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The project Local Heritage as a Resource for Sustainable Regional Development is funded by the Ministry of education, youth and science and managed by the Centre for anthropological and ethnosociological studies at the University of Plovdiv, Faculty of Philosophy and History. The research team consists of scholars working in the field of ethnology, philosophy, culture and tourism. Students are also included in the project activities.

The project aims at clarification of the way Bulgarian society understands and assesses intangible cultural heritage. Scholars’ objective is to identify cases of intangible heritage with an emphasis on inherited (or thought as such) local knowledge and skills, as they are practices nowadays. In other words, attention is paid to the practices, their use and the place they occupy in the contemporary life of local communities. The research of the local heritage is based on various case studies and a comparative approach is applied both in and beyond Bulgarian territory while relying on the classic quality methodology of the grounded theory.

The work of the researchers seeks to contribute to clarification of the policies of construction of the local heritage and its integration as a factor of sustainable local development. A new research context and an innovative conceptualization of the contents of policies of heritage management are offered.

These policies will be approached through the lens of territories in order to outline basic models which contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of local communities. The object of observation and analysis are municipalities of the South Central Rayon of Planning in Bulgaria, which enjoys various natural and cultural resources and where big as well as smaller towns and villages are located, representative for both central and border areas. There communities with rich inherited practices and cultural traditions live that play a major role continuously from the past until today and contribute to the image of the rayon. The research will outline most relevant cases and analyze them. 

The target group of the project is not only the academia; the project team aims at reaching much wider audience of citizens and businessmen: state and regional institutions, NGOs, local producers, etc. Hence the contacts and cooperation with all main actors on regional and local level is of crucial importance and these will be asked to contribute to the project work. The team of researchers envisages collection of information and assessment of the intangible cultural heritage as a resource, analysis of the good as well as bad practices, presentation of the main models that are closely related to the sustainable development of territories and communities.



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