Through this project, we witnessed the unexpected response of a generation intent on voicing a desire, rather than creating a product.
Giovanna Brambilla, Head of Education Department
Entrusting a group of second generation immigrants, born and educated in Italy, with the creation of a guide to GAMeC Permanent Collection – which ultimately meant inviting “new voices” to join in the interpretation of the artworks – was a meaningful challenge for the museum.
Seventeen girls aged 15-23 embarked on a journey to discover every single painting and sculpture on display under the careful guidance of museum educator Rita Ceresoli: biographies of artists, hidden meanings and stories behind artworks, issues pertaining to style and content were explored in small groups, so as to avoid the “lecture” format, and facilitate an informal, open conversation.
This engaging opportunity to familiarise with the collections prepared the ground for Maria Grazia Panigada to expand the young participants’ skills of observation and description – much as she already did in order to develop GAMeC Museum Mediators’ storytelling skills in the “Twelve storytellers in search of an author” project.
In the process, every girl found her own style for the written texts to be published in the catalogue: e.g. the artist engaging in an imaginary conversation with the visitor, or the young storyteller guiding the beholder in the exploration of the painting or sculpture; the description focusing on specific aspects of the artwork, or unfolding in a number of open questions inviting the visitor’s personal reflection…
The project resulted in the production of a printed catalogue to be distributed in local schools, and made available for free to high school students visiting the permanent collections on an individual basis.
This guide to the Permanent Collection is a strategic tool to reach a traditionally under-represented audience in art museums, i.e. young people in general, and more in particular “new citizens”, whether they be first or second-generation migrant youths.
The integral texts of the catalogue are published in My Place – My Texts, GAMeC Books, 2016.