Culture Makes Us Free

The Project

a project by Cooperativa Accaparlante, Istituzione Bologna Musei – MAMbo, Museo Archeologico and Teatro dell’Argine/ITC Teatro di San Lazzaro
 
During 2012/2013 a significant network was established among different organizations engaged in education and culture, and an experimental training program was developed around the issue of cultural accessibility.
Four self-training modules were implemented, each run by one of the four coordinators, and addressed to the project partners and to a group of about 40 educators/cultural workers working at:
  • Istituzione Bologna Musei – International Music Museum and Library, Industrial Heritage Museum, Civic Museums of Ancient Art, Museum of Risorgimento)
  • U.S.S.M. (Office of Social Services for Minors Bologna - Department of Justice)
  • Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University
  • Association Fe.Bo. Archeologica
  • Cultural Association Senza Titolo
  • Associazione A.I.P.I.
  • Association Tecnoscienza
  • Pubblico. The Theatre of Casalecchio di Reno
Cultural accessibility is the ability to promote an approach to culture, which is free from all barriers: physical, relational or related to skills. These barriers are likely to marginalize those who, because of their individual specificities (disability, no knowledge of Italian language, any form of social vulnerability), find it difficult to approach local cultural institution, and so are excluded from many occasions of knowledge, expression, creativity. The four project coordinators designed and implemented modules of advanced training on this issue. The final outcome is an interdisciplinary course (contemporary arts languages, archaeology, theatre, dramatization, social sciences) which adoptes cultural heritage to remove physical and psychological barriers and prejudices, fosters inclusion and stimulates creativity and self-expression.
The Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University particularly appreciated the training course: professor Federica Zanetti highlighted and promoted its educational potential and highly inclusive approach. The four modules have been included in the Department programme 2013-2014 under the title Workshop of Professional Training for Social and Cultural Educators.
 
Further developments
Culture Makes Us Free. A training course aimed at teachers, educators, social workers, cultural mediators.
Project coordinators offered the training course (4 modules of 3 hours each) for free, to the first 40 teachers/educational or social workers that request it.
Period: October-December 2013.
 
Culture Makes Us Free. An educational programme for local schools
An educational programme on cultural accessibility was also specially conceived for primary and secondary schools students. The course is composed of at least two meetings: the first one takes place in a museum or theatre, the second one at school.

The network

Foreword
In contemporary society, culture is generally recognized as a useful tool to promote well-being of the person, considered both as an individual and as part of a community. Being familiar with the languages of art and culture can activate lifelong learning processes, make us feel as a part of the local community, facilitate the development of sensitivity and the understanding of our own identity and of history and reality around us.
In this perspective, cultural institutions can open up as accessible spaces, able to provide opportunities for discussion, reflection, enrichment and participation and to allow visitors to cultivate their memory and identity in relationship with present time. Cultural events and venues have an educational and training role as far as they engage in fostering an inclusive approach for a wide range of audience and acknowledging different specific needs, especially concerning difficult situations, social vulnerability and disability. This way, cultural institutions can totally rebuild general approach to diversity and allow everybody to become active spectators and citizens, real protagonists of our time.
In this direction, it is essential to develop strategies that are able to break down barriers and obstacles: first of all, lack of knowledge, that is to say the difficulty to see the other as similar to ourselves, and recognize the value of diversity, considered not as a limit anymore but as a resource, not as an obstacle but as an opportunity, not as a loss but as richness.
 
The network
Cooperativa Accaparlante firstly implemented a fruitful collaboration with Istituzione Bologna Musei (particularly MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art Bologna and Museo Archeologico) and ITC Teatro - Teatro dell'Argine. This relationships highlighted the will to accomplish a broader cross-cultural action, which meant building a significant network among different local cultural organizations. They were involved in designing the two experimental training/educational programmes on cultural accessibility: one aimed at teachers, educators and students of Education Sciences in Bologna University, the other one aimed at school students. The early group of coordinators is formed by:
  • Cooperativa Accaparlante
  • Istituzione Bologna Musei
  • ITC Teatro - Teatro dell'Argine
 
Cultural and educational organizations joining the network:
  • Istituzione Bologna Musei – International Music Museum and Library, Industrial Heritage Museum, Civic Museums of Ancient Art, Museum of Risorgimento)
  • U.S.S.M. (Office of Social Services for Minors Bologna - Department of Justice)
  • Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University
  • Association Fe.Bo. Archeologica
  • Cultural Association Senza Titolo
  • Associazione A.I.P.I. Association Tecnoscienza
  • Pubblico. The Theatre of Casalecchio di Reno

Training course

Training course
aimed at teachers, educators and cultural mediators
 
Objective
Provide the different professional workers engaged in teaching, education and social purposes with specific, cognitive and methodological, training tools, ranging from the multifaceted and complex cultural heritage offered by city museums to the theatrical vision and practice, seen not only as cultural, artistic and creative elements, but as different ways of confronting and understanding diversity, able to activate new languages for new educational projects.
 
First meeting
Project Calamaio: meet diversity Saturday
October 19th 2013 from 15 to 18
Cooperativa Accaparlante
 
The route starts from the particular approach to disability and diversity developed over the years within the Project Calamaio by Cooperativa Accaparlante.
In the direct encounter with disabled people, first emotional reactions are fear and distrust. Approaching a disabled person arouses these feelings because diversity in general (not only disability) forces us to come out of ourselves to confront the other, and this outward movement is experienced as a loss of our own identity.
Consequence of this fear is exclusion, which is experimented not only by disabled people, but by all those turning somehow away from the “normal”. Fear also generates prejudice: a preconceived judgment, grown out of fear, of something you haven’t even experienced. Becoming aware of prejudices and understanding they are rooted in us because of fear and not because of real causes, are the first steps towards overcoming them. In this sense, direct knowledge of diversity and the opportunity to experience it in a positive and playful way allow us to check and overcome our prejudices and discover in the disabled those positive features that contradict our stereotypes.
 
Second meeting
Diverse Art Saturday
October 26th 2013 from 15 to 18 MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art Bologna
via Don Minzoni 14 - Bologna
 
The meeting intends to use contemporary art as an educational tool able to expand and enrich cultural and individual perspectives. The encounter with the work of art can be a powerful tool to detach us from individual contingency. At the same time, learning and sharing contemporary culture allow us to reconcile with present time.
We can therefore consider artistic expression as an unconventional language we can use to break down barriers, both physical and psychological, both cultural and social. Contemporary art generates a divergent point of view on the world and interacts with our daily lives, allowing us to reflect on who we are and how we perceive our own identity and that of people around us. In fact, contemporary art trains our eyes, and especially our ability to understand the “other”, because it is an almost unknown language, and a “different” one, and because it takes the viewer to question him/herself and find new ways of reading, reprocessing and finally communicating.
 
Third meeting
I am another one, the other one is me
Saturday November 9th 2013 from 15 to 18
Teatro dell'Argine/ITC Studio
Via Vittoria, 1 - San Lazzaro di Savena (Bologna)
 
The special nature of theatre and the performing arts in general and their value as tools for social cohesion and non-formal education are now universally recognized: theatrical exercises and practices can be perfect means to facilitate natural, sometimes passionate, expression of people involved, thus promoting a broader concept of cultural accessibility, including the idea of the active participation of individuals.
Besides, theatrical games, exercises and activities generate a context of collective artistic creation, in which each one exposes him/herself by sharing ideas, memories, emotions, empathy and mutual trust.
Collective work aimed at a common objective stimulates dialogue, between different cultures or generations, as well as between people having different ideas, thus breaking down several barriers: participants are individuals and, as such, bearers of specificities related to their different skills, backgrounds, cultures; but, in the theatre work, they are a group, working together, they are peers, sharing the same place, working for a common goal by giving their personal contribution.
 
Fourth meeting
Thank the gods, I was not born a Barbarian...
Saturday November 16th 2013 from 15 to 18
Museo Civico Archeologico
via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - Bologna
 
Iconographies and symbolic languages of ancient times often offer us a description of the individual within the community, according to a precise encoding of status, rank, role. Sometimes the definition of “self” is given by emphasizing its opposition to or diversity from the “other”.
In literary and archaeological sources, you can find traces of processes of inclusion or exclusion. Practices, ideas, prejudices of ancient societies can be an apparently neutral and somehow detached starting point to reflect on our contemporary categories of diversity.

Programme for schools

Programme for schools
An educational programme for local schools
 
Objectives
  • to experience diversity through face to face meeting with people with disabilities and to evaluate consequences produced by this;
  • to overcome the initial emotional impact through willingness to relate;
  • to bring out prejudices on disability and identify their origin;
  • to make a critical reflection on equality and diversity;
  • to develop a positive attitude towards diversity;
  • to learn how to deal creatively with difficult situations by activating personal skills and potentialities;
  • to redefine our attitude towards diversity and disadvantage, by expanding our own vision of diversity;
  • to use knowledges, techniques, teaching methods specific to the different fields of the cultural institutions involved, to activate processes of dialogue and exchange between different cultures and sensitivities and encourage discussion and dialogue among children and teenagers, in order to help them deepen the knowledge of the other and of diversities (in culture, religion, tradition, personal history...) and learn how to respect them;
  • to strengthen the role of cultural institutions as promoters of social inclusion, contributing to social dialogue and diversity as tools for cohesion, cooperation and inclusion, promoting exchanges and cultural creativity.
 
Programme structure
The programme includes at least two meetings:
  • the first one can be chosen among proposals made by: MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art Bologna, Museo Civico Archeologico, Teatro dell'Argine/ITC Teatro (to be developed at museum or theatre)
  • the second one is led by Cooperativa Accaparlante - Project Calamaio (to be developed at school).
Beneficiaries
The programme is open to all classes of Primary, Secondary and High Schools. Methodologies and activities will be adapted according to the age group.
 
Information and reservation
Cooperativa Accaparlante - Patrizia Passini
Tel: 349 2481002 - 051 6415005
 
Module at MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art Bologna
Unconventional De-signs
The course aims to investigate sign in its transformations within the contemporary artistic languages, and experience its communicative, expressive and aesthetic value through a series of workshops involving body, gesture and space. The vision of the Informal paintings in MAMbo’s Permanent Collection is the starting point to explore innovative ways to express through sign, colour and material.
What can a sign tell us, when it does no longer describe real objects? It will finally be able to talk about itself, its life, its movements, its thickness, its rhythms, it will be free to drip or walk, confident and clean, in the painting space. All we want to express is in the gesture and in the sign emerging from it. The sign preserves in itself, in an enduring form, the dynamic nature of an action, it is its visual trace, and a part of our personal expressive alphabet. The sign is the visible ring of a chain process composed of several elements and situations: reality around us, muscular and emotional tension, body position, choice and use of the instrument, type of the support and, finally, intention of what we want to express.
So, working on the sign allows us to give voice to our inner emotions by stimulating the ability to tell, and to tell in a "different" way, going beyond verbal communication. Our drawings and de-signs respond us in an ongoing dialogue about ourselves, our experience and the changes we are facing.
 
Methodology
Adopted methodology refers to phenomenological orientation, as the work of art is at the centre of reflections, interpretations, readings that make up the meaning of the work itself, in a continually growing and changing process. The contemporary work of art becomes a text-pretext for conceiving and implementing workshop activities. Workshop is considered as the place of choice, experimentation, exchange, cultural and emotional growth, a space of freedom.
 
Modality
One two-hours meeting divided into 2 parts, one in the museum exhibition rooms and one in the museum studio.
 
Part one
  • vision and analysis of some works in MAMbo’s Permanent Collection, with particular focus on Informal paintings;
  • workshop activities inspired by the analyzed works and dedicated to the expressive and communicative value of sign: narrative doodle and emotional writing;
  • presentation of realized works to the other participants.
 
Part two
  • collective workshop: children and teens are involved in a performance, inspired by the series Drawing Restraints by Matthew Barney, and meant to represent, through signs, gestures and movements, limits or new possibilities in the relationship with “the other”;
  • time for discussion and reflection about the experience, to analyze difficulties encountered and discoveries made.
 
Module at ITC Studio - Compagnia Teatro dell'Argine
I am another one, the other one is me
Theatre playing is a game. At the very beginning of the module, techniques of improvisation and dramatization typical of that game are used as analysis tools of behaviours in everyday situations, with the intent of supporting and enhancing children’s and teens’ attitude to create, stimulate and incite themselves and the working group. In this sense, theatre turns out to be a powerful tool to work even in difficult or complex situations inside schools, but also in centres for youth or welcoming centres for migrants or in other similar contexts.
The concept of diversity immediately assumes in theatre the positive meaning of resource: different cultures and religions, origins and experiences do not only generate conflicts, but are values, because they bring with themselves new inspirations as fuel for the proposed creative exercises.
 
Methodology
The work consists of exercises intended to enhance the participants’ ability to listen to themselves and to others, and, consequently, foster team working. It is like an invitation to discover and awaken their expressiveness by taking a challenge with themselves and rediscovering their ability to play. Exercises of body expression, choreographic composition and improvisation become tools for children and teens to create and express their ideas.
Theatre will thus become an extra opportunity to communicate, express, understand and learn about others and themselves, to make their relationship with the world grow up and mature. Levels of complexity of the proposed methodologies and exercises vary according to the participants’ age group.
 
Modality
One two-hours meeting divided into 2 parts.
 
Part one
  • greetings; some games/exercises to introduce themselves and get to know the other group members;
  • exercises on balance, directions, exploration of the space, rhythms, gaits, body control and observation of themselves and of others;
  • elements of creative movement, body expression and improvisation, invention and development of one character, starting from information collected in the introductions.
 
Part two
  • exercises on improvisation, relationship between characters, story-building.
 
Module at Museo Civico Archeologico
Thank the gods, I was not born a Barbarian: a way towards discovering the other, starting from iconography of Attic pottery
The course focuses on the discovery of “the other”, “the diverse”, starting from the Greek ceramics in the Museum collections, which are rich of subjects and scenes emphasizing the issues of diversity and otherness. Iconography of the vases in fact reflects the categories of who mainly used them: the Athenian citizen, male, adult, free, who used them in the very special occasion of the symposium, the time for socializing dedicated to wine, Dionysus’s gift.
On vases we can see all the different figures the protagonist compared himself with, through the categories of opposition or diversity: the woman, the slave, the young, the Barbarian... Starting from antiquity, the path moves then towards nowadays, and takes us, through a moment dedicated to entertainment-debate, to reflect on our own categories of diversity.
 
Methodology
The course is structured into different moments of knowledge and reflection, enriched by games and exercises, and connected to a guided tour, providing contextualization of the finds, direct observation, discovery and comment of iconographies related to the issues involved. An archaeologist guides the tour, by using also teaching cards.
 
Modality
One two-hours meeting divided into 2 parts.
 
Part one
  • greetings; some games/exercises to introduce themselves and get to know the other group members; introduction, contextualization and analysis of finds and iconographies.
 
Part two
  • from history to us: a reflection through active techniques, discussion and comparison.
 
Module at school
Project Calamaio: meeting diversity at school
The route starts from the vey special approach to disability, and diversity in general, developed over the years by CDH/Project Calamaio: in the direct encounter with disabled people, first emotional reactions are fear and distrust. Approaching a disabled person arouses these feelings because diversity in general (not only disability) forces us to come out of ourselves to confront the other, and this outward movement is experienced as a loss of our own identity. And in fact, accepting others means giving up a part of ourselves, calling into question our patterns and beliefs; but this comparison is not a loss for the individual, it is an enrichment.
Consequence of this fear is exclusion, which is experimented not only by disabled people, but by all those turning somehow away from the “normal”: we’re inclined to escape from what we fear, from what looks different from ourselves, when we still don’t know it. Fear also generates prejudice: a preconceived judgment, grown out of fear, of something you haven’t even experienced. Becoming aware of prejudices and understanding they are rooted in us because of fear and not because of real causes, are the first steps towards overcoming them. In this sense, direct knowledge of diversity and the opportunity to experience it in a positive and playful way allow us to check and overcome our prejudices and discover in the disabled person those positive features that contradict our stereotypes.
Knowledge brings to awareness and awareness helps to overcome fear and prejudice. The proposed module aims at encouraging the development of a critical identity through dialogue and direct encounter with the other, by using such tools as creativity, body and emotions. The project works to reduce the idea of handicap as a disadvantage, and to enhance the concept of difficulty as a resource.
Disabled and non-disabled trainers and educators make up the workshop-leading team.
 
Tools and methodology
The meeting varies depending on the participants’ age group. It focuses on some crucial issues: knowledge, identity, diversity, prejudice, fear, difficulty, help. The adopted methodology provides an active and collaborative approach: children and teens are involved in first person as active subjects of the module.
Most used tools are the following:
  • dramatizations;
  • active techniques;
  • cooperative games;
  • role plays;
  • associations of ideas games;
  • discussion and debate.
 
Modality
One two-hours meeting divided into 3 parts:
  • meeting the other;
  • games for introducing ourselves and getting to know the other;
  • association of ideas and role play Become an Us;
  • conclusions and final reflections.

Teatro dell'Argine Società Cooperativa Sociale | Sede legale via dei Gelsi, 17 | 40068 San Lazzaro di Savena - BOLOGNA | P.I. 02522171202