Welcoming New Faces to the MARGISTAR Summit: Meet our WG2 Sub-Group Coordinators

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The MARGISTAR team is growing! We are thrilled to introduce two new individuals who recently joined our Core Group as Working Group 2 Sub-Group Coordinators, bringing with them a shared commitment to making a positive impact in marginalised mountain areas. As we begin working with Ana Margarida and Stanka, let’s take a moment to get to know the aims and tasks of Working Group 2, the role of a Sub-Group Coordinator, and more about these newest additions to our COST Action’s leadership.

What is MARGISTAR’s Working Group 2 responsible for? 

WIthin the MARGISTAR COST Action, Working Group 2 (WG2) is dedicated to addressing the escalating disparities, underdevelopment, and periphery traps in mountainous regions within the context of prevailing Business-As-Usual (BAU) developmental trajectories. The focus of WG2 lies on synthesising existing knowledge to identify visions of post-marginalised mountain areas and assessing success and failure in existing policies. WG2’s active engagement with mountain stakeholders fosters a collective understanding and contributes to scientific advancements. The Working Group’s ultimate aim is to generate innovative concepts and products that enhance Europe’s research and innovation capabilities associated with marginalised mountain areas. For more on the latest WG2 activities, you can read more about the outcomes of our recent meeting at Düzce University here.

MARGISTAR’s Working Group 2 huddled on a peak of the Kardüz Upland

What is the role of a WG2 Sub-Group Coordinator? 

WG2 is led by Dr Yaşar Selman Gültekin (Düzce University, Turkey) and Dr Simo Sarkki (University of Oulu, Finland). As new Sub-Group Coordinators, Ana Margarida and Stanka will primarily be responsible for catalysing and coordinating self-organised activities. Coordination of self-organised work is an essential component of the MARGISTAR consortium, particularly considering that it has grown to include over 150 members since its initiation in late 2022.

If you would like to offer your support to other Working Groups or the MARGISTAR Science Communications Sub-Group, please get in touch with the respective WG leaders (overview here) or, for the Science Communications Sub-Group, with Antonia at [email protected].

Welcome, Ana Margarida & Stanka 

As we welcome Ana Margarida and Stanka into our fold, we are excited about the enthusiasm and knowledge they bring to the table. Ana Margarida, a MARGISTAR member from Portugal, is a researcher at the Center for Intercultural Studies, ISCAP-P.PORTO, and is currently doing her PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Santiago de Compostela with a focus on the study of the Portuguese Cultural territory of Serra da Estrela. She is no stranger to MARGISTAR – you may have already met her as an author during our Country Focus on Portugal. Through her case study on Aldeias de Montanha, Ana Margarida introduced us to the value of creative industries and social innovation in empowering marginalised mountain communities. Stanka, on the other hand, is a new face from Slovakia and a researcher at the Institute of Forest Ecology at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. She is particularly interested in the adaptive management of mountain ecosystem services, emphasising climate change, the role of transdisciplinary research, and the perspectives and actions of multiple stakeholders.  

To make introductions a bit easier, we asked Ana Margarida and Stanka a few questions about their new role and general mountain-related inclinations:

  1. What are you most looking forward to in this new role as WG2 Sub-Group Coordinator? 

Ana Margarida: I’m looking forward to creating more knowledge in the field of mountain areas by helping to coordinate the self-organised activities and promote teamwork among our consortium members. In this way, I really hope to foster the transformation and revitalisation of marginalised mountainous areas.  

Stanka: Actually, I already enjoy connecting people with similar interests through my work and look forward to having more interesting discussions about the futures of our mountains as Sub-Group Coordinator. I  believe this will bring exceptional results for MARGISTAR.

  1. What’s the first plan of action for MARGISTAR in your new position? 

Ana Margarida: After having presented ourselves to the whole team, the next step is to reach out to the people interested in collaborating in MARGISTAR’s self-organised activities. Stanka and I did not know each other beforehand, so we are still trying to understand the best way to organise all the tasks on our list, but I think so far we have been working really well together. 

Stanka: I can only agree with Ana. I’ve liked our cooperation during these first few days (or rather evenings :-)) in our new role!

  1. What’s your favourite mountain spot, and why?

Ana Margarida: My favourite mountain spot is Serra da Estrela, which is located in the Cordilheira Central and is one of the most important mountain systems in mainland Portugal. I mainly hold it dear because the mountain has been my home since I was born, but also because nature has done wonders in this territory, marking it with impressive glacier valleys and winding rivers, and generally creating stunning landscapes. Serra da Estrela is also incredibly culturally significant as the home of long-standing traditions of pastoralism, female cheesemakers, wool production and manufacturing sites, and many other local community traditions.

Ana Margarida in her homeland, Portugal

Stanka: I really like the most prominent peak, Kriváň, in the High Tatra Mountains of Slovakia. And as much as I enjoy spending several hours climbing it, I also definitely love the view of this beautiful peak from the hotel jacuzzi located in forests below. I not only enjoy spending lovely family time in these mountains, but have also been doing research here for several years and deal with a number of the area’s social, ecological, and political challenges with the aim of achieving their sustainable management.  

  1. If you had to pick a song that best captures the spirit of mountains for you, what would it be?

Ana Margarida: I would say Ludovico Einaudi – The Mountain because, in my opinion, it truly captures the spirit of a mountain.

Stanka: It is not explicitly one song, but I like Slovak traditional music in which forests and mountains are present almost in each song because Slovakia is mostly mountainous. 

  1. Besides pursuing our shared interest in mountains, what’s another hobby or activity you enjoy that could be done at high altitudes? 

Ana Margarida: I’d say exploring mountain trails because in addition to providing direct contact with nature and allowing me to enjoy such incredible landscapes, it is also a physical activity that helps me to improve my health and well-being.

Stanka: Visiting stunning and remote forests and listening to their unique atmosphere. And all of these are shared with my small child who is so excited to explore small bugs and follow animal footprints. 

Stanka and her family at Strbske Pleso, High Tatras, Slovakia

Together, we look forward to making a lasting impact on marginalised mountain communities at MARGISTAR. Stay tuned for more updates on our journey by signing up to our newsletter, and join us in extending a warm welcome to Ana Margarida and Stanka as they begin their new roles at MARGISTAR!

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About MARGISTAR & How To Join

The MARGISTAR forum reflects collaboratively on natural, environmental, social, and economic inter-relationships and interactions in mountainous areas, and identifies a range of environmental, social, economic, and political challenges. It enables innovation by co-designing pathways for the transformation of marginalised mountainous areas towards their green, digital and healthy futures.

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