The territory of Venice comprises the historic city along with the several islands in the lagoon, and the mainland area organised in the four Municipalities of Mestre-Carpenedo, Marghera, Favaro Veneto and Chirignago-Zelarino.
In the past century, Venice has undergone several social, economic and demographic changes primarily connected with the creation of Porto Marghera (1917), the industrial development in the neighbouring area, and the crisis of traditional manufacture in the historic centre, which led to the closing of the Arsenal, the Molino Stucky and the Salt Stores.
Since the second half of the XX century, residents have gradually moved from the historic centre to the mainland, where newly arrived immigrant communities also settled.
Around 261,321 residents live in the territory of Venice (data made available end of December 2017), of whom 36,048 come from 141 different countries and account for 13.8% of the population. The most significant groups live on the mainland and come from Bangladesh, Romania, Moldova, China, Ukraine, Albania, Macedonia, Philippines
In this context, a couple of years ago the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia started to organise training courses of Italian language (L2) for young immigrants in some museum venues, in cooperation with the Immigration and Promotion of Rights to Citizenship and Asylum Service of the Municipality of Venice. However, apart from these linguistic mediation initiatives, there are no intercultural experiences in Venetian museums – i.e. no opportunities for exchange and interaction between “native” citizens and migrant communities in the historic centre as well as in the mainland.
• Project leader: Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia – Education Department
• Partner institutions: Municipality of Venice – Social Policies, Inclusion and Mediation Unit; Centres for Adult Education and Training in Marghera, Mestre and Venice; Parish Centre of Italian culture/language and Patriarchate of Venice; Filipino Community.
• Other partners: ECCOM – Idee per la Cultura, Rome; MAXXI – National Museum of XXI century Arts, Rome.
The project was funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the framework of the “Art Clicks” intercultural training and planning workshop.
• to promote a dialogue inside the Museum between people with different cultural backgrounds living in Venice
• to enhance cultural access and the creative/expressive participation of “new citizens” in the Museum, a space increasingly open to the community and the creation of new forms of relationship between different cultures
• to encourage the interaction between families coming from different cultural backgrounds
• to promote culture as an important factor for social cohesion and a new sense of belonging to the city.
More in particular, the project aims at:
• valorising the Museum collections through new perspectives, narratives and multiple interpretations
• helping new citizens feel a new resonance with local history, while at the same time promoting in the “native” audience the rediscovery and appreciation of the different cultures represented in the city
• creating a stable relationship with “storytellers”, encouraging their participation in other initiatives promoted by Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and in the future editions of the intercultural project
• developing a participatory model which can be embedded in the permanent cultural offer of the Foundation’s Education Department, and be replicable in other cultural venues
• of the training and planning process for the creation of the narrative trails: “new citizens” resident in Venice with a B1 proficiency level in the Italian language
• of the narrative trails at the Museum: cultural/social associations working with immigrants living in the province of Venice; local adult audience; language courses students and educators.
Duration of the project
Preliminary planning: April 2018 – February 2019.
Training, development and experimentation of the narrative trails: February-April 2019.
Video footage of the narrative trails and presentation of the project at the international conference “Intercultural Rehearsals”: April-May 2019.
As shortly described above in the project goals, “My Correr” aimed at promoting a participatory dialogue process in Venice (a city which has historically been a crossroad of commerce, traditions and civilisations), resulting in the development of new ways of “seeing” and interpreting cultural heritage through the engagement of “new citizens” with different cultural backgrounds, encouraging their access and active participation in the Museum’s cultural programme.
Another key aim was to create opportunities for long-lasting interaction and exchange between migrant communities and local residents, while helping them rediscover unexpected common intercultural roots (which in the past were an important factor of social cohesion and the creation of beauty).
The whole idea resulted from the participation of Cristina Gazzola, member of MUVE Education Department, in the “Art Clicks” training and planning workshop.
The project took place in the prestigious Correr Museum in Piazza San Marco, at the heart of the historic centre of Venice (already a member of the Italian network of intercultural cities, as well as a Unesco site); for this reason, the Museum was considered an ideal place to start the experimentation of the first intercultural project promoted by Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. New narrative trails were created by “new citizens” around some of the museum artworks with which they felt a special emotional connection. Objects/artworks were not only contextualised, but re-interpreted through new meanings and stories.
The project included:
• meetings with immigrant communities’ members and with “gatekeepers” for the participatory planning of the narrative trails
• explorations of the historic landmarks of the city and museum visits
• (autobiographical) storytelling workshops in the Correr Museum, and the resulting development of the narrative trails
• front-end and summative evaluation based on GLO – Generic Learning Outcomes (including: knowledge and understanding; skills; attitudes and values; enjoyment, inspiration, creativity; behaviour and progression)
• video documentation of the whole process (see “Publications / other resources”); presentation of the new narrative trails and visits for families, local residents and migrant communities.
Lessons to be learned
Drawing inspiration from previous, groundbreaking projects such as “TAM TAM – The Museum for All” (Museum of Peoples and Cultures), “Brera: another story” (Brera National Picture Gallery), “Twelve storytellers in search of an author” (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bergamo), “At the museum with…” (“Pigorini” National Ethnographic Museum) and “Factories of Stories” (Uffizi Galleries), the strength of “My Correr” lies in the use of autobiographical storytelling, a particularly effective resource to develop intercultural museum experiences, and a key element of human relationships throughout the ages.
Publications / other resources
– the videos of the narrative trails are available on the YouTube Channel of the Museum as well as in the “Video” section of this website
– the whole “Art Clicks” training and planning process is thoroughly documented in the publication Intercultural Rehearsals, edited by C. Da Milano, E. Falchetti and M. G. Guida (Editrice Bibilografica 2019).
Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia
Dorsoduro 3130 – Venice
tel. +39 041.2700370
– Cristina Gazzola, project coordinator
tel. +39 041.2700373