UTAD students take Vila Real’s cultural heritage to Turkey

13 October, 2021

Four students from the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) presented at Pamukkale University, Turkey, the Bil’app, an application that will facilitate access to information about Vila Real, from the history, culture and traditions of the city to recent innovations and sustainable practices.

The business idea – by Catarina Beatriz Serra Pantoja Gomes da Silva, Carolina Fachada de Fernandes Almeida Branco, Mariana Marques Abreu, from the Tourism degree, and Laura Coutinho Rosas Fraga, who attends the Sociocultural Animation course – was born in a course, under the Erasmus+ project S.I.L.V.HER (Safeguarding Intangible and CulturaL Values and HERitage), which defends and disseminates the intangible cultural heritage of Vila Real.

The training, of 9 ECTS, in an online and face-to-face regime, based on the principles of project based learning, allowed them to formulate that business idea. Intended for Vila Real residents, students and tourists, Bil’app is an application that will allow users to discover the district in an innovative way and from a perspective that privileges intangible cultural heritage. “Thus, much more than the typical list with museums, churches and all kinds of built cultural heritage, feelings, stories and memories will be shared,” can be read on the UTAD website.

So that they can now realize this project – whose results were presented in the third and last one-week workshop, at the end of September, in that Turkish university -, the four students got in touch with partners, such as AAUTAD and the municipality of Vila Real, as well as looking for a crowdfunding platform that would allow them to gather the necessary funding to build the app. The results of the work were presented in the third and final one-week workshop at the end of September at the aforementioned Turkish university.

Since October 2018, a team from UTAD has been collaborating on the Safeguarding Intangible and culturaL Values and HERitage (S.I.L.V.HER) project, together with Universita Degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro (UNIBA), Pamukkale University (PAU), Hellenic Open University (HOU) and European Grants International Academy S.R.L. (EGInA).an Italian organisation experienced in developing initiatives that connect culture and the digital world.

The initiative, which aims to safeguard intangible cultural heritage and values, is materialised in a course with online and face-to-face components, which takes place in Italy, Turkey and Portugal, a scholarship that allows ten students from each institution to study via b-learning in these three countries, and also extracurricular training that allows to formulate a concrete project to promote intangible heritage, taking advantage of digital skills.