RECOMS  is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission. The purpose of RECOMS is to train 15 Fellows (Early Stage Researchers - ESR) in innovative, transdisciplinary, and transformative approaches to promoting and facilitating resourceful and resilient community environmental practice. RECOMS started in March 2018 and will run until February 2022.


2 Fellows are based in Vienna

The BOKU will host two ESR / PhD students, who will define their research project within the following topics:

Natalie Leung, is working on a relational understanding of farm resilience, focusing on the role of arts

Alternative farmers are exploring new practices based on different relations, beliefs and world-views than those favored by the agricultural mainstream. This ‘alternativeness’ brings with it a range of challenges linked to inclusion and exclusion in rural communities. The alternative practices of alternative farmers can question the mainstream mechanized farming practices and the associated loss of ecological knowledge. Therefore, alternative farmers have the potential to bring new ideas and changes to rural spaces.

Natalie’s research project adopts a case study approach to examines whether and how art could inspire alternative farmers to think out of the box, identify new opportunities, and trigger innovation so that farmers are more capable to navigate uncertainties and adapt to changes. A theoretical framework using a relational approach is used to investigate the types of relations on- and off-farm that are created or facilitated by art.

Natalie’s first case study is the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (ETAT) in the Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The ETAT is the world’s largest outdoor rural art festival, around 180 pieces of artworks are dotted around an area that spreads over 760km2. By putting open air installations on rice fields and traditional Japanese landscapes, the Art Triennale aims to combine agriculture and the surrounding environment with art, and thus re-signify the cultural values of agriculture and natural resources.

Natalie's page on the RECOMS website

Jingjing Guo, who will be working on collaborative entrepreneurial action to manage coupled social-ecological systems for resilience

Objectives: Rural communities manage a wide variety of natural resources. Yet, the access to these resources and the distribution of their benefits is often unequal in the community, differing along gender lines, age groups, and ownership structures. This unequal access may reinforce broader rural challenges such as unemployment, hidden rural poverty, and youth outmigration. Moreover lack of critical reflexion on traditions often hampers the innovative use of resources, even when it would address community and broader societal demands. Collaborative entrepreneurial action can address these challenges, by engaging diverse stakeholders, strengthening resourcefulness, and transforming local resource relationships. This project explores barriers and opportunities for collaborative entrepreneurial action that is just, empowering, and restorative. Particular emphasis will be given to the potential of rethinking gender roles and of strengthening intergenerational connections to encourage innovative ideas, stimulate the reflexive questioning of traditions, and promote critical resilience.

Expected Results: Clarify influence of traditional gender roles and division by age groups as a barrier to rethinking the use of natural resources and to civic engagement; Guidelines on enhancing social justice in rural communities; Critical assessment of the use of visual methods as a means to strengthening resourcefulness and further enabling collective action.

Jingjing's page on the RECOMS website