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Pre-seismic memory: an archive for the future | Civic Europe
Community development, Education and research

Pre-seismic memory: an archive for the future

Connecting past, present, and future to help rebuild the community hit by the 2016 earthquake in Central Italy.


Who is behind this?

carla ferraro

Venti di Cultura


Who is joining forces?

Municipality of Visso



Idea pitch

Our challenge is bridging the gap between the community scattered after the earthquake, and the citizens that will move back in the rebuilt village. Each testimony is of value and the living archive will collect and make available all of them to many target groups: local citizens and cultural institutions, regional and national authorities, researchers, and visitors. We aim to establish a participatory, inclusive, and evolving network, for the collective memory.

Where will your project idea take place?

Visso, Marche Region, Central Italy

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The highest risk in the earthquake damaged territories is the loss of the community identity. VdC believes in the citizens’ involvement in their vulnerable cultural heritage which, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, is proving to be more relevant than ever. Rebuilding and restoring an historical town center in which the past has been lost is a meaningless effort, but our project aims to provide a common space -Living Archive- where to collect, protect, and give significance to shared memories. Hosting and presenting the testimony of local life is essential to afford controversial opinions on the present situation and to launch promising ideas. The societal challenge is to implement a democratic dialogue on the future based on the past so as to protect the communities’ life.

Who are you doing it for?

Our focus is on the population of the damaged area, active associations and local authorities. The challenge is to promote and help to establish a sense of belonging, engaging resilience through an awareness of real and active life before the earthquake. All residential communities along the terrible natural fracture need to envisage a future. With that in mind, VdC encourages the search of testimony: local, regional, national and international authorities, and experts will be asked to offer their contribution in finding supporters, official stakeholders, and private companies interested in revitalizing commerce, handcraft, and tourism. They will facilitate the result our project is expecting to reach.

How do you plan to get there?

Our first action is to equip a space with the necessary tools for shooting, recording, and collecting testimonies. Inside the Living Archive, open twice a week, we interview the 'actors' (5/6 a day), we produce short videos. The actors are invited to bring their mementos that will be collected in the archive. Visitors can participate to the events and watch audio-visual materials on the interactive screens and go through souvenirs in the material archive. A selection of the weekly collection will be pinned up to a board at the entrance. Every 2 weeks we organize a meeting where the local community can dialogue with regional, national and international experts.
VdC's skill in protecting tangible and intangible heritage will play an important role in preserving the memory of what, otherwise may be lost forever. It is necessary to manage the earthquake areas through people-driven actions, recognizing the value and the meaning of native communities.
The reconstruction and restoration needs to be accompanied by storytelling (giving significance to local life before the destruction), by a collection of items inspiring a shared understanding of what was, and still is, important for citizens, and by the comprehension of how to empower and disseminate the cultural heritage. When the old town will be restored the Living Archive will be relocated in the historical center.

What are the expected results?

The Living Archive is also a list of shared demands, communal needs, and opportunities for improvement. Spreading good practices along the 100 km of the earthquake fracture will make the community much stronger, and more capable to obtain financial support by Italian government, and promote a quicker reconstruction.
The 500 audio/video productions we are planning to collect in a year will enhance the territory encouraging responsible tourism, and generating economic benefits for local people. Our project supports the population’s resilience and shows how a process of mutual understanding leads to a clearer identification, protecting traditions, saving the cultural heritage, and presenting new ideas for sustainable economic development in the central Appenine region.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

A real response to social needs comes from a commitment and belief in improving actions: guidance and inspiration are the fundamental efforts we must face up to support citizens’ ideas for their own future. Through the images of activities linked to landscape and the words of inhabitants, we highlight the resource of the common heritage. Learning and teaching together, sharing knowledge and comments, has a strong civic impact that promotes a helpful interest of experts, peers, mentors, and possible partners. Our project enhancing local dynamics, social inclusion and community well-being, is designed to reach a larger participation of all players who believe in the potential value of heritage conservation.

Why is this idea important to you?

VdC engaged the municipality of Visso because we have already worked with them in 'Faro per il Sisma', now in our website. We are conscious that in 10/15 years, at the end of restoration, the people going to live in the rebuilt village will be a new generation missing the significance of the town former life. Facing the temporary civic square, now under construction, the space of the Living Archive will become a meeting point for citizens, visitors, scholars, and stakeholders. Our work in progress, created to share personal stories, will positively impact on residents. Storytelling is a powerful tool for inspiring action and change, and influencing decision makers and possible funders. Visso can be again an interesting community center, open to social tourism away from the beaten tracks.

€ 66600,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Civic 35.000€
- staff (project' designer, facilitator, junior assistant, video editor, coordinator): 20.500€
- electronic equipment and furniture (hardware, software, video-camera, screen, archive board, setting): 8.900€
- communication costs (web-site, social network, brochure printing): 5.600€

Visso Municipality 31.600€
- staff: 11.200€
- room's rental/utilities: 10.200€
- accommodation costs: 10.200€

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Every comment will be very welcome, in order to strength our sense of community. We are very happy in sustaining the other communities along the same enhancement process.



venti di cultura

Idea created on April 20, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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