Culture, Heritage and Diversity

 

Migrant/Minority civic engagement and participation in Reggio Emilia

 

In the perspective of fighting the spatial segregation, which confines ethnic minorities in certain parts of the city (as for instance the areas close to the station), the Intercultural Centre Mondinsieme organises cultural events throughout the year, with the direct involvement of cultural minorities. It is case of all events organised in public spaces, such as museums, libraries and universities, which produce, as main result, a real and effective spatial mediation: cultural minorities enter into these public spaces, which they have never attended before, not only as users but also as cultural expressions, giving them a new shared sense.

 

Letters from Africa – held on the 17th December 2011 at the University of Reggio Emilia


In a period of great change for the African continent, grappling with problems, hopes, old and new challenges, in Reggio Emilia, the high school students meet and question the resident African communities on issues concerning their origin countries and their lives in Reggio Emilia.

 

The title of the conference was "Letters from Africa" and was agreed with the African communities. It represents a very significative event as it was the first time in Reggio Emilia that ethnic minorities were considered as direct testimonies and experts on issues related to their native countries (in the place of academics, always at the centre of all debates). This event allowed to the African ethnic minorities to be seen by the local citizens as people who have something to say about a specific issue, and not as "handicaps" always in need of social and economic assistance.

 

Inclusion of cultural minorities’ diversity in museum programs and in the democratization of public spaces – First meeting with the African Women, held on the 22nd May 2011 at the Civic Museum of Reggio Emilia


Those cultural events in the museums are often organized in more appointments, each of them focusing on a specific community (the first community who inaugurated such initiative is the community of African Women from Burkina Faso).

 

The Intercultural Centre Mondinsieme asks each involved community to bring and exhibit in the museum their traditional items and costumes, explain their use and meanings to all visitors in the course of a public meeting. In this way ethnic minorities may well find a part of their culture even in their host city.

 

As main reached result, the museum is transformed from a static exhibition place to a dynamic relational and sharing place.

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