Located on the western central coast of Portugal, Óbidos is an ancient fortified city that remains a well-preserved example of medieval architecture. In recent years, Óbidos has distinguished itself through a wise combination of heritage preservation and creative innovation. The transformation of the Gothic Saint Peter Church into a library and a bookshop best illustrates the city’s commitment to following a sustainable urban revitalisation and development path. Above all, creativity, and literature in particular, are seen in Óbidos as enablers of social inclusion, job creation and a knowledge-based economy.
In 2015, the city launched the first edition of the International Literary Festival of Óbidos (FOLIO), which gathers writers, editors and publishers in a conducive environment for networking and the exchange of ideas, as well as development of professional cooperation. In addition, the Creative Factory initiative focuses on establishing a number of cultural infrastructures, such as the Óbidos Story Centre, which offers multidisciplinary programmes and workshops, especially aimed at encouraging young people to follow careers in the field of creativity.
The flagship project currently undertaken by the Municipality is the Creative Houses project, which focuses on turning abandoned houses into a network of creative residencies for artists, as well as an incubator space that functions as a hub for young entrepreneurs to launch creative businesses. The residencies foster the mobility of artists within the Network by hosting writers and offering them the opportunity to share experiences, meet other local writers and work in a collaborative spirit.
As a Creative City of Literature, Óbidos envisages:
- implementing the Óbidos City of Literature Strategy aimed at improving access to books, information and communications technology (ICT) for the local community;
- providing vocational guidance in the field of literature by offering specific programmes and workshops in school libraries;
- nurturing the mobility of artists within the Network by hosting writers in the city’s creative residencies; and
- fostering international cooperation through the FOLIO event to focus on North-South artistic exchanges.