• Project leader: YLDA – Young People for Local Development Association, Turin
• Other partners: Museum of Human Anatomy “Luigi Rolando” (University of Turin), Museum of Criminal Anthropology “Cesare Lombroso” (University of Turin), cultural and intercultural associations, “Manzoni” School Institute and Parents Association.
All project partners are based in the neighbourhood of San Salvario, one of the most multiethnic areas of Turin.
The project was co-financed by Regione Piemonte, YLDA and the City of Turin.
The neighbourhood project set off with the following general goals:
• to create a network between a variety of neighbourhood institutions/organisations which had never cooperated before
• to share ideas, methodologies and tools to enhance the quality of life in San Salvario
• to increase levels of awareness and use of the “Lombroso” Museum.
As the project evolved, a set of more specific objectives was identified for each phase, concerning the development of particular skills and behaviours in project participants (see “Target groups” below):
• to recognise and overcome prejudice through the knowledge of scientific method and of the notions of observation, classification, hypothesis, falsification, learning to apply them to everyday life in the surrounding reality
• to reinterpret reality creatively
• to familiarise with San Salvario and the diversity of those living and working in the neighbourhood.
From the point of view of the institutions and organisations taking part in the project, the main objective was to develop a cooperative approach to problem solving, learning to work together with partners with differing missions, expertise and methodological approaches by focussing on shared goals.
Primary school students and their parents, neighbourhood community.
Duration of the project
From November 2009 to November 2010.
The project was structured as follows:
1. Identification of collection trails and guided tours with teachers and school parents to share project objectives, test the actual interest in the project on the part of the school and families, define a common work plan (5 meetings).
2. Guided tours for primary school children to the Museum of Human Anatomy and the “Lombroso” Museum, along the collection trails previously identified and shared with teachers and parents. This was the context where children first came in touch with the scientific method and its key features. A small publication was produced to support these visits, which is now regularly used by the museums involved in the project.
3. School meetings with two neuroscientists concerning the brain and how it works, with particular attention to how people process environmental stimulus into information which is subsequently elaborated to develop one’s own points of reference and judgements. Artists from one of the partner associations (TeART Association) also took part in the meetings.
4. Discovering the neighbourhood and its commercial activities: children were asked to apply the scientific method to their own neighbourhood. By observing San Salvario’s map, they identified streets, buildings and categories of workers. After preparatory activities at school (where they were asked to describe and represent their own street), students went out into the neighbourhood and interviewed some craftsmen (field research), gathering information to be subsequently reorganised in class.
5. Every class involved in the project, guided by an artist, created a collective artwork drawing inspiration from the human and professional diversity met in the neighbourhood during the field research. The artworks were then exhibited at “Paratissima”, an off art show held on a yearly basis in San Salvario’s streets, shops, schools, clubs etc. based on the idea that creativity is something that belongs to everyone and every place, not only museums and art fairs.
Particular attention was devoted to documenting and evaluating each phase of the process through videos, photographs, interviews with teachers, meeting minutes, interim and final reports focusing on organisational matters and the implications of an open, cooperative and multidisciplinary approach.
Lessons to be learned
The project’s key strengths were:
• its highly experimental approach
• the active involvement of all project participants in defining the activities (museum guided tours, school meetings, field research in the neighbourhood, art workshops)
• a flexibility which allowed the project team to involve new partners and specialists (e.g. the two neuroscientists) along the way, although they were not envisaged in the initial stages of the project
• the active participation of school parents and the neighbourhood at large
• the visibility of project outputs in the framework of a highly popular art show like “Paratissima”.
On the other hand:
• the little resources made available did not allow the project team to involve secondary school classes, as originally planned
• the focus on interpersonal relationships with the many organisations/institutions and people who took part in the project was very time-consuming in terms of planning, organisation of meetings and production of materials, and often relied on the dedication of individual project partners
• sustainability is also problematic: in spite of the production of useful operational tools, a clear overall architecture and the fruitful cooperation between diverse partners (key elements for its replicability), the project was based on an short-term financial support on the part of local administrations, and is not currently able to find the resources required for its further development.
Associazione YLDA – Young People for Local Development Association
via Baretti, 20 – 10100 Torino
– project coordinator: Damiano Aliprandi (President)
Project description published in: March 2012