SPEME in Bologna, 1 – 30 June 2023

Start date: 01/06/2023

End date: 30/06/2023

Location: Bologna


Following the programme in May 2023, SPEME – Questioning Traumatic Heritage: Spaces of Memory reached Bologna, Italy, for a new month of activities in the frame of the collaboration between academics and sites of memory in Argentina, Colombia, Italy and the Netherlands.


Museo delle Civiltà (Rome), June 6th 2023

The Museo della Civiltà (Museum of Civilizations) has recently inaugurated a new set up of their collection: Museo delle Opacità (Museum of the Opacity). This area of the museum aims at analysing and scrutinising the Italian colonial past and its repercussions in the present.

In this section of the museum, it is possible to watch Luca Guadagnino’s film L’inconscio Italiano unpacking the myth of “Italiani brava gente” (Italians, the good people). Through multiple interviews, the documentary examines the diverse layers of Italy’s colonial endeavour in Ethiopia in the 1930s spanning from its connection to social and economic class/hierarchies to the undeniable relation with gender and religion.



Mausoleo delle Fosse Ardeatine, June 6th 2023

Conceived as a reprisal against the partisans who attacked a SS Police Regiment on March 24th 1944, the Ardeatine Massacre consisted of the mass killing of 335 civilians – 10 Italians for each German killed, plus 5 – at the hands of the government in power.

The Fosse Ardeatine, Ardeatine Caves, is the place where the executions were fired and it is now a Mausoleum and a National Monument.


The images of the Shoah, June 8th 2023

Workshop with Valentina Pisanty and Arturo Mazzarella.

Discussants: Andrea Borsari and Anna Maria Lorusso.

This workshop discusses the possible reasons why the Shoah has such a vast amount of visual transmissions when compared to other large-scale traumatic events. The scholars Pisanty and Mazzarella elaborate on the reasons behind such an overexposure of images of Shoah, diving particularly into the need to remember which might clash with the impossibility of reproducing such horrors, particularly when not experienced first-hand.




Transmitting memories to (very) young generations. An experiment with 4th-grade primary school Italian children, June 12th 2023

Workshop with Patrizia Violi (SPEME Coordinator, University of Bologna), Viviana Gravano (Professor of History of Contemporary Art) and Gianluca Gabrielli (Teacher at the Federzoni Primary School)

During the meeting with the 4th grader of the primary school Federzoni of Bologna, the participants have the chance to get acquainted with the educational project between Campo di Fossoli and the school.

The project addresses how to unpack the history and memory of WWII to children and prepare them for a site visit to Campo di Fossoli by completing several steps such as comprehending the concept/feeling of being caged and in captivity as well as familiarising with the Partisan resistance to grasp the idea of political opposition and repression.



Visit to Campo di Fossoli and Museo Monumento al Deportato, June 13th, 2023  

Fondazione Fossoli is composed of three bodies: the camp, the museum and the ex synagogue which now serves as office space.

The site visit starts off with the Camp, examining its seven historical phases spanning through a war prisoners camp, a detention camp for Jews, a shelter for war orphans and later refugees from  Istria and Dalmatia.

The museum, on the other hand, is devoted to the commemoration of the victims of ethnic and political persecution led by the Nazis. The group of architects BBPR (Banfi Belgiojoso Peresutti Rogers) realised the projects in the ‘60s in which diverse forms of art and memory meet. The group is known for its opposition to the fascist regime, which led to the forced escape of Rogers, of Jewish heritage, during WWII and the death of Banfi in Mauthausen in 1945. In the aftermath of the war, BBPR committed part of its work to the remembrance of the victims of WWII.



(War) Memories in the Making. Practices of memorialisation in Ukraine, June 20th 2023

Workshop with Svitlana Shlipchenko (Center for Urban Studies, Kyiv), Alla Petrenko-Lysak (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv), Goran Janev  (Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje), Kateryna Goncharova (World Monument Fund), Francesco Mazzucchelli (University of Bologna) and Anna Maria Lorusso (University of Bologna).

Discussants: Martina Grinello (University of Bologna).

This SPEME event tackles the acts of memorialisation, and commemoration, during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The guests speakers dive into into the controversies of the Russian narrative and perception of Kyev in contrast with the Ukrainian perspective. On a more tangible level, they present the actions being taken to preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage, and memory at large. Conclusively, the participants can reflect on the key role of memories in the concept of home and feeling at home, in particular in times of war when your home is displaced.



False memory of a golpe. Real and imagined violence between Italy and Argentina, June 23rd 2023

Workshop with Francesco Mazzucchelli (University of Bologna).

In his presentation, Mazzucchelli proposes a “semiotic experiment” of counterfactual history, resulting from his participation in SPEME, focused on a comparison between the different forms of symbolic reprocessing of some collective traumas of political violence in Europe, Argentina and Colombia. Aware of the great differences between the histories of the two countries, and without pretending to propose a historiographical analysis, Mazzuccheli will try to read the images and the collective memory of the “missed coup” in Italy through the mirror of the dramatic Argentine dictatorship experience. 

The current Argentinian “politics of memory” that aims to shape a common narrative and memory representation of the years of the guerra sucia (the “dirty war” in which the Argentine military government repressed, tortured and killed thousands of dissidents) will be compared to the literary (and especially “cinematic”) imagination through which this “potential” coup d’état in Italy was conceived, especially in films and documentaries. 



Policies of memory: first results of the SPEME project, June 26th 2023

Workshop with partners about research progress within SPEME.


Corpo a corpo. Operatori e marionette a confronto tra Opera dei pupi e Bunraku, June 27th 2023

With Rosario Perricone (Museo Antonio Pasqualino Palermo) and Matteo Casari (Università di Bologna).

Puppet opera and bunraku, Japan’s best-known and most representative genre of figure theatre, are irreducibly different. They are, in fact, based on different aesthetic, technical and fruition assumptions. Beyond the formal differences and the historical and geographical distance, however, their parallel reading allows us to grasp significant analogies in terms of theatrical aims. After providing the historical-aesthetic coordinates of the two scenic languages, the meeting will mainly focus on the peculiar co-presence of organic and inorganic, of human and artificial that is determined in the relationship between operators and puppets. In this body to body, in this dance sometimes shown to the public and sometimes kept concealed, lies one of the determining factors that make these theatres such high expressions of beauty and emotion.