“Expographic Storytelling”: The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin as a Field of Dialogic Representation

By Anna Maria Pecci and Gianluigi Mangiapane.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Using the example of the pilot project “Tongue to Tongue. A Collaborative Exhibition”, this paper will discuss how the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the University of Turin has recently started to meet the needs and opportunities produced by cultural diversity. Based on a participatory process of cultural empowerment and an unprecedented collaboration between museum educators and a group of citizens coming from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Morocco, Romania and Senegal, the project aimed to transform the Museum into a multivocal space of representation where the tongue of the museum (institutional, scientific and didactic) engaged in a dialogue with the citizens’ tongue (autobiographical, evocative and emotional). The focus of the discussion will be on the role played by participatory planning and storytelling in the recontextualisation of the museum collections and their reinterpretation from an intercultural perspective. It was a multilayered process that not only allowed the new interpreters of the museum’s heritage to incorporate their individual and migratory stories in the display, but also encouraged museum educators to develop new skills. Dealing with issues of meaning making, renegotiation, interpretation, documentation and collaborative exhibition planning, the project resulted in an experimental challenge to the museum monologic authority and an innovative path of practice leading to inclusivity.

Keywords: Collaborative Exhibition, Poetics and Politics of Representation, Migration, Intercultural Mediation, Storytelling, Objects

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.141-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 959.401KB).

Anna Maria Pecci

Independent Researcher, Museum Anthropologist, Rome, Italy

Anna Maria Pecci is an independent researcher in the field of Museum Anthropology. Her interests include a reflexive approach to cultural representation in museums, New Museology, participatory planning, heritage education and mediation, social and cultural diversity. She has worked at the Musée d’Ethnographie de Neuchâtel (Switzerland), both as a trainee and researcher, and at the Missionary Ethnological Museum of Colle Don Bosco (Italy) as head of the Education Department. During her collaboration with the Centre for African Studies of Turin (Italy), she has been engaged in exhibition and cultural planning and has been the scientific coordinator of the participatory projects “Migrants and Cultural Heritages” (2005-2008) and “Tongue to Tongue. A Collaborative Exhibition” (2008-2009).

Gianluigi Mangiapane

PhD Student, Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy

Gianluigi Mangiapane, PhD student at the Laboratory of Anthropology of the Department of Animal and Human Biology at the University of Turin (Italy), is a member of the Organizational and Scientific Committee of the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of Turin. He develops researches on Physical Anthropology and Paleo-pathology and activities related to the exploitation and recovery of museum collections. He also collaborates with other museums and ecomuseums of Northern Italy. Currently he deals with the cataloguing of the African collection and the Museum’s archives and pictures.


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