Between October 2022 and May 2023, the nine ‘(a)bordando el territorio’ workshops were organized and coordinated from La Ponte Ecomuséu (the name in Spanish ‘(a)bordando el territorio’ is a play on words between embroidering and addressing the territory) and constitute one of the working basis of the project. With the participation of a total of twenty women (more in specific workshops, and a stable group of five or six people), of different ages, backgrounds and interests, and through dynamics that facilitated the participation of all, a space for research and reflection on the role of women in the construction of the cultural landscapes of the territory was created.
This meeting and work space facilitated the collection, transmission and dissemination of the memory and intangible heritage of rural women in Santo Adriano.
In the first meeting, the topics of interest to the participants were raised, seeking to integrate them into the participatory research process. From there, for each of the following sessions, the work started from the debates and proposals that were collected in the process.
Through a participatory methodology, designed to take into account the concerns of the group of women, the times of the workshops and the objectives of the research, the different ‘tours’ were established that allowed us to know and recognize the work of women in the historical processes of transformation of the rural environment. Likewise, the spaces of interest that are to be recovered through this project were indicated.
The look at the past was never considered static: we look to remember, but also to question a time in which women had a secondary role in society, where they were not recognized as equals and their capacity for agency was minimal. However, their contribution to sustaining the communities was essential.
The workshops helped to rethink the place that women occupied (and do occupy) in these rural societies, and their contributions to them through their knowledge, effort and work.
Workshops on February 11 and April 27: Laundry room
We draw the map of the village. Villanueva stretches along the banks of the river, through the old and new neighbourhoods. Through the town hall, the church, the school (la escuelina), María’s shop (la tiendina), El Patio… And in the middle of the village, the old washing place, now in disuse. But we all pass by it, we all want to preserve it, to give it new life. And to recognize the immense work of care that the women carried out there. Washing clothes took a lot of time and energy. It was not an easy task: where to stand, how to move their bodies and hands, how to make soap, how to wring out, how to ‘tend to the green’… The knowledge that sustains life is not recognized. For us they are invaluable.
Workshop on March 4: Butterflies
Weaving, both figuratively (weaving networks, alliances, bonds of trust) and literally, is present throughout the workshop sessions. We wove with our fingers, we made warps, ephemeral spider webs… And in this way, we wanted to represent/present ourselves on 8M (the 8th of March). And what image came to mind? Butterflies, of course.
With the help of Isa and her experience as a knitter, we got together and started to work: purple wool, crochet hooks, scissors and our hands. The result is more than fifty butterflies that, since March 8th, have been flying in the wind at the Villanueva washing place.
Workshops on April 16 and May 20: Vegetable Gardens
Peasant knowledge was passed down from generation to generation: recognizing the smell of rain in the air, the right place to plant a tree, the cycle of the moon in which to sow and harvest. The women spent their days going from one task to the next, and the gardens took up a large part of their time. Not only did they grow the food, but they also prepared and preserved it for the lean seasons.
Who takes care of the gardens today, and who knows how to do it?
Josefina told us; María and Lore brought the seeds; Gusti put in the soil; Vero, Elena and Yoli planted and watered. This is how the community garden ‘Salsipuedes’ (come out if you can) was born.