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A medium size city using the arts for inclusion

The case of Bergamo and its Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art becoming a vehicle for social inclusion in peripheral areas of the city
A case study, which was included in the 2009 research you’re mentioning, is the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo. It started this museum mediators programme in 2007. So it’s still running, 10 years on. You can see that this is an example of institutional progression and change. I would have to add that periphery is in the framework of the study you’re mentioning, but not only physical peripheries, but they were also meant to be metaphorical evidence of marginalisation. So basically speaking about marginalised audiences. So what happened, GAMeC started to acknowledge that Bergamo’s new citizens were not at all represented in its audience. And they carried out a couple of pilot projects.
Then in 2007, they launched this training course for museum mediators with an immigrant background. The rationale of this training course was from the start not social. I mean, let’s go out and do some social inclusion work. It was cultural. That means that it was not only a matter of developing new audiences, bringing excluded audiences, but also a clear commitment on the part of the museum to explore new interpretation strategies. And in fact, museum mediators were trained– and are still today trained. There’s a permanent group of more than 13 mediators from an art historical point of view, but also they have always been encouraged to explore ways in which other dimensions of interpretation may be tapped in.
And they shifted gradually over these 10 years. They shifted gradually from being bridges towards their respective communities, bridges to bring them to the museum through, for instance, guided tours in their mother language, to being engaged in very complex projects addressed at diverse audiences. So I think this is a case study which is very significant in terms of institutional progression and change as I said.

Simona Bodo, from ISMU Foundation, explains the case of Bergamo and its Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Based on a study she conducted, she argues that contemporary art is becoming a vehicle for social inclusion in peripheral areas of the city.

How do the experiences of London and Bergamo compare in terms of using the arts for socio-cultural inclusion?

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Cultural Diversity and the City

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