All entries for Wednesday 13 January 2016

January 13, 2016

University of Warwick Venice Transnational Summer School

This report has been contributed by Amaryllis Gacioppo, doctoral researcher in creative writing at Monash University. Amaryllis reports:

"Warwick University's Transnational Summer School brought together academics from the UK, Italy, and North America in order to provide the 12 PhD candidates involved a unique multidisciplinary learning opportunity. The four day course featured a series of master classes, creative workshops, readings, and lectures.

The Summer School promised to provide an interdisciplinary learning experience that would open our minds up to new research methodologies and current research being undertaken in the field of transnational Italian studies. Our first day in Venice consisted of a workshop on mobility and human subjectivities. While all of the seminars were illuminating, I was particularly taken with Shaul Bassi's presentation, which posed the question of how one makes their minority culture speak. This presentation was effectively structured around a collection of quotes, which acted as markers of thought throughout the talk, and offered an alternative way of structuring a conference paper.

The Summer School officially began the following day, with a welcome by organisers Loredana Polezzi and Jennifer Burns from Warwick University. This day featured a master class by Donna Gabaccia who spoke on her findings within disaporic studies, showing how attention to politics within migrant communities can result in the proliferation of deterritorialised transnationalism and awaken the question of where home is. We students were given an opportunity to present on our own research, giving us a prime opportunity to not only learn about other's projects, but to also consider how our research relates to issues of transnationality. We were also treated to a creativity workshop in which Italian writer Paola Pastacaldi gave a reading of her fiction, which involved itself with Italy's colonial past.

Day 2 involved presentation by Viviana Gravano on curating an exhibition, which provided a transnational framework with which to analyse exhibitions and encouraged the students to consider the challenges associated with in-site data collection. This presentation emphasised the importance of asking who is positioning data and how power comes into play when analysing it. We were also enlightened as to projects happening in Italy right now that are concerned with postcolonialism and art. This, coupled with Jane Da Mosto's talk on her organisation's work with the preservation of Venice, emphasised the necessity of a contemporary understanding of modern Italy in Italian Studies research projects. This day also featured a lecture and a master class, by Charles Burdett and Anthony Tamburri respectively. Burdett looked at how structures shape notions of selfhood within representations of Islam in Italy, while Tamburri discussed the narration and consumption of Italian identities in the US. For our second creativity workshop, we were treated to an interactive performance by the Cantieri Meticci.

Day 3 involved our group activities which found us exploring the sites of the Venice Biennale through self-directed data collection. Drawing from this data, we then gave presentations on our findings. This activity provided an opportunity to gain experience in group data collection and analysis. The day also included a lecture by Derek Duncan, who discussed the discourse of migrant subjectivities within Italian cinema. We were also given the opportunity to participate in private consultations with TML project investigators. This consultations were incredibly useful, as we were given individual time to discuss our own research projects, gaining invaluable insight into our research from experts in our fields.

The Summer School resulted in an enlightening multi-disciplinary learning experience, and I came away from it with new insight into my own research and methodologies. Not only this, but it was a fascinating learning experience that allowed me to survey and reflect upon current research being undertaken in my field. The insight gained has already influenced my approach to my project, providing me with new points of departure and allowing me to evolve my own analytical methodologies."

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