We are really glad to announce that #Ventotene, our social reading project on the Ventotene Manifesto, won the 2019 Altiero Spinelli Prize for Outreach.
Two rounds of social reading on the Betwyll app with students from all over Italy, four workshops and an anti-prejudice kit, two events for the Europe Day, a public event with European MP Daniele Viotti and a final meeting on the Ventotene island: #Ventotene was all this and much more. An occasion to reflect on the great challenges Europe faces, in a journey started with a project on the refugee crisis in 2016 (#LaTregua, based on Primo Levi’s Truce) and further developed with #EutopiaDystopia in 2019.
#Ventotene – exploring the concepts of European community, citizenship and identity through social reading and participatory workshops – won the 2019 Altiero Spinelli Prize for Outreach, a 25.000 euro award that the European Commission assigns to initiatives that promote the understanding of the European Union as an integration project and its values. The 16 winning projects of the 2019 edition – assessed by a jury of external experts – will be awarded during an online ceremony in early 2021.
The Spinelli Prize motivations
The project stood out for the scope and relevance of the issues discussed: “covers several fields of EU action and policies, the activity has the potential to develop a critical awareness of what the EU stands for and expose populistic myths.” Another strength was its innovative approach, which allowed to reach and engage youth, proposing an activity that is “easily accessible, clear, and user-friendly (…) appealing and appropriate for non-specialist young citizens” and that “fosters young student’s motivation and emotional attachment to participate in the democratic process”. Besides, combining the online work with a series of offline activities, the project “establishes a deep debate and contributes to exposing disinformation on the functioning and importance of the European Union institutions”. Finally, the final event on the Ventotene Island offered “the opportunity of a first-hand interaction on the values, policies and achievements of the EU, as well as with its flaws”. A further plus was its “high potential for replication”, at the local and international level, as well as outside schools.
The #Ventotene project
#Ventotene. Comunità, cittadinanza e identità europea was launched in March 2018 as an initiative to foster active citizenship around the concept of united Europe and its founding values and principles. Combining social reading with local community engagement and citizens’ active participation, we aimed at stirring debate around stereotypes and European identity, inspired by the social reading of the Ventotene Manifesto by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi.
The grant through which the project was kicked-off focused on cultural participation as a leverage for civic innovation, with Polo del ‘900 in Turin – the largest Italian cultural center dealing with the 20th century – as its key hub.
With a call to action targeted at junior and senior high-schools all over Italy, we engaged over 3.000 students from 92 schools who read and commented on the Ventotene Manifesto on the social reading app Betwyll, publishing over 3.000 tweet-style messages. At the same time, we run a series of participatory workshops targeted both at students and adults in Turin and Genoa to explore the dynamics of prejudice and stereotype creation. This led to the design of an anti-prejudice kit for dissemination in museums, libraries and cultural organizations.
The results of the social conversation on the Ventotene Manifesto were shared in a series of events in May 2018, in celebration of the Europe Day, and in a public event in July 2018 with the participation of MEP Daniele Viotti. The project symbolically closed with a final event on the Ventotene island in September 2018, during the Federalist week, when youth from all over Italy gather for the yearly seminar organised by the Altiero Spinelli Institute.
#Ventotene. Comunità, cittadinanza e identità europea is a project by Associazione Culturale Twitteratura, ABCittà and Cooperativa Liberitutti, funded by Compagnia di San Paolo and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo.