Events in Italy
Walkscape – Torrente Parma
Walkscapes in Parma took place between the 13th and the 17th of June 2022. The location individuated was the Parma river and the theme was its relation with the city and the intertwined identity of it between natural channel, human infrastructure and historical presence. The activity was presented and organized in the form of a 5 days Workshop with different activities:
- 13.06.2022 Walkscape: Urban exploration of the River.
- 14.06.2022 Conference: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice, a talk with Francesco Careri.
- 15.06.2022 Workshop: Glocal Tools – from radical architecture to incremental urbanism. A self-construction exercise.
- 16.06.2022 Walkscape: Natural exploration and Biowatching
- 17.06.2022 Masterclass: Landscape Photography
The workshop saw the participation mainly of University students from different faculties. The objective was to provide them with a multi-disciplinary understanding of the theme of the Walkscape, in order for them to work on outputs in three different forms: architectural projects, photography projects or artistic contributions. The organization of the workshop was supported by our associated partners “Udu – Unione degli Universitari Parma” and “Circolo Arci Post” and by the University of Parma that lent the venues for conferences and workshops.
You can check the routes taken and some of the material produced during the workshop in the interactive map:
Agenda of the week:
Tactical Urbanism and Self-construction Workshop
Curated by Francesco Caneschi, PhD of the Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto.
The workshop featured a contest for architecture students who wanted to forward ideas and projects for the river.
Here is the entry of Alessandro Biacca that won the contest, proposing the instalment of stepping stones in the bed of the Parma River.
River beds such as the one in Parma, developing around a weak line dividing water and land, are defined as “unstable landscapes” as they are characterized by water channels in continuous evolution. In this sense, the proposal aims at spurring spontaneous modalities of employment of this space with the objective of closing the gap between people and river and rebuild a relation that has been lost in recent times, through an intervention that sew the river landscape with the historical traces of the city, in this case the ancient bridges that went demolished or destroyed in time. This installation is characterised by monolithic blocks placed by the landmarks of the ancient passings that will encourage visitors to slow down, explore and assimilate the rhythm of nature and the variations of the level of the waters that make nature visible and invisible at times. Reinterpreting the relation between nature and artefact, these stepping stones, made at the human scale, will be positioned in the water in a way that contrast the elusive shapes of the river bed. Furthermore, being placed inside the water, the presence of the blocks will create interruptions in the flow of the river causing variations in the current, that will allow for the creation of habitats fit for aquatic life. In conclusion, the installation of these monolithic objects mediate and drive the experience of the natural element, the Parma river, emphasizing the natural dynamics of water without trying to imitate the shape of nature.
Joint Staff Exchange Parma
The Joint Staff Exchange took place from the 5th to the 10th of October 2022, in Parma, Italy. The exchange has been a precious opportunity for E-Mundus to enter in the world of Walkscapes through the experience of LUP – APS and the lessons learned cumulated through the implementation of the Walkscape Workshop in Parma.
Through the exchange, the two organizations could finally meet in person, share the work done so far and plan the next activities. Specifically, the members of LUP – APS took the time to train Lithuanian participants on how to implement Walkscapes, set up the necessary organization and how to reach relevant outputs. From their side, E-Mundus participants shared their individual experience with urban regeneration in their city and presented some of their projects focussed on non-formal education, to advance a conversation on how to merge the two approaches.
The exchange featured urban explorations, two mock Walkscapes, daily roundtables with presentations and discussions, and eventually some time to socialize and sightseeing the city of Parma. Participants were awarded with a certificate of attendance.
Training of trainees - Maretto Dreamin'
For the 2023 event, early meetings with the participants to the 2022 workshops have been carried out to decide the theme, the scope and the methodology to employ. This allowed the former participants to gain experience in the planning of such activities and in the involvement of a young target group in an educational programme. Together, the members of the LUP team and the former trainees decided to keep the focus of the project on the Parma river but to shift the angle of the proposed activity in terms of theme and methodology.
In this sense, the event was divided into two parallel segments:
The artistic installation and photoset
The objective of this segment was to shed some light on the present state of the area surrounding the modern Ponte Europa, the last bridge built on the Parma river that has quite a controversial story. We occupied the space under the bridge with a public photoset picturing an ideal Italian touristic lifestyle typical of the summer seaside to contrast with the current state of absolute degradation of the area. People could join the set and take pictures. An official photographic project will be published soon with extracts from the installation and messages taken from the contributions of the participants to the project.
The urban exploration activity
During the same day, the team prepared a guided urban exploration that focused on the mythological story of Maretto, a specific area of the river where young people in the 60’s and 70’s used to hang out and use as a proper beach not far from the city center. Historical accounts place Maretto in different locations depending on the source and the memory of this local legend is about to fade with the last people having had experience of it now well into retirement. The striking contrast between the stories of the olden days with people using the river for swimming, relaxing beaches and fishing and the consideration of polluted mess that young people have now of the river inspired this exploration. The tour started from the photoset location and went into uncharted territory to rediscover the Maretto legend.
Both activities represented an active effort to reclaim ownership of abandoned and forgotten spaces in our city.
Finally, the participants in the two different segments joined together to share their impressions regarding the fundamental theme of the event. This allowed for a deep common reflection concerning the many opportunities that could be seized when having a deep understanding of the role and history of the river in the city, featuring different proposals for a renewed function of this space for the city and its people that will be detailed in the policy dossier of the project.