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A Chair of Cork Studies is promoted

The new one is born Chair of Cork Studies, an initiative of the University of Girona, thePalafrugell City Council and the Cork Museum of Catalonia, which wants to promote multidisciplinary research, both from the humanistic and social as well as the scientific and technical fields, on the world of cork, which includes everything from matter to culture, passing through corks and industries, with the aim to make it known inside and outside the academic field, giving special attention to the cork territories, both in Catalonia and in other regions and countries. The chair, directed by Dra. Rosa Ros, wants to add to and enhance the efforts, both intellectual and material, made by the institutions in the search for cork and its social return.

Lines of action

  1. Promotion of research and transfer. The Chair will become a platform to channel university expertise with research demands from companies or institutions in the cork sector, strengthening transfer and contributing to promoting joint collaboration.
  2. Creation of the "Santiago Zapata" research award aimed at students who have addressed the subject of cork in their final master's or undergraduate theses, as well as researchers in general.
  3. Impulse for the creation of a Cork Documentation Center.
  4. Collaboration with inventory tasks and study of movable and immovable material heritage, as well as the sector's intangible heritage.
  5. Organization of conferences, conferences, seminars and congresses. The Chair will organize activities to disseminate knowledge of aspects related to the world of cork, aimed at the general public and University students. Likewise, more specialized seminars or congresses will be organized, with the intervention of researchers from other territorial areas, in order to mark joint lines of action and research.

The importance of cork

Cork and the activities that derive from it have played a key role in those areas of the territory where they have been developed. The exploitation, transformation and commercialization of cork gave rise to the most important manufacturing activity in the Girona regions in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, and its influence has reached to the present day. On the other hand, the cork industry has left as a legacy a forestry sector of great environmental wealth, which raises important challenges for forestry and landscape management, and for the maintenance of ecosystem services. It has also bequeathed an important material heritage, including a landscape and urban planning shaped by cork activity, and immaterial, from culture and ethnography to gastronomy, to be preserved and valued.

Today, the sector has to deal with problems such as climate change, the emergence of pests or competition from synthetic substitutes in the industry, but it can also take advantage of new opportunities offered by technology.

PHOTO: Cork Museum of Catalonia