The Atlas Workshops of Agdz, Morocco: A Model Region for a Scientific–Artistic Dialogue

  • U. NehrenEmail author
  • S. Lichtenberg
  • H. Mertin
  • N. Dennig
  • A. El Alaoui
  • H. Zgou
  • S. Alfonso de Nehren
  • C. Raedig
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


The town of Agdz in southeast Morocco was chosen as an applied case for the cooperation project “The Atlas Workshops of Agdz: A model region for a scientific-artistic dialogue.” The aim of the project was to use scientific and artistic approaches to identify transformation processes in the socio-ecological system and the associated impacts on the cultural heritage of the Imazighen (Berbers). Transdisciplinary and intercultural teaching and learning methods provided international students with a holistic view of system contexts and changes and enabled them to analyze and reflect on them. Based on the project results, this chapter discusses transformation processes in Agdz in the course of global change, which pose new challenges for the region. We examine aspects of oasis agriculture, water use, traditional earthen architecture, and the Ahwash ritual, an intangible cultural heritage of the Imazighen. Moreover, we discuss the extent to which transdisciplinarity and interculturality can contribute to a better understanding of the system and foster mediation processes, and what role music and dance play in these. This takes place against the background of the overarching objective of sustainable rural development and socio-ecological resilience.


Southeast Morocco Sustainable development Socio-ecological system Interculturality Transdisciplinarity Inquiry-based learning North–South dialogue 



We would like to express our sincerest thanks to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Federal Foreign Office for funding the Atlas Workshops project. Furthermore, we are very grateful to Mr. M’Barek Ait El Kaid for providing us the space in his Kasbah and his valuable time for scientific discussion and practical support. Our heartfelt thanks go to the amazing Ahwash ensemble from Agdz, particularly to Boubker Marrouk, Mohamed Belahcen, and Abdessamad Belahcen, as well as to Prof. Vera Sander who played a decisive role in shaping the artistic part of the project. Furthermore, we would like to thank Prof. Dr. Youness Belahsen and Prof. Dr. Ahmed Ait Hou for their great support. We further thank the community of Agdz with the associations Assalam and the German NGO Dindum who supported the project activities. We are also very grateful to the Villa des Arts, the association La Paix/Salaam, and the Goethe-Institut for supporting the closing event in Rabat. Finally, we would like to thank Michael Maurissens (artist and film maker), Nezha Rhondali (dancer), Tom Dams (sound engineer), Justyna Niznik (violin player), Manfred Fahnert, Marc Haering, Jana Nolting, Florian Schick, Roman Seliger (scientific support), Belaid Zouhair (logistic support), and the students from science and arts: Oumaima Ait El Kaid, Francesco d’Amelio, Elsa Artmann, Margherita Dello Sbarba, Houda Dribila, Silvia Enis Duarte, Mohamed El-Hodaiby, Maximiliano Estudios, Mariana Garcia de la Torre, Leonie Gembler, Katharina Gübel, Diego Alexander Guarin Cifuentes, Karina Klein, Oumaima Kharkhach, Mihyun Ko, Linda Madio Ngankeng Epse Kemeni, Wyam Mardoukh, Alaa Obeid, Brahim Oumahrir, Maria Isabel Meza Rodríguez, Raphael Pak Lau, Anne-Lene Nöldner, Kenechukwu Albert Okoye, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Jannis Sicker, Marcella Ulrike Sobisch, Svenja Speen, Thea Soti, Seyedeh Taraneh Mousavi, José Carlos Tello Valle Hiriart, Dimitrios Thanos, Yannick Tiemann, and Moritz Wesp.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Nehren
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Lichtenberg
    • 2
  • H. Mertin
    • 3
  • N. Dennig
    • 4
  • A. El Alaoui
    • 5
  • H. Zgou
    • 6
  • S. Alfonso de Nehren
    • 1
  • C. Raedig
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, TH KölnKölnGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physical GeographyUniversity of PassauPassauGermany
  3. 3.Freelance musician, sound performer and music ethnologistCologneGermany
  4. 4.Dindum Kulturkommunikation e.V.Pulheim-ManstedtenGermany
  5. 5.Natural Resources and Environment Research Team (NR & E), Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology ErrachidiaMoulay Ismail UniversityMeknesMorocco
  6. 6.Polydisciplinary Faculty of OuarzazateIbn Zohr UniversityAgadirMorocco

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