“City Telling” (Turin)

Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation | Turin


· Leading partner: Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation (FSRR), Turin
· Other partners: CTP “Drovetti” (a local centre for adult education and training), National Museum of Cinema, Turin; MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art Bologna; a group of students from a local high school specialising in arts subjects; “Ars Media” (communication agency); 3rd District of the City of Turin (FSRR is based in this area) and its Urban Eco-Museum.


Funding bodies
European funding (Grundtvig project “MAP for ID – Museums as Places for Intercultural Dialogue”) plus FSRR own budget.


“City Telling” was conceived by the Education Department as the ideal continuation of a previous project, “A Vision of My Own”, which explored through audiovisual language the themes of identity (portrait and self-portrait), journey, the experience of distance and proximity, the reflection on collective and individual past and present.
The underlying goal of these two projects was and is to increase the opportunities for cultural participation of young immigrants and their families, by providing participants with new tools to get to know the place where they have settled and at the same time build a common ground, a “third space” of cultural, linguistic and aesthetic interaction.
More in particular, the objectives set for “City Telling were:
· to help participants develop a critical understanding of the reality surrounding them; increase their ability to analyse and communicate their own experience of the world; acquire the necessary skills to carry out personal inquiry and rediscover the urban territory where they live
· to promote language learning
· to develop transversal skills in close connection with the school curriculum.


Target groups
Young students with an immigrant background (aged between 14 and 20) attending a local Centre for Adult Education and Training (CTP “Drovetti”).


Duration of the project
From November 2008 to May 2009, walking tours and workshops with project participants; from June to October 2009, implementation of the multimedia platform (see “Project description”).


Project description
“City Telling” is one of the 30 pilot projects supported and implemented in the framework of the Grundtvig project “MAP for ID – Museums as Places for Intercultural Dialogue”.
The project started with the setting up of a working team composed by the FSRR education staff, teachers from CTP “Drovetti”, the artist-director Gianluca De Serio and photographer Anna Largaiolli.
In the first phase of the project, the team exchanged views and expertise with respect to:
· the chosen theme for the project (the city)
· the knowledge of the territory to explore during the project: research of iconographic sources, selection of videos and photographs, choice of local cultural resources around which to build the itineraries and workshops (museums, temporary exhibitions, squares, public installations, parks…)
· the methodological approach (pluralistic and interdisciplinary approach; story-telling, a methodology well known to the education staff of Foundation thanks to the previous experience of “A Vision of My Own”), also in cooperation with MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art Bologna (for the development of a common education project) and the National Museum of Cinema (for the creation of a joint interactive platform to make the project results visible).
From November 2008 to May 2009, the group of young students has been actively involved in the exploration of local urban space. The starting point consisted in sharing the “geo-cultural” origins of individual participants through storytelling and the use of objects, photographs, postcards and web technologies.
In the following phase of the project, Serio and Largaiolli, in close cooperation with the Education Department, guided the students in two parallel “itineraries” (15 meetings / workshops) respectively devoted to video and photographic storytelling. The two working groups developed a personal route across urban space, by identifying significant spots of the city (schools, museums, libraries, private homes, gardens, worship places, urban installations, services and meeting spaces) and collecting their manifold impressions in a journal made of photographs, “findings” and audiovisual creations. Participants also had a chance to work at leisure in the Foundation’s exhibition spaces, where the artworks provided valuable insights for reflection, writing and the planning of project materials.
The final outputs of this phase of the project were:
· four videos: “Three times in the same place”, “The Diary”, “Travelling” and “City/Shahr”
· two “photographic strips”: “Hello and goodbye” and “Double wake up”.
An important factor in terms of encouraging group cohesion was the organisation of informal meetings beyond the project’s framework, as well as the participation in some events promoted by CTP “Drovetti” (e.g. a meeting held at the Democracy Biennale in April 2009).
The final phase of “City Telling” consisted in the implementation of an interactive platform including pictures, videos, texts and sounds. Conceived as a flexible, in-progress tool which is transferable to other cultural and territorial contexts, the platform was designed by a group of arts school students, coordinated by the education staffs of FSRR and the National Museum of Cinema.


Outcomes of the project
· at participant level: creation of a cohesive group, familiarity with contemporary arts venues and languages, development of arts skills, greater knowledge of / sense of belonging to the local territory, opportunity for self-expression, language learning
· at partner level: opportunity for exchange of skills and expertise between operators with different institutional and professional backgrounds (although project coordinators pointed out that a clearer definition of roles and responsibilities will be necessary in future projects), development of intercultural competencies of the education staff, greater awareness of the whole staff of the Foundation (curators included)
· at institutional level: contact / relationship with a target group traditionally excluded from contemporary art spaces, commitment to developing an intercultural project on a yearly basis, greater acknowledgement of the Foundation’s social role on the part of local communities.


Publications / other resources
– final publication of the MAP for ID project: S. Bodo, K. Gibbs, M. Sani (eds.), Museums as places for intercultural dialogue. Selected practices from Europe, 2009.
– project materials were also published in a DVD for distribution in schools and CTPs at regional level, as will be incorporated in the multimedia archive of the Urban Eco-Museum (3rd District of the City of Turin).

Contact details
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
via Modane, 16 – 10141 Turin
tel. 011.3797600
– Project coordinators:
Elena Stradiotto (Head of Education) and Francesca Togni (Coordinator of Education Projects)

Target Groups

Young students with an immigrant background (aged 14-20) attending a local Centre for Adult Education and Training