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José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes and Reyes Maroto present progress on activities and new image for celebrating Xacobeo 2021

Thursday 23 January 2020

José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, who also chairs the Xacobeo Council, stressed that the official programme already includes over 30 activities, adding that "we are ready to launch the celebration in the spring" of this year.

"The programme is the result of close collaboration between all members of the Xacobeo Council", said the Spanish minister, who thanked the regional governments making up this body and the Associations of Friends and the Association of Municipalities of the Way of St. James for "understanding the potential represented by such a celebration for bringing regions together while boosting social, cultural and tourism activity".

To encourage wider celebration of the Jubilee Year, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes announced that a working group has been set up within the Culture Sector Conference so that all the regional governments can contribute to the commemoration.

In turn, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, highlighted the creation of another specific working group for the Holy Year of St James, "in which all the regional governments are also working together on boosting the tourism potential of this extraordinary cultural resource".

In parallel to the official programme, the Minister for Culture and Sport highlighted the 'Xacobeo Programme of Conservation and Placement of Value on Cultural Assets', which has been drawn up in coordination with the Regional Government of Galicia and the Santiago Cathedral Foundation (launched in 2019). This programme is accompanied by an investment in Galician cultural assets of 30 million euros up to 2022.

Spanish illustrators reinvent the Xacobeo image

A new image for the commemoration has now been revealed on the Xacobeo 2021 website and within the Xacobeo Comic Strips project, which will be a common thread running throughout the programme of activities by the Xacobeo Council.

Promoted by the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Xacobeo Comic Strips is a project commissioned by the writer and culture manager, José Tono Martínez, and the illustrator and strip cartoonist, Pere Joan. A total of 16 Spanish illustrators have been commissioned to create a contemporary Xacobean iconography, leading to the production of posters, post cards and comic strips on concepts, myths and other narratives surrounding the Way of St. James.

All from different generations and backgrounds, these creators include Juan Berrio, Calpurnio, José Domingo, IRati F.G., Miguel Gallardo, Ana Galvañ, Elena Ibáñez, Raquel Lagartos and Julio C. Iglesias, Miguelanxo Prado, Pepa Prieto, Sonia Pulido, Antonia Santolaya and Mikel Valverde.

The posters will be distributed to the various hostels in the spring and include a space for pilgrims to leave messages.

The website will be the main showcase for the commemoration, where it will be possible to browse the various creations by the illustrators. Furthermore, it will be possible to download the posters, comics and sticker collections from the website to share on WhatsApp for free. The website will also contain a section entitled The Way of St. James Today, where it will be possible to see testimonials from people who have completed the Way of St. James, including an interview with David Ferrer that was used to launch this part of the website.

The logo used for the Holy Years 1999, 2004 and 2010 has also been redesigned in order to update certain aspects of the brand and to adapt it for easier use in digital environments without losing its identity.

Projects and activities to culturally enhance the Way of St. James

During the presentation, the Minister for Culture and Sport stressed that the programme is "very comprehensive in terms of both the variety of disciplines and its extensive presence throughout the territories involved. It includes all kinds of cultural enhancement activities in the various regions through which the Way of St. James passes, from exhibitions to concerts, theatre pieces, seminars and publications".

These projects and activities include major actions to culturally enhance the Way of St. James. Several street performances will be organised, and the Camino Escena Norte project will be promoted. The latter consists of a cultural exchange that was launched in 2019 and uses the historic route of the Northern Way of St. James as a benchmark for a stage art programme.

The joint programme will include a special edition of the Tierra film festival, at which amateur directors will make their films on the Way of St. James, the Camino de Estrellas project with outreach activities and stargazing activities tied to the Way of St. James.

Furthermore, the Xacobeo Council will continue its heritage education work around the Way of St. James by creating a new interactive educational book on the Way of St. James Routes of Northern Spain, which will complete the collection started with "Sophie en el Camino" and "Cuaderno de Fabio" for the French section of the Way of St. James.

The project entitled Milestones on the Way of St. James will be resumed, the first edition of which took place in 2010, for which the regional governments on the Xacobeo Council will present a selection of relevant monuments due to their Xacobean significance during a special promotion campaign to encourage public visits.

The National Library of Spain will also house the exhibition entitled "Xacobeo Comic Strips" in December 2020, which will tour various Xacobean municipalities during 2021. The exhibition will include sketches and originals of the work done by the illustrators together with previous images to underline the evolution undergone by the Xacobean iconography.

Encouraging tourism and welcoming visitors

The Xacobeo Council will also engage in a series of actions to encourage tourism on this cultural route and the welcoming of visitors and pilgrims. The goal is to achieve an improvement in the provision of services and reduce the environmental impact. The importance of sustainability for the Way of St. James has been highlighted as one of the cross-cutting key factors in this commemoration.

To celebrate the Holy Year, the regional governments that are home to the Way of St. James will facilitate the opening of monuments through agreements with the Church. Information leaflets will also be prepared on outstanding natural areas, the Green Way and a Xacobean gastronomic leaflet-passport.

From an international perspective, it is worth noting the project for the Spanish Tourist Office in Rome placing special reference on the Way of St. James.

An open and participatory programme

The official commemoration programme is open and participatory, meaning that a form has been created on the e-Office of the Ministry of Culture and Sport so that public and private entities wishing to do so are able to submit their proposals.

All the projects included in the official programme will be announced on the Xacobeo 2021 website.

Non official translation