About Us

Heritage and Interculture is an on-line resource created by Fondazione ISMU (Initiatives and Studies on Multiethnicity) with a view to supporting all those professionals who are engaged not only in the promotion of immigrants’ cultural participation, but also and above all in the development of diverse and inclusive “heritage communities”.

Through the dissemination of good practices, resources and tools, the website aims at providing as wide/interdisciplinary a community of practice as possible (e.g. museum, library and archive professionals, educators, anthropologists, mediators, artists investigating the relationship between past and contemporary, tangible and intangible cultural heritage) with opportunities for mutual learning, debate and exchange.

Our goals

The website is an integral part of a long-term programme launched by Fondazione ISMU with the following goals:

  • to investigate how heritage institutions, which have traditionally been used to exclude those who “don’t belong”, can realistically become a resource not only in promoting understanding, mutual learning and exchange between individuals and groups with different cultural backgrounds, but also and especially in creating diverse and inclusive “heritage communities”
  • to foster a greater appreciation of “intercultural heritage education” as a strategic component of lifelong learning and active citizenship
  • to explore innovative methodologies and tools for the planning and evaluation of intercultural heritage education activities jointly developed by partners working in different institutional/professional contexts (museums, libraries and archives, schools and adult learning agencies, universities and research centres, local authorities, community organisations, cultural mediators, contemporary artists…)
  • to provide operators with guidelines and operational paradigms to promote interaction across different audiences
  • to disseminate good practices in Italian museums and heritage institutions.

At the heart of our work is a dynamic, dialogical notion of “heritage” as a cultural wealth, both material and immaterial, that should not only be preserved and passed on to the next generation, but also renegotiated, reconstructed in its meanings, constantly questioned and rediscovered by individuals who breathe new life into it.

Our activities

Along with the website, the Heritage and Interculture programme also includes:

Education projects/workshops designed and run in partnership with museum institutions

Training and action-research courses

Our training courses are aimed at bringing together professionals working in different contexts (museum, library and archive professionals, educators, anthropologists, mediators, NGO operators, contemporary artists…), so as to tap into a diverse range of perspectives, expertise and competencies; providing operators with a common conceptual framework and language (e.g. a dialogical vision of “heritage”); helping them rethink inter-institutional partnerships as a shared commitment and strategy, rather than as an occasional encounter; developing ad-hoc tools to ensure coherence, continuity and institutional change/progression; promoting the active involvement of target groups by generating new, inclusive and shared meanings around heritage.

Publications

S. Bodo e S. Mascheroni, Educare al patrimonio in chiave interculturale. Guida per educatori e mediatori museali, Collana “Strumenti” del Settore Educazione, Fondazione ISMU, Milano 2012

S. Bodo, S. Cantù e S. Mascheroni (a cura di), Progettare insieme per un patrimonio interculturale, Quaderno ISMU 1/2007, Fondazione ISMU, Milano 2007

Our team

Simona Bodo is an independent researcher and consultant with a particular interest in the social agency of museums and their role in the promotion of intercultural dialogue. On these issues she acts as an advisor to public and private institutions (e.g. the Uffizi Galleries, Brera National Picture Gallery, Fondazione ISMU, Fondazione Cariplo), and has taken part as a team expert in a number of European projects and studies on the cultural participation of individuals with immigrant backgrounds.

Silvia Mascheroni is an art historian and expert in heritage education. She designs and runs training courses for museum educators as well as other museum professionals (including directors and curators), and has been involved in the planning of heritage mediation projects aimed at different audiences. She teaches at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan (Master in Museum education services) and at the Postgraduate School in Art-Historical Heritage in Pisa.

Together with Maria Grazia Panigada, they have founded Heritage of Stories.