The Canton of Ticino is a region where emigration and immigration have influenced the composition of the resident society for centuries, often with a reciprocal exchange. Thus, if in the nineteenth century many Ticinese emigrated abroad to find a better future, at the same time this same century faced a strong immigration of Italian workers into the canton. The reasons for this migration have always been many and still are. People move in search of a promising professional future, of a safe life, because they marry someone local, because they have to escape from situations of conflict or poverty in their country of origin. Behind every move, every migration biography there is a unique and specific story.
Through the project “Telling migrations”, researchers and actors of the Dimitri Academy were interested in these stories, with specific reference to the territory: the main aim of this work was to develop a theatrical pedagogy path for schools, aimed at promoting the intercultural competences of pupils and teachers, combining sociological and historical research with the theatrical work with the pupils themselves.
The project started with a first part essentially concerned with research work, which is essential to place the elaboration of the theatrical work in an objectively defined and updated context. In this first phase a group of researchers carried out a series of research in the sociological and historical field, aimed at contextualizing the migration on our territory. In the second part of the project, these in-depth materials inspired the group of theatre pedagogues who worked during an entire school year with the students of two classes of Ascona Primary School and one of Locarno Middle School. Using different theatrical practices, the actors brought the students closer to the theme of migration and intercultural communication, both based on the ideas offered by sociological and historical research and working on the personal stories of the students (more than a third of the children’s families have a migration background). The work was carried out by elaborating aspects of the theme through creative exercises, without imposing a predefined look, and naturally resulted in more constructed theatrical moments, which were presented to the families during a big event organized in Verscio. At the end, the experience has been brought together in a publication that combines a volume of historical-artistic, sociological and media analysis essays and a manual of “best practices” for teachers, operators and all those who within a school context wish to work with the tools offered by the theatre on the theme of migration.
The implementation of this project – which took place from 1 February 2017 to 31 January 2019 – was made possible thanks to the support of the Gebert Rüf Foundation, which funds applied research projects within the BREF (Brückenschläge mit Erfolg) projects.
Project leader: Ruth Hungerbühler
ATD researchers: Veronica Provenzale, Demis Quadri
Pedagogical actors: Lianca Pandolfini, Andrea Valdinocci, Kate Weinrieb
External researchers: Victoria Franco Grütter, Marco Marcacci, Paola Solcà (DEASS-SUPSI)