Boulouki, Greece’s ‘Itinerant Workshop for Traditional Building Techniques’, seeks funding support

Boulouki, the ‘Itinerant Workshop for the Traditional Building Techniques’, which is dedicated to developing good practices for the safeguarding and dissemination of traditional knowledge cultural heritage in remote areas of Greece, is undertaking a fundraising programme.

Boulouki writes:

We are Boulouki, the Itinerant Workshop for the Traditional Building Techniquesworking with cultural heritage in remote areas of Greece, dedicated to developing good practices for the safeguarding and dissemination of traditional knowledge.

Our biggest achievement so far is the restoration of the old kalderimi (cobbled pathway) of 400 m. with the help of nearly 50 participants, 9 apprentices and 20 masons during 2 big workshops in the region of Tzoumerka. Of course, a lot more has happened since we joined forces, which you can enjoy here!

This year’s challenge!
In August 2020 we will be at the village of Aristi in Zagori to reconstruct a 60 m (170 m2) old pathway, through an exemplar participatory building workshop. It is titled ‘Reappearances’: an invitation to all the people from Aristi and the wider Zagori region, residing both in Greece and abroad, to join us in the re-making of their place!

And why is it important?
Aristi is a typical settlement of mountain Greece, that shares three main characteristics with a big number of other cases around the country: it is depopulated; highly touristified and its built heritage is under law protection as a traditional settlement.

On top of that, our initiative coincides with the preparations of the nomination file for Zagori to become the first Greek Cultural Landscape of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Within this context, it has been acknowledged by the Directorate of Modern Cultural and Intangible Cultural Heritage (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports) as a good practice for safeguarding heritage through community engagement. We have a lot to discuss.

The issue
Our research revealed that legislation related to the protection of the built heritage of traditional settlements needs a lot of improvement to become efficient. We have identified weaknesses that threaten the preservation of craftsmanship, architectural heritage, and also the sustainability of the cultural landscape and the local economy.  A striking example is the budgeting for dry-stone constructions proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport. There are no standardised costs for dry-stone walls. Regarding cobbled pathways there is a vast difference between the official costing (top-down) and our estimation, which is calculated from the bottom-up, based on experience, research and the opinion of professionals: our evaluation is 10 times higher! This causes huge problems in Public Restoration Projects (for buildings and infrastructure), where monetary value prevails all other values in most of these cases, given that the lowest possible construction cost is the primary concern.

What we are doing about it?
We organise the participatory reconstruction workshop to inform and fully engage the community in the process. In just a few months we have managed to communicate the issue to all the associated official stakeholders. They all showed interest and confirmed they will attend the two round-tables we will organise alongside the workshop (05-06 September 2020). Together, we are going to discuss the necessary improvements in the legal framework and offer much-needed solutions.

Why your support is fundamental
The total budget is a bit more than 70.000 euros. Whilst we are raising some funds from various stakeholders, we still need 20.000 euros to make sure this important work can all take place. Naturally, this is the biggest challenge of all in the era of COVID-19! Your contribution is crucial to implement the works, the round-table discussions, and for us to  publish our findings and lessons learned, which will be shared afterwards as an open access resource for others.

If you wish to make an offline donation using a cheque or via bank transfer to Boulouki’s bank account follow our link for more information

Impact of your contribution in REAL numbers!
We have prepared special perks to thank you, but first here is what your contribution means in real numbers:

  • 20 € = 20 stones to be chiselled by skilled masons (not machines – big difference)
  • 50€= 1 m2 of a dry-stone wall (dry stone wall building cost is not even mentioned in official budgeting…)
  • 100€= 1 m2 of kalderimi (built with the local technique tailored for the local material and the terrain)
  • 250 € = 3 m of stone-caps to ensure the stability of the dry-stone walls (…splashing cement to glue stones together is a big no-no!)
  • 500 € = contribution to the remaking of the fountain located at one end of the pathway (which is currently not even working)
  • 1000€= 3 m3 local stone + 30 hours of labour for one experienced mason + 30 hours for an apprentice to build 10 m2 of (takes time, requires patience, skill and yes! love)
  • 2000€= contribution to the reconfiguration of the public space around the bust of Christos Zoidis, a hero from Aristi, who died in the Second World War (or 20 m2 of kalderimi)!

Contribute and read more….

See background….

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