The city’s functioning stands on a system of social, cultural and economic networks, that work on regional, national and international levels. People, associations, institutions, municipalities, etc., integrate these networks with the goal of improving the quality of life within its territories and strengthen their autonomy and position on both a local and a global scale.
The solidification of these networks has been an undergoing process, not only within the city, among its inhabitants and visitors, but also outside the urban limits, trying to establish connections with other cities in the region, in the country and wherever.
Having a medium/small size on a national scale, Amarante tries to think and act locally, working with a participative and horizontal model that can include its citizens in the construction of a city that is safe, sustainable and healthy.
With this in mind, the Municipality is currently supporting two platforms, City Centre Doctor and Change!, available for an open discussion and reflection on challenges concerning local urban sustainable development, that counts with the participation of local agents and institutions. Simultaneously, these projects are also a context for the promotion of cooperation networks linking other cities, institutions and citizens of Europe, while exchanging knowledge, experiences and good practices. The mentioned projects, provided with technical and financial support by URBACT, a program of territorial cooperation within the European zone, work for the building up of networks, cohesion and social capital, the reduction of fragmentations within the city and the empowering of citizens towards an active citizenship.
On a subregional level, Amarante is part of the Comunidade Intermunicipal do Tâmega e Sousa, a grid of municipalities focused on cementing relations among its neighbouring constituents, and envisioning a coordination and coaction beneficial to the territory of Tâmega e Sousa.
At the same time, Amarante takes part in the Rota do Românico (the Romanesque Route), an intermunicipal project aiming to value a Romanesque heritage of about 60 monuments, spread across the north of Portugal territories of Vale do Sousa, Vale do Tâmega and Vale do Douro. The project works for the preservation and knowledge dissemination of the historical remnants of this period.
Still related to Rota do Românico, Amarante is member of other cooperation projects on both regional and international levels, namely the Transromanica association, that joins 12 entities in the promotion and valuing of the Romanesque heritage within European space, and whose work has been internationally acclaimed by, among others, the European Council.
Meanwhile, the Amarante Municipal Council has been establishing many other ties for cooperation and international projects. The following paragraphs will feature some of them, especially those dealing with the artistic and cultural fields.
Firstly, Amarante’s several cooperation initiatives with its ‘sister cities’ of Àcheres (France) and Wiesloch (Germany), which deal with topics like economic, social and cultural development. Within this interaction, several opportunities appear for the circulation of Amarante’s music groups.
Amarante regularly promotes international exchange programs with artistic schools from other cities, which foster good practices trade. Such is the case of the exchange between the Conservatório de Música e Dança (in Amarante) and the Peyrehorade, La Musicale des Gaves (in France), in which teachers and students of both schools have the chance to trade experiences on artistic and pedagogic subjects, and engage in joint actions.
The city is also part of an European grid dedicated to the visual and media arts and to the work of young creatives – the Jeune Création Européene – featuring eight European countries, Portugal among them. The initiative was first held in 2000, committed to support creation, production and dissemination of young artists’ work through itinerant exhibitions in the participant countries.
Finally, as means to demonstrate the importance of Amarante’s associative structure for the city’s inclusion in international networks, it should be mentioned the efforts made by the Propagode association in the preservation and promotion of the ‘viola amarantina’.
Propagode has participated in two editions of the Mostras Internacionais de Violas de Arame, in Minas Gerais/Brazil, where it had the opportunity to organize a workshop, a concert and a lecture concerning this Portuguese instrument, thus contributing both to its divulgation and to the establishment of synergies with similar Brazilian instruments.
”The whole context of the city is very engaging (…) it has a strong musical culture that comes from the traditions, but that is in search of the news.”
Mimo Festival Director
“The great challenge is to continue the main lines with which the city already affirms itself. Every concert, every action (…) can add new and diversified content so that the offer is an effective contribution to the dynamics and growth of society.”
José Ferreira Lobo
Artistic Director and Head Maestro of Orquestra do Norte
“The Romanesque Route welcomed with joy the invitation [to join the application]. One particularity that we spoke of throughout the process of preparing this application was the ability of spaces to host various types of music and sound.”
Rota do Românico Director
“It makes sense that this application happens precisely to take this raw material and take it to a new level (…) an entire industry that exists around the music, can take advantage of this candidacy of Amarante to expand its activity.”
Producer and Cultural Events Programmer
“I remember many concerts of the Orquestra do Norte here in Amarante, because it is almost always full, and for musicians it is a pleasure to play for so many people.”
Cellist of Orquestra do Norte