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CULTIVATE seeks to understand the role of cultural heritage in shaping sustainable landscapes and communities in the context of societal challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency and transitions required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Using Biosphere Reserves in Scotland, Norway, the Czech Republic and Estonia as demonstration regions, this research will explore how cultural narratives are co-created, contested and negotiated at community, regional and national scales using methods that bring to the fore cultural values, identity and relationships between people and land.

The project aims to make conceptual advances by integrating cultural heritage paradigms with socioecological systems to design a methodology to analyse how cultural narratives emerge in relation to stakeholder dynamics, landscape features and drivers of change.  It will explore different meanings of heritage through a participatory co-creation approach.

These cultural narratives will be reshaped using the ‘Seeds of a Good Anthropocene’ methodology which focuses on using inspirational visions and stories to achieve transformations to sustainability.

The four Biosphere Reserves represent a diverse spectrum of rural cultural landscapes with an ethos of scientific-based management and community engagement. Cultural narratives in their communities will be contrasted with those at regional and national level to explore how cultural heritage is conceptualised in different parts of socioecological systems.

The project is financed through the Joint Programme Initiative on Cultural Heritage, Identities & Perspectives: Responding to Changing Societies.  The 42-month initiative will run from June 2021 to December 2024, is led by the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland, working in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway, the Czech University of Applied Sciences and the Estonian University of Life Sciences.


To get in touch about the project, please email:

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