Sphera Cástris - Southwest Park for Heritage and Arts
The project Sphera Cástris aims, in the first place, to promote the cultural heritage and artistic education in Évora. However other national and international objectives are pursued for this center for the arts, science and technology, research, innovation and sustainability. .
The project seeks to respond to the need to create an infrastructure for culture and heritage, production and artistic creation, based on an integrated and inclusive vision of knowledge and its transfer. A location anchored in a historical and cultural territory, that fits in within a network with existing cultural and scientific equipment and organizations, allowing to develop integrated projects with scale to gain economic and cultural development of their region of influence.
This way other objectives of the project are:
To ensure greater accessibility to the (knowledge of) the region's Cultural Heritage
To increase the impact of Cultural Heritage at regional level
To promote entrepreneurship and job creation
To promote research and advanced training
To provide residencies for artists and researchers
To promote the training and qualification of human capital
To create an exhibition and interpretive pole and an experimental center for arts and heritage
To create a vision resulting in integrated management of knowledge and its transfer, in the domain of arts and cultural heritage, anchored in a determined historical territory
To create an European consortium / network for art and heritage.
Promoted by the Regional Directorate for Culture of Alentejo, the project involves a set of entities representing the municipality of Évora and the region, as well as several international entities, for streamlining the Convento de São Bento de Cástris (Convent of St Benedict of Cástris) and its surrounding area.
The approximately 5 000 square meters of construction will be subject to requalification works, in order to accommodate an exhibition pole and an experimental arts and heritage Centre.
The Sphera Castris will assume an integrated vision of arts, culture and heritage action as pillars for competitiveness and sustainable development, responding so to the needs, challenges and opportunities in the region. And it will engage in the creation of a strategic alliances network with regional, national and international partners, to affirm itself as an innovative and avant-garde Centre with ability to study, experience, disseminate, preserve and reinvent all cultural disciplines on two crucial cornerstones: knowledge and innovation.
It is intended that the project creates business clusters, development laboratories in the heritage area, artistic residencies and agricultural development works. It is expected that the intersection of science, heritage and contemporary art in the Convent area would contribute for the economic development of Évora and of the region.
The promoters believe the Sphera Castris can assert itself as an innovative structure of reference at European level dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of Southwest heritage, culture and arts, in an integrated and sustainable territorial perspective, guiding their action to the following major vectors:
- Preservation and enhancement of cultural and traditional heritage of the territory through knowledge and its integration into national and regional policies.
- Development of innovative technologies and methodologies in cultural heritage and associated areas.
- Maximization of creative approaches in traditional arts and contemporary arts production and dissemination.
- Increasing opportunities and resources for creating and artistic excellence.
- Artistic and patrimonial education promotion and contribution to populations’ life quality.
- Growth of competitiveness and creation of skilled employment in the Culture sector in the Alentejo region.
- Contribution to the increase of visitors and overnight stays in the region in the scientific and cultural tourism sector.
The investment comes from structural funds, through Creative Europe Program and scientific projects with the University of Évora.