Tracing flax - an enabling process through an intergenerational dialog
The project“Landscape and You-th – Tracing Flax” (2012-2015) focuses on the relationshipbetween local knowledge, landscape and regional identity through thecultivation and manufacturing of the flax plant in the Lesachtal region of Austria.The aim of the project was to reflect onand preserve traditional structures, practices and knowledge of flax with, thegoal of enhancing cultural sustainability to promote regional development. Studentsfrom the „Neue Mittelschule Lesachtal“ (lower secondary school) and the „HLWHermagor“ (upper secondary school) were trained in methods of recording oralhistory and then they interviewed local elderly people about the traditionalcultivation and manufacturing of flax and its significance in daily rural life.Together, young and older people cultivated flax and processed it into oil,yarn and insulation material. Several media products and performances, includingan app and a documentary were produced to enhance sustainable tourism in theregion and offer added value for all stakeholders. The project provided anexcellent opportunity for intergenerational learning. The project evaluationshowed that students became aware of the interrelationships between people and thelandscape, and the socio-economic changes taking place in their region. Theyhelped restore local knowledge about the landscape with regard to flax.Furthermore, as a result of the project, students strongly identified withtheir region, they valued living in the Lesachtal and had concrete ideas aboutits sustainable development.
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