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Leveraging culture for a just transition in former mining regions

26 June 2024

On June 11th, ECAS organised the 5th regional policy dialogue in the framework of the BOLSTER project (Bridging Organizations and marginalised communities for Local Sustainability Transitions in Europe). This dialogue is part of a series organised by ECAS within the project framework to promote cross-regional policy learning on just and green transition processes.

Purpose: The dialogue aimed to facilitate discussions on the role of arts and culture in driving societal transformation within former mining regions, with a focus on León, Spain.

With presentations from…

  • Nevelina Pachova and Adriana Veran (RMIT Europe, Spain): Shared insights from BOLSTER’s fieldwork regarding the current state of just transition regions in León, as well as the local adaptations to the coal phase-out.
  • Ammalia Podlaszewska (Culture Goes Europe Erfurt e.V., Germany): Showcased local initiatives in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany that stimulate engagement and culture in regions impacted by the coal phase-out.

And a panel discussion with…

  • Concepción Fernández (CIUDEN, Spain) detailed the role of museums, heritage, and culture in revitalisation.
  • Mario Cañizares Herbon (Sangre Minera, Spain) showcased Sangre Minera’s immersive mining experience, which offers visitors an educational insight into the miners’ lives.
  • Santiago Asenjo and Alejandro Asenjo (A plena Cultura, Spain) explained how community volunteers support their initiatives to enhance cultural life in small villages with a coal mining heritage.

Key takeaways:

  • Arts and culture foster community identity and unity but face financial, bureaucratic, inclusivity, and infrastructure challenges.
  • Civil society needs freedom and support for cultural projects.
  • National, regional, and EU policymakers should increase cultural project funding, support best practice networks, and link cultural heritage to development goals.


Leveraging arts and culture for a just transition in former mining regions requires a collaborative and community-centric approach. By fostering social inclusion, economic opportunities, and sustainable development, these initiatives can transform former mining communities into vibrant cultural hubs, preserving their heritage while building a sustainable future.

The recording of the dialogue is available below and presentations can be downloaded here.

A more detailed summary can be consulted here.