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.