Ti trovi qui: Home » International news

Unimore leads the European project ITHACA for a digital platform on the memories of migrants between history and current events

The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia takes the lead of a European Project for the creation of a digital archive collecting the experiences, the histories and the stories of migrations in the Mediterranean area. The Project is named ITHACA - Interconnecting Histories and Archives for Migrant Agency: Entangled Narratives Across Europe and the Mediterranean Region

Recently financed by the European Commission and within the Horizon2020 project, the ITHACA project (  https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101004539  ) starts in Modena and extends to twelve university institutions, third sector subjects and NGOs, which represent the countries of origin, transit, and destination of migrants in Europe, North Africa, Middle East, and Asia.

ITHACA pursues the objective of studying stories of the past and present of migrants arrived in Europe and creating an archive to return them in an accessible and informed manner to a public audience and political decision-makers called to rule the migration flows. This is why it will use archived investigations, research-action, and participating, artistic, and training activities by exploring the various forms of narrative on migrants and by migrants, considering them as agents of the social change, going through causes, transformations, and effects of migratory narrations, and highlighting stories and self-representations that are often untold or not considered.

The partnership is coordinated by Professor Matteo Al Kalak of the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Studies (DSLC) of Unimore. The project team sees the involvement of other professors of the University, including Professor Claudio Baraldi and Professor Carla Bagnoli, both belonging to the DSLC, and Professor Cristina Guardiano of the Department of Communication and Economics (DCE) of Unimore.

A central role will be carried out by the Interdepartmental Centre of research on Digital Humanities DHMoRe for the creation of a digital data bank on memories of migrants, through the IT technologies developed over the last years by the Centre with headquarters in the Ago complex. The centre on Digital Humanities will work with research groups and operators with migration experience in France (Sorbonne University), Switzerland (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), The Netherlands (University of Leiden), Greece (National University of Athens and Institute for entrepreneurial development-IED), in the Middle East (through the Institute for studies on Near East of the French Research Council), in Azerbaijan (Institute of geography of the Academy of Sciences), in Morocco (University Al Akhawayn of Ifrane), in Tunisia (with the ARCS Tunisie section - Solidarity cultures) and with other Italian partners (State University of Milan, Association for Memories of Migrants).

The ITHACA project Elena Fumagalli, DHMoRe outgoing director reminds – has benefited from the IT competences and methodological considerations developed by the DHMoRe centre, to understand how the historical documentation can be mediated and disseminated through the digital potentials. The European acknowledgement confirms the potentials of a research Centre in which the University has showed an important sensitivity.

The funds assigned to the project amount to nearly three million euros (2,995,000.00), 530,000 of which are dedicated to the coordination activity by Unimorethat will allow the university to acquire young researchers. The project has started on 1 January 2021 and will end by 31 March 2025.

In order to inform migration policies – Professor Matteo Al Kalak of Unimore explains – ITHACA adopts an approach that is not only international, but also interdisciplinary, with the firm intention to move away from the emergency logics that seem to be the distinctive feature of many decisions in this field”.

The project has three main directives. A first line of development is the historical one, which takes into account the social and economic, gender, and religious aspects of migrations, taking special care to collect and preserve the migrants’ narrations in a long-term perspective (from the Middle Ages until now). The second line of analysis deals with the differences and the contradictions that can be found in the public discussion on migrations. The third one focuses on listening to and contextualising the expectations and experience of those who nowadays choose or are forced to migrate.

The realisation of this project requires a demanding activity of engagement by the stakeholders, in order to allow for interconnecting and ensuring the dialogue between scholars, archivists, museum curators, professionals, NGOs, returnees, potential migrants and stakeholders at local, national, and international level.

The action of ITHACA project – the Rector, Professor Carlo Adolfo Porro reminds – is in line with the willingness of the University to talk in an increasingly effective way with the social, cultural, and institutional fabric in which it is placed, in this case with a broad approach addressed to the migration phenomenon in its complexity. The core of the project is the creation of a digital platform that will collect the main elements of the migrants’ narrations and represent a dynamic consultation tool for the political decision-makers, the operators involved, and the same migrants, so that a greater awareness may develop a public debate and disseminate weighted recommendations for current and future strengthening, inclusion, and participation policies.”

Categorie: International - english

Articolo pubblicato da: Ufficio Stampa Unimore - ufficiostampa@unimore.it il 12/01/2021