The importance of the cultural heritage of Arta and ways to enhance its importance on a spatial and social scale

The Laboratory of Knowledge & Intelligent Computing of the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications, University of Ioannina, held on 27 & 28 July 2021 a series of events, in the framework of the SMARTiMONY project which is funded by the Cross-Border Cooperation Program” Greece – Albania 2014-2020 “.

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in the morning, a study visit was held to a cultural route in historical places of Arta, which includes the temple of Apollo, the large theater of ancient Amvrakia, the small theater – boulevard of ancient Amvrakia, Saint Theodora, the church of the Savior, the city clock, the castle of Arta, the Monument of Jewish Martyrs and the Jewish quarter, the church of Saint Paraskevi and the ancient walls of Amvrakia, Parigoritissa Church, the bridge of Arta, the folklore museum and Panaghia Vlacherna.

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in the afternoon, “Discussion and Co-creative Evaluation of the Cultural Significance of the monuments of Arta” took place in the courtyard of the Historical Museum “Garoufaleios Stegi”. Participants, representatives of organizations and active citizens, had the opportunity to discuss the promotion of the tourist image of Arta and the importance of its cultural heritage, through the exchange of views, suggesting ways to make it more important spatially (global, national, regional, local), economic and social (nation, community, group, family, personal) scale.

Specifically, the event began with a greeting from Professor Chrysostomos Stylios, who referred to the use of new technologies in order to implement innovative tools such as multi-vision applications, e-books, virtual tour, augmented reality to highlight the monuments of Arta globally.

Anastasia Simou, thematic vice-governor, in her greeting said the following: “Our place has created a rich and durable culture over time. Artistic creations, impeccable aesthetic interventions, churches, bridges and unique architectural constructions that touch perfection and compose the grandeur of the continental creation. At the same time, the way of life of the people of Epirus always in the service of man and in general his struggle for the defense of universal values ​​and his resistance to the conquerors paint this culture of our homeland. Technology advances and promotes new scientific achievements whose orthodox use will certainly contribute substantially to the improvement of our quality of life. The need for them to coexist becomes insurmountable. The benefit will be great. Besides, the culture of our place is rich and long-lasting.”

This was followed by the presentation of Katerina Schimenou, Philologist-researcher on “Ways to increase the levels of importance of the cultural heritage of the Arta region”. In her presentation, she stressed the need to create an agenda of importance of the region’s monuments in order to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A monument is a “common good” and is public. It is part of a citizen’s daily life and must somehow be integrated into his emotional and experiential sphere in order to become his deepest property and to be transformed into value, aesthetics and culture. He also referred to the need for the involvement of any form of education for the new generations to understand the place where they live and its historical continuity.

Dr. Dorothea Papathanassiou-Zuhrt, a member of the Laboratory, spoke about the “role of digital culture in tourism development” with emphasis on the importance and necessity of cultural narrative especially for the younger generation in order to have a connection with cultural wealth and history. Dr. Dorothea Papathanassiou-Zuhrt referred to the need to give more weight and financial support to culture as it is a lever of economic and social development.

An open discussion followed in which representatives of institutions and stakeholders involved in the cultural creation of the region presented very interesting proposals and action plans that could be implemented in the cultural and creative industry of the wider area of Arta.

The main topics of discussion concerned the Cultural & Creative Industries, which are internationally a new field of business with a significant contribution to the economy, society, culture and tourism. In addition, emphasis was placed on the utilization of digital technology applications in Culture, which make a dynamic contribution to the rational, sustainable and productive management, promotion and protection of cultural heritage, while creating new possibilities and opportunities for access to cultural goods in ways that were not possible by traditional and conventional means.

On Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 10:30 in the Event Hall of the Archaeological Museum of Arta, a Consultation Event for the Utilization of Cultural Heritage was held. The event presented innovative methodologies for designing and implementing the Cultural Experience aimed at Arta as well as the results of qualitative and quantitative research conducted in Arta, which was attended by all potential stakeholders, active citizens and entrepreneurs from the Cultural and Creative Industries.

Specifically, the event began with the presentation of Chrysostomos Stylios, Professor Dept. Of Informatics & Telecommunications, University of Ioannina, “The SMARTiMONY project and its actions”. The SMARTiMONY Project aims at: the promotion of cultural tourism, the adoption of new innovative solutions – focusing on culture, for economic and social development, the strengthening of the tourism product through the cultural and creative industry, the multiplication of revenues from cultural tourism, attracting tourists, presenting the tangible and intangible cultural heritage through innovative narrative techniques and multimedia, creating sites of cultural interest, based on a new model of experiences, providing tourism experiences based on the combination of innovative ICT products / services for the promotion of intangible assets of cultural heritage, in disseminating and promoting the results of the project to selected target groups through the cultural and creative industry.

This was followed by the presentation “Design and Implementation of Cultural Experience” by Dr. Dorothea Papathanassiou-Zuhrt, in which with examples from other areas where similar actions were implemented an increase in the creative and cultural industry was observed while referring to specific digital media and tools that this is possible to do.

This was followed by the “Presentation of results of qualitative and quantitative research to stakeholders and employees in the Cultural and Creative Industries”. The survey was conducted during the period April-May 2021 in the city of Arta in a sample of 80 respondents for qualitative and quantitative research on stakeholders and employees in the Cultural and Creative Industries.

An open discussion followed and the signing of a Cooperation Agreement & Completion of a Visitor Survey Questionnaire

Also, the cooperation and participation agreement in the SMARTiMONY network was presented.

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