Study in Venice
Posted On 13/02/2023
Next summer, the University's educational programme will expand to include a new interdisciplinary proposal that will provide the tools for observing, walking around and getting to know Venice through its innate bond with water. To find out more, we interviewed Prof. Stefano Riccioni, Professor of Medieval Art History at Ca' Foscari’s Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage and Scientific Director of the Arts in Venice Summer School – The Shape of Water.
Why is Venice at the centre of this new educational project?
Essentially for two mutually interconnected reasons. First and foremost, Venice offers an exemplary “vision” of the paradoxes and difficulties involved in the search for cultural, ecological and social models. The complexity of the lagoon ecosystem – which is threatened by climate change – the socio-economic problems linked to tourist flows and their impact on urban liveability, and, above all, the “liquid” dimension of the settlement – which is founded on water and influenced by it, while at the same time being a crossroads of international cultures – make Venice a microcosm that is inherently interconnected with phenomena that are global in scope. The second reason has to do with the city’s institutions of education and culture. As a matter of fact, Venice is home to the Academy of Fine Arts, the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, IUAV University and, of course, Ca' Foscari University, all of which have a strong vocational bond with the city, as developed according to their respective specificities. We got together with the educators of these institutions to develop an interdisciplinary educational proposal that would enable us to bring together our different 'know-hows' in an educational experience oriented towards Venice.
What are the innovative features of this interdisciplinary course?
It is an experimental educational project that aims at welcoming students from all over the world and with different backgrounds through dialogue among different subjects, enabling them to experience the city of Venice as an urban and environmental space, but also as a complex stratification of historical and artistic testimonies, in order to build an original narrative vision of the lagoon city that can be a source of inspiration for their education..
Who will guide the students?
The students will be guided along this path by lecturers from the four institutions of higher education that I have mentioned. The programme will also benefit from the attentive guidance of Giorgio Andreotta Calò, an internationally minded Venetian artist who knows the secrets of the city. He will have the delicate task of bringing together the different academic “know-hows” and transforming them into new knowledge and skills.
What kind of activities will be offered?
The project will take place over two weeks and will be highly experiential, because it is based on on-site learning. In addition, the experts we have involved ensure an almost complete overview of the art world, combining direct experience of the city with educational visits and face-to-face university lectures on topics related to archaeology, architecture, urban planning, history of visual arts and music, performing arts and environmental sciences. A workshop is also planned to be held under the guidance of Andreotta Calò, during which the participants will be involved in visual, tactile and sound practices and exercises aimed at shaping their own vision of the city, and a workshop aimed at the production of a design project that conveys their personal experience with the city and its ecosystem. This combination of different humanistic “subjects” is, in itself, an original proposal and feels like a challenge, because it aims at arousing curiosity and offering participants new opportunities for knowledge.
Any final remarks?
As a candidate for World Capital of Sustainability, Venice boasts an extremely rich cultural legacy, which it has built up over thousands of years of history, and a widely recognised international role as a centre for the promotion and dissemination of the visual, musical, architectural and performing arts. Enabling young people of all backgrounds to experience, get to know, understand, learn to respect and disseminate this microcosm, beyond stereotypes and trivialisations, is the challenge we wanted to place at the heart of this project.