 2000”, the Framework Programme in Support of Culture. CULT RURAL brings together 14 organisations from 7 EU member states –museums, research centres, universities, NGOs–, aiming to research and valorise the common elements of rural heritage across Europe. Moreover, CULT RURAL has set out to explore the links between rural heritage and sustainable development and identify the lessons we can learn from such tradition, focusing on three themes, which have been presented in 9 exhibitions, held in 7 countries (Greece, France, Sweden, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland):

  • Theme I. Rural cultural landscapes: the interaction between local communities and the natural environment.
  • Theme II. Inspiration, innovation and technology: the rural perspective and the global pressures.
  • Theme III. Rural heritage and collective identity: building the sustainability of rural communities.

The conference will make public the results of the research and will present the concepts and messages carried through by the exhibitions.
Moreover, distinguished members of the academic and the museums’ world will speak about the meaning and importance of rural heritage for today’s societies, offering a range of different views on such issues as strengthening the historical continuity of local cultures in the context of globalisation, preserving the cultural identities of small-scale communities, utilising the wisdom and ingeniousness of past technologies for new environment-friendly solutions, reconciling the local with the global, the present with the past. Underlining this problematic is the “missing link” between traditional local cultures and sustainable development of rural territories, a link that would offer new approaches to such pressing questions as energy saving, climatic changes, identity loss of individuals and communities, landscape destruction, loss of collective memory, and would also point to new ways for economic development that combine the “modern” with the “sustainable”.

The conference is organised by PRISMA-Centre for Development Studies, in cooperation with the other partners of the CULT RURAL project. For information:

Please download a copy of the Invitation