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Cultural Heritage, Community Participation, Public Policies: an essay for comparative studies between the Global South and North


This project aims to create the conditions for technical-scientific collaboration between São Paulo State University (UNESP) and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) in order to: carry out activities that augment the research already underway by the partners involved (SPTrans - grant Fapesp and MemoWb - MSCA fellowship) by knowledge transfer for processing historical data and teaching techniques; draw up a joint research project in the field of cultural heritage (in particular industrial heritage) and local community interactions with industrial remains or protected cultural assets, under a human rights approach, which will allow comparisons of cases from the Global South and the Global North. The proposal will focus on industrial heritage sites and/or deindustrialised areas in medium-sized cities in Brazil and Europe.The missions will make it possible to carry out technical visits to select cases to be studied in the future collaborative project, as well as to offer improvements to the theoretical and methodological conditions in current projects and activities. To this end, visits to railway heritage sites in Campinas, Bauru, Jundiaí (in São Paulo, Brazil), Essen, Bochum and Dortmund (in the Ruhr Valley, Germany) have been pre-selected. This is a first approximation of medium-sized cities, often representative (in South America and Europe) of industrial processes at regional and/or international level. In these cities, different population groups currently interact with operational, non-operational or de-industrialised industrial areas, produce social memories or interact (actively or symbolically) with heritage processes, interfere in non-operational or de-industrialised areas, have been affected by de-industrialisation, heritage (including the rise of heritage narratives) or new uses attributed to spaces.Some research trials and research tools will also be carried out during the missions to Brazil and Germany, scheduled for the first and second half of 2025 and the second half of 2026. In the case of the Brazilian group, research is being carried out with a focus on social memory and social perception of the environment, using techniques for reading the urban landscape, oral history, photo-mapping and psychogeographic mapping; with data being analysed using an approach based on social values and human rights. In the case of Germany, the research being carried out uses methods of collecting and recording memories through surveys and participant observation, with data analysis based on the method of social semiotics and a community participation approach. The exchange of knowledge during the period will allow for initial training, testing of research instruments and analysis models, as well as the infrastructure of each institution to better host the international cooperation proposal.The results of this collaborative research should enable progress to be made on the conditions for recognising, conserving and reusing industrial cultural assets, identifying social memory and mapping social values for deindustrialised areas, producing socio-cultural data to support public policies (mainly urban, educational, health, cultural and tourism) in these areas, producing knowledge on strategies for social inclusion and the well-being of the surrounding communities and/or interested social agents. (AU)

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