Young citizens across the world reclaim urban space and imagine transcultural futures through participatory mapping, co-designed art interventions and digital storytelling.
Current rates of migration to Europe have generated complex challenges related to the social inclusion of migrants and the social cohesion of the communities in which they settle. The ‘superdiversity’ of the population in many European cities calls for innovative and multidisciplinary practices that directly involve both migrants and the broader community in identifying key benefits, major issues, and effective strategies in dealing with transcultural complexity.
Together with Monash University, Aalborg University and the cultural research center ‘HER She Loves Data’, we carried out a design-driven participatory action in the Italian city of Prato, one of Europe’s most multilingual, transcultural and innovative urban environments.Some fifty students ranging in age from 16-18, and from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, worked together to re-imagine Prato from their own perspectives and through their own senses and emotions. The perspectives of students who experience encounters across different cultures and languages on a daily basis can provide a deeper and more complex representation of Prato.
The students created 75 maps, 70 images, 3 interactive artworks and a multi-screen video installation, which were exhibited both in a cultural center in Prato and on a dedicated digital platform. The students who participated in the project described their experience as transformational.