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Almudena Casino Navarra's hair is being shaved by her friend Delia Celada Belda. Both women live in Barchel, a self-governed eco-community in the region Valencia. A group of young people started the project to create an alternavive micro-society about seven years ago. Although they had the verbal permission of the official owners, who migrated and abandoned their houses more than fourty years ago, they are being charged for violating property rights and fear eviction of several houses they reconstructed. (Barchel, 2nd of May 2021)

Rutopia published in the Washington Post
sanne derks
May 2, 2022
This week a beautiful publication of my long-term project Rutopia – supported by the National Geographic Society and Matchingsfonds de Coöperatie - came out in the Washington Post. In this project I documented how people want to bring abandoned villages back to life. In search for a sustainable world and a small ecological footprint, people move back to ruin-villages to start a new life.

This self-initiated project is so dear to me. It gave me so many reflections on the essence of life, it gave me guidance and purpose during the pandemic and I have enjoyed every second of the many, many weeks I spend in Spain in the past two years. I have met so many inspirational souls, individuals and communities and it feels sad the project came to an end.Perspective | In rural Spain, people want to bring abandoned villages back to life
Villages in Spain’s sparsely inhabited interior are attempting a repopulation. People are striving to construct self-governed ecological communities as a "rural utopia."

Sanne Derks

Sanne Derks is a Dutch freelance photojournalist and anthropologist, mainly focused on social documentary projects in Latin America.
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