“My Iran”

MAXXI – National Museum of XXI century art | Rome


MAXXI – Museum of XXI century art, Rome.
Project Team:
– Marta Morelli, museum educator (MAXXI Education Department)
– Silvia Mascheroni, external expert (heritage education in an intercultural perspective)

Funding bodies
The project was funded in the framework of the temporary exhibition Unedited History. Iran 1960-2014.
The production of video-interviews and of the project’s photographic and video documentation was funded by Fondazione MAXXI.

• to enhance the Museum’s educational offer through the design and implementation of its first intercultural mediation project devoted to a temporary exhibition
• to actively involve members of the Iranian community living in Rome in the interpretation of the exhibition, so that different perspectives (not only those of curators and experts) may be expressed and explored
• to reach new audiences, in particular Rome’s “new citizens” coming from Iran
• to foster interaction between visitors with a diverse cultural and social background.

Target groups
Adult visitors and non-visitors

Duration of the project
July 2014 – March 2015

Project description
The project was started at the behest of MAXXI’s Artistic Director, Hou Hanru, who saw the involvement of the Iranian community living in Rome as an opportunity to provide a multi-vocal perspective on the complex contents of the Unedited History. Iran 1960-2014 temporary exhibition.
Through its contacts and with the help of word of mouth, the Education Department put together a group of Iranian participants of different ages, backgrounds and professions. They were involved in an intensive storytelling workshop (from September to November 2014), focusing on a selection of artists and artworks around which personal memories and insights took shape. A particular challenge was to work at the interpretation of an exhibition which was not yet on display (participants were able to see it only a few days before its opening), which meant that the Education Department had to produce a wealth of documentation material (images from the exhibition showing at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) to support storytellers in their exploration. It is also worth noting that, unlike the Museum in Paris (where no such initiative was taken), MAXXI chose to give voice to individuals whose relationship with their country of origin is contradictory and in some cases particularly painful.
The short stories resulting from the workshop were published in a brochure devoted to the project; shorter versions were included in display alongside the more traditional art-historical captions; video interviews of participants were shown on a screen at the end of the exhibition.
This multi-vocal approach significantly enriched the exhibition with interpretations stemming from a careful analysis of artworks, but expressing universal emotions and feelings, and therefore easily accessible to everyone (whether regular museum-goers or non-visitors).

Publications / other resources
See Fondazione MAXXI’s web archive for the integral texts of narrative trails and video-interviews with Iranian participants (English version and subtitles available)
– See also the “Video” section of “Patrimonio e Intercultura”.

Contact details
MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
via Guido Reni, 4A – 00196 Rome
tel. +39.06.3225178
– Marta Morelli, Education Department

Target Groups

Adult audiences and non-visitors