Conference

If the Eye Leaps over the Wall

Researching new paradigms for education


Reggio Emilia 20 - 21 February 2020

This conference, for the centenary of Loris Malaguzzi’s birth, takes its starting point in the experience of Reggio Emilia’s infant-toddler centres and preschools, and proposes we seek to understand all the issues central today in debate, discussion and reflection; debate and discussion that transcend the situation of childhood and instead affect human beings, relationships, women, formative experience, inter-personal relations, culture, and gender culture. (Loris Malaguzzi, inauguration of the exhibition If the Eye Leaps over the Wall, 1981)

If the Eye Leaps over the Wall is the conference title, just as it was the title of the first exhibition of educational experience in Reggio Emilia, first shown in the city in 1981.

In his commentary to this exhibition Loris Malaguzzi wrote, “our hope is that the eye, taken figuratively both as a symbolic eye, summoned here to see and understand the new cultural roles which seeing and images have in contemporary society and as a conceptual figure which embraces all the problems of the growth and development of both child and adult, will have the strength and the will to leap over the wall. The wall, that is, of incongruence, of banality, of old rules, the rigid packaged concepts and the elusive, atomised, and rhetorical actions which still cluster around the image of human beings and the project of educating children.” 

 

Italian and International speakers will be participating to contribute to the reflection on various areas of knowledge.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

During the week there will also be opportunities for a deeper understanding of some experiences generated in Reggio Emilia, such as the Remida-Creative Recycling Centre, which will be open to conference participants on Thursday 20 February.

 

The Conference offers an opportunity for continuing to shape the future of Reggio Emilia’s experience of infant-toddler centres and preschools by using the thinking of Loris Malaguzzi and those who worked with him as a starting point – for all those who want to create new and different schools.

 

The Plenary session and two of the five seminars (1.The right to rights, and 3.The right to research) will be in Italian and English with simultaneous translation.

 

#Convegno
italia
Reggio Emilia
If the Eye Leaps over the Wall
Researching new paradigms for education

Organised by the Municipality of Reggio Emilia; Preshools and Infant-toddler-centres - Istituzione of Municipality of Reggio Emilia; Reggio Children; Fondazione Reggio Children-Centro Loris Malaguzzi

WHERE

Thursday 20 February, 2pm-7pm
Plenary session:

  • Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre

Friday 21 February, 9am-4.30pm
Five themed seminars in the following venues:

  • Sala Specchi – R. Valli Municipal Theatre
  • Pietro Mandori Aula Magna, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
  • CREDEM Auditorium
  • Annamaria and Marco Gerra Auditorium, Loris Malaguzzi International Centre

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.


Information

For information, send an email to:
100malaguzzi@reggiochildren.it

 

For information on Reggio Emilia and accommodation, see:
https://turismo.comune.re.it/en?set_language=en


PARTICIPATION FEES

The cost of registration is Euro 250.00 (including VAT) per person and includes:

  • conference materials
  • participation in Thursday’s Plenary session
  • participation in one of Friday’s five themed seminars
  • transport to infant-toddler centres and preschools, with aperitivo drinks 
  • coffee break and buffet lunch during the Friday seminars
  • Italian to English translations as indicated on the programme

 

Registrations open 07.01.2020



Events


20 February 2020
Plenary session

Italian and English / 2pm-7pm

Place: Valli Municipal Theatre

 

Conducted by Loredana Lipperini, journalist, writer and radio host.

 

Greetings from the Institutions 

Luca Vecchi, Mayor of the city of Reggio Emilia

Raffaella Curioni, City Officer for education and knowledge

 

Speakers 

Telmo Pievani

Biologist and expert on the theory of evolution Telmo Pievani has authored several books and papers on the philosophy of science, many of which have been translated into other languages. He currently holds Italy’s first Chair in Philosophy of Biological Sciences in the Biology Department of Padua University, Italy.

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Poet, novelist and journalist Tahar Ben Jelloun was awarded the Global Tolerance Award by United Nations secretary Kofi Annan for his work “Racism Explained to My Daughter” and its profound message.

Video Conference - Howard Gardner

Research Full Professor of Cognitive and Pedagogical Sciences (chair named after John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Project Zero.

Vera Gheno

Sociolinguist Vera Gheno specialises in digital communication and is a translator of work in Hungarian. For twenty years she has collaborated with the Accademia della Crusca as a language consultant and manager of the Accademia’s Twitter account. She collaborates with Zanichelli publishers and teaches at Florence University.

Michele De Lucchi

Architect Michele di Lucchi is Professor at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan and a member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome.

 

Concluding Remarks

Luca Vecchi, Mayor of Reggio Emilia, in dialogue with Loredana Lipperini

 

Speaker sessions will alternate with audio and video material not previously made public of Loris Malaguzzi, and of Reggio Emilia's infant-toddler centres and preschools.

 

The Plenary session will be in Italian and English with simultaneous translation.

21 February 2020
1.The right to rights
An ecological vision of human beings

Italian and English / 9am-4.30pm

Place: Annamaria and Marco Gerra Auditorium, Loris Malaguzzi International Centre

The seminar will be co-ordinated by a working group from the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers - Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia , Reggio Children and Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi. 

Documentation will be presented from infant-toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

 

Speakers:

Stefano Moriggi
Science Philosopher, Researcher at Milano-Bicocca University, “R. Massa” Department of Human Sciences for Education

Lester Irabinna Rigney
Professor of Education at the University of South Australia, member of the Scientific Committee of the Reggio Children – Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation

Margherita Graglia
Psychotherapist, sexologist and educator, Co-ordinator of Reggio Emilia’s municipal Inter-institution table for contrasting LGBTQI+ negativity

Maria Donata Panforti
Jurist, Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Education and Human Sciences

Giorgio Vallortigara
Nueroscientist, Professor of Neurosciences at the University of Trento, Centre for Mind-Brain Sciences 

 

The keystone all this thinking starts from is the end of unassailable models… in the same way as the image of a human being who is no longer separated, no longer opposed, no longer divided, but fused with the dimensions, and meanings of nature.

Loris Malaguzzi 1988

 

The right to have rights definines the dignity of human beings, the dimension of equality and of democracy. Freedom and rights have accompanied the birth of modern ideas of citizenship, founded on the recognition of possibility, given to each person (to every person without distinction, of gender, sexual orientation, nationality, language, religion, political opinion, personal conditions or social conditions) to be an active part of humanity and its history.

The infant toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia are founded on rights: first among these is the right to citizenship, which means the right to knowledge, to participation, to “words”, all rights that define the quality of an educational context. There is a new idea of child (and of childhood) as bearing rights, before needs. Moreover the infant-toddler centres and preschools are founded on the inter-dependence and indivisibility of these rights: in children, in parents and in teachers

Researching the identity and the essence of human beings, and the relationship humans/nature has always been at the centre of philosophical thinking and biological, social and psychology sciences. Their theories have offered different, and very often completely antithetical visions.

Today more than ever we need to open up new perspectives, giving value to words and semantics, through the co-construction of theories and meanings. Manichean distinctions no longer underly the idea of who a human being is; nuances, bordercrossings, pluralist identities, asking for recognition and enriching ideas of humanity are increasingly emerging in the public arena. In order to research an ecological vision of human beings, an ever-changing, multiple identity which is the source and the subject of rights, it is necessary to create dialogue and interaction between different perspectives and points of view.

The paradigm of complexity, the centrality of questions, and a constant critical thinking on more or less sustainable relations with the whole world, are the perspective we start with in looking for multiple gazes (environmental, social, cultural, anthropological, economical, political) with which to view human beings and their relations with other living beings. An ecological approach to a view of the world and living things, which researches and explores connections with things and between things, the meaning of the cultural contexts we belong to, in a circular dynamic between the parts, and a dimension of co-evolution, with declinations of belonging and difference.

 

Starting from these premises, the seminar would like to explore certain themes more deeply:

Which fields are being explored by philosophyin the search for contemporary definitions of human beings, and what dialogues are there with other fields of knowledge? How is philosophical elaboration and the fields it investigates changing? 

What contribution do the neurosciences offer a culture of inter-dependency and co-joining between living beings?

How can the relationship between philosophy and the neurosciences suggest ways of getting beyond anthropocentrism, and positioning human beings in more planetary interconnections?

Rights are being attacked today, seemingly a luxury we cannot afford in times of economic crisis. What norms for rights, including children’s rights, are present today in European and Italian legislation? What points require a more public debate?

Are rights always inclusive? What is the welcome for new subjectivities asking to be recognised today, and what conditions are necessary for truly inclusive rights?

Geographical and cultural communitiesa are asking for public recognition and for separate spaces in order to maintaint their identitity and traditions. Multi-ethnic societies are dealing with the theme of difference and belonging. What responses today might be capable of avoiding the potential counterpositions and separations?

If difference is a value, inequality is an injustice offending the dignity of human beings. Globalisation and the hegemony of markets, and loss of mediation in politics, are increasing new forms of poverty. Differences in accessing opportunitites create social impoverishment and individual suffering. How can we elaborate more complex visions capable of suggesting new forms of equilibrium between economy and politics, that also go in the direction of social and environmental sustainability together?

 

________________________________________________________________ 

The Seminar will be in Italian and English with simultaneous translation.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.

2.The right to subjectivity
The hundred languages give value to the plurality of knowledge processes

Italian / 9am-4.30pm

Place: Sala Specchi, Romolo Valli Municipal Theatre

The seminar will be co-ordinated by a working group from the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers - Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia , Reggio Children and Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi. 

Documentation will be presented from infant-toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

 

Speakers:

Cristina Cacciari
Psycholinguist, former Professor of Psychology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neurosciences 

Donata Fabbri
Psychologist and Epistemologist, Director of the International Centre of Cultural Psychology in Genevara

Roberto Montanari
Interaction Designer, Co-founder of Re: Lab company specialists in Interaction Development; Professor of Interaction Design at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples

Giulio Ceppi
Architect, Founder and Creative Director of TotalTool Milan, Professor at Milan Polytechnic’s School of Design

Saul Daniele Ardillo
Dancer and choreographer, Fondazione Nazionale della Danza/Aterballetto, Reggio Emilia

Marco Ruini
Neurosurgery and Neurology Specialist, ANEMOS Association – Free University of Neurosciences, Reggio Emilia

Roberto Maragliano 
Former Professor of Didactics and Technology

 

 

(…) the human species has the privilege of manifest itself through a plurality of languages (as well as the spoken language) (…) all expressive, cognitive, and communicative languages form each other reciprocally, are born and develop through experience (…) all languages, which  co-exist already in children’s minds and activities, have the power to become generative forces of other languages, other actions, other logics, and other creative potentials (…). and need to live with equal dignity and value, in a full solidarity with adequate cultural competency in adults and the environment (…) we ask (…) what support or confirmation can the current culture of childhood give to these propositions (…)?

Loris Malaguzzi, 1983

 

The nature of knowledge and how the mind functions are of great interest to current debate, with the contribution of discoveries in the neurosciences confirming a complex and integrated vision of human beings and of learning, things Loris Malaguzzi had already intuited and expressed in his theory of the 100 languages which “recognise the liberty and legitimacy of each subject [individual] to learn with their differences through multiple entry points to the world and to knowledge”.

 

More than ever before infant-toddler centres, preschools, and educational settings are working with the challenge of creating contexts of experience and discovery with multimodal characteristics, where the knowledge and learning processes of children and adults are an expression of subjective difference.

 

The intent of the seminar is to examine certain themes through contributions from different fields of learning:

- how to guarantee the right of subjectivity for children and adults, in infant-toddler centres and preschools promoting a daily presence of multiple languages, which while we engage with and practice them are made more precise and defined, allowing us at the same time, through experience, to know ourselves in interactions with others.

- how the hundred languages can be heard and find possible ways of growing, with the aim of defining and multiplying the possibilities human beings have for knowing, and our competencies for thinking and doing.

- to what extent the creative dimension, which is a manifestation of mental flexibility, of resistance to passivity, the capacity for relations, and possession multiple languages, can be an antidote to culture that works to separate thoughts and actions, concreteness and imagination, reason and emotion.

- in an era in which digital technologies and using them has changed access to information and knowledge, what new relations can be distinguished and identified between the capacity human beings have for building their own personal knowledge and the possession of multiple languages.

- what new forms of knowledge can be developed when educators and educational contexts are as attentive, curious, and sensitive towards the “aesthetic vibration” of knowledge objects and knowledge acts, as towards their cultural aspects.

 

________________________________ 

The Seminar will be in Italian only.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.

3.The right to research
Interdependency in educational contexts between theory and practice

Italian and English / 9am-4.30pm

Place: Annamaria and Marco Gerra Auditorium, Loris Malaguzzi International Centre

The seminar will be co-ordinated by a working group from the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers - Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia , Reggio Children and Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi. 

Documentation will be presented from infant-toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

 

Speakers:

Massimo Baldacci
Pedagogista, Professor of Social and General Pedagogy at the Carlo Bo University of Urbino 

Gunilla Dahlberg
Pedagogista,  Emeritus Professor of Education at Stockholm University, Department of Child and Youth Studies, member of the Scientific Committee of the Reggio Children – Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation

Peter Moss
Pedagogista, Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Education at University College London, Institute of Education, member of the Scientific Committee of the Reggio Children – Loris Malaguzzi Centre Foundation

Laura Boella
Philosopher, Professor of Moral and Ethical Philosophy of the Environment at the State University of Milan, Philosophy Department

Luigina Mortari
Pedagogista, Emeritus Professor of General and Social Pedagogy at Verona University, Department of Human Sciences

Vittorio Gallese
Neuroscientist, Professor of Psychobiology and Physiological Psychology at Parma University, Department of Medicine and Surgery

Francesco Merli
Haemologist, Director of Haematology at dell’Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova IRCCS, Reggio Emilia

  

Research and experimentation are moments of decisive importance in all senses: we need to go there fully aware …Controlling what we are attempting and doing has to be done not only with the people who work in schools but above all with families and the people, with humility and an absolute respect for democracy. The contents and techniques of new schools – seen in their full entirety of interaction and living together – do not lie at hand: they require study, intuition, research, testing, and verification, even and above all whenthe political vision, I mean the global vision of the facts, is clear. There are no simplifications or convenient short cuts.

Loris Malaguzzi, 1974

 

The relation between theoretical research, applied research, and contexts where research is concretely carried out, has always been a crucial theme of a political and social nature. Today the development of research in the neurosciences and on new technologies poses individuals and society with fundamental and ethical questions, requiring responses that are capable of weaving knowledge with imagination, of shifting points of view, and extending the horizons of experience.

In the area of pedagogy the relationship between theory and praxis has always been the object of attention and permanent research. For many years two opposing schools of thought co-existed, one maintaining the primary importance of theory as a norm for practice, the other proposing autonomy for practice already intrinsically endowed with theory. Today there is a broad consensus on the idea of a circular and dialectical relationship between theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge.

However this is still a rather ill defined idea. It is necessary to produce a description of this relationship to make it a reference and shared criteria of evaluation in scientific research, in the daily work of educators, teachers, pedagogistas, and managers, and in the choices of administrators and political decision makers, in the culture of education, of societies and parents.

Re-founding the concept and praxis of research, experimenting with previously untried strategies, and claiming organised working conditions coherent with these was the path taken by infant-toddler centres and preschools in the city of Reggio Emilia to construct a new and different idea of education. In fact we believe that from the time we are born, human beings’ way of knowing is through research, which is therefore an inalienable right, vital essence of the nature of a living beings, and a tension of knowledge towards the new and unknown.

Guaranteeing the right to research is an ethical and political choice, that gives centrality to human beings as relational subjects, inter-dependent and connected by the fabric of relations every life brings with it. Research therefore becomes the tension of possible futures that every human being carries within them, a renewable source of wonder that corresponds to the right to life, to beauty, to consideration, to change and to knowing.

 

The seminar will try to develop some of these urgent contemporary issues:

If the right to research is to find a response and be actualised, certain adequate conditions are necessary, in environments, times, and tools, in cultural and economical investments, in the contents and conditions of employment contracts. This is true of every context in which human beings live and deal with different phases of their existence (childhood, youth, maturity, old age, illness etc). How can we generate synergy today between the many bodies with the power to decide and change these multiple levels that together shape the identity of services to people?

One of the problems of schools today is the distance between values, pedagogical indications, and the content and ordering of work contracts: what conditions could guarantee the right to research for everyone involved in the project of education: children, teachers, pedagogistas, parents, citizens, administrators, politicians?

How can the dialectic take place today between people with daily experience of education –  acting out and constantly verifying theory, cultural constructs, and “warm” areas of learning from subjective experience and plural points of view – and science, which has conceptual and interpretative tools that go beyond a local or subjective dimension? What might be their reciprocal contributions? What places, strategies and contents for this encounter?

What conditions are necessary to ensure that this dialectic between science and real contexts of human experience and life can humanise the ideal models, introducing both a dimension of empathy and relations, and a gaze open to the possible, in developing a culture of human beings that gives value to differences, imperfections and errors as a resource?

The contexts of our lives are predominantly contexts of interaction. Our experience of others, with the advent of information communication technology, is no longer based on physical presence, but is also virtual. How do the dimensions of body and empathy intervene in inter-subjective dynamics, in constructing our knowledge of reality and of others?

The historical and contextual dimensions in which rights and research are embodied will act as a perimeter for the area we start from, and we will then listen reciprocally to different viewpoints that will contribute to a cultural development of this theme, in an open and dialogical perspective.

 

 _______________________________________________________________

The Seminar will be in Italian and English with simultaneous translation.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.

4.The right to competence
Children and adults as participatory subjects in the construction of culture

Italian / 9am-4.30pm

Place: Credem Auditorium

The seminar will be co-ordinated by a working group from the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers - Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia , Reggio Children and Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi. 

Documentation will be presented from infant-toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

 

Speakers:

Nadia Urbinati
Political Theorist, Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies at Colombia University in New York, Columbia Law School, Department of Political Science

Massimiliano Panarari
Communication Sociologist, Professor of Consensus Campaigning and Organisation at “G. Carli” Luiss University of Rome

Stefano Maffei
Architect, Professor at Milan Polytechnic University, Department of Design

Susanna Mantovani
Pedaogista, Emeritus Professor of General and Social Pedagogy at Milano-Bicocca University, “R. Massa” Department of Human Sciences for Education

Alberto Munari
Psychologist and Epistemologist, Emeritus Professor of General and Social Pedagogy at Geneva University, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences

  

In our system, even though we know how much children represent a central strength, we are always of the conviction there is a relativity, an incompleteness, which can be better faced with a second and third centrality made up of teachers and of families. Therefore a triad of centralities is our premise. 

Loris Malaguzzi, 1984

 

In the experience of infant-toddler centres and preschools in the city of Reggio Emilia participation is the value and the strategy that distinguishes children’s, teachers’ and parents’ way of being part and giving shape to an educational project. Children and adults recognised from birth as having a hundred languages, and of being active constructors of knowledge .

An essential condition of any participatory process is an accreditation of competency, understood as the capacity every human being has for intervening in contexts they are part of, and bringing their own original contribution. Competency is therefore an accreditation, but at the same time it is also a construction, that takes place during the participatory process itself, through access to pertinent information and interpretations made collectively: by adults on social and cultural phenomena touching the life of the services, and by children on the physical, social and cultural phenomena they experience and encounter. This creates a context that both generates and informs a feeling and a culture of solidarity, of responsibility and inclusion towards the community of the infant-toddler centre or preschool, and towards the city community and its services.

In enacting these dynamics educational services can offer themselves as a laboratory of participatory democracy, places of common agency that take their life from relations between people and the practice of living together. Places where, through a dynamic of dialectics, children and adults can elaborate a culture of education conducive to exercising the rights of citizenship.

In these historical times the collective perception of participation outlines a picture of fatigue and diffidence, but at the same time there is a sense of lively variegated research into new paradigms for participation, and ways of practising it in a sort of dance-alliance between its classical political forms and contemporary forms.

 

Starting with these considerations, the seminar intends to promote discussion on certain themes:

How is it possible in the present day, in schools and in the city, to create contexts for children and adults, where different points of view are expressed and represented, to guarantee a complex, systemic and multiple vision of reality, an antidote to the thinking that separates, to prejudice, and to uni-directional thinking?

What relation can be imagined and constructed between parents’ direct participation in infant-toddler centre and preschool life and the dimension of representation, as a “place” where local needs are synthesised and political proposals elaborated, for the life of educational services capable of giving ever greater quality to the experiences of all children and all adults?

How can we generate a dynamic of communication capable of favouring and increasing these relations, both in communication with our physical presence and communication at a distance?

How can places in the city where there is discussion and debate on the culture of childhood and on the idea of learning as a life-long condition be kept active and sensitive?

What are the political, social and cultural conditions that could make it possible today for educational services to be offered  as intermediaries between individuals and society, by constructing a concrete possibility of increased cultural and human capital in the city?

What forms of learning are necessary today for promoting and managing participatory processes in which children, women, and men become protagonists in their present, and in their future, capable of intervening in concrete ways in their contexts of life and going beyond an individual vision to shape a new idea of collectivity?

 

_______________________________ 

The Seminar will be in Italian only.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.

5.The right to beauty
The ethics and aesthetics of knowledge processes

Italian / 9am-4.30pm

Place: Pietro Mandori Aula Magna, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

The seminar will be co-ordinated by a working group from the Preschools and Infant-toddler Centers - Istituzione of the Municipality of Reggio Emilia , Reggio Children and Fondazione Reggio Children - Centro Loris Malaguzzi. 

Documentation will be presented from infant-toddler centres and preschools of Reggio Emilia.

 

Speakers:

Annamaria Contini
Philosopher, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Education and Human Sciences

Michele Zini
Architect and Designer, ZPZ Partners, Architecture and Design Studio, Professor at Milan Polytechnic’s School of Design and at University of Ferrara.

Ugo Morelli
Psychologist, Professor of Cognitive Sciences Applied to Landscape and Liveability at Federico II University of Naples

Roberto Diodato
Philosopher, Professor of Aesthetics at Sacre Cuore Catholic University of Milan, Department of Philosophy, and the Faculty of Theology in Lugano

 

 “… Aesthetics is a difficult uncongenial word not easily found in a pedagogical vocabulary but which needs instead to be understood in terms of the style in which the act of knowing and understanding proceeds…”   Loris Malaguzzi 

 

Researching beauty and aspiring to it belong to our species in natural and profound ways and constitute one of its important components, at every age, in all peoples, and in every era.

The  dimension of aesthetics, of which beauty is an inseparable part, is too often forgotten or misunderstood, and is made banal by the official culture, which underestimates its undeniable and important social and psychological repercussions. Aesthetics – understood as the intersection between rational and imagination, and between cognitive and emotional, produces a creative tension that as it generates a plurality of knowledge processes and approaches, also contributes to making our experiences richer and more complete.

There is a strong sense of empathy in children that makes them participate in the things of the world. Children perceive and are aware that beauty produces joy and pleasure, and that this is what makes possible the effort necessary for understanding and learning.

The “aesthetic vibration”, as Malaguzzi calls it, accompanies our daily lives and orients our choices, small and large, but schools rarely find adequate space for it to contribute to awareness and reflection, either in teaching or in learning, thinking of aesthetics as a dimension of common construction of references and meanings, a dimension sensitive to tuning in to others. Instead how much might knowledge processes change if aesthetic vibration were considered an important activator of learning, in individuals, and in groups of children and adults?

 Starting with these considerations, in this seminar we would like to look at some other central nodes or themes we feel to be equally relevant.

Digital technologies have us participate in a different way in our sensory perceptions, and in our inter-relations with people and environments. Devices and new icon languages become highly seductive tools that take only a short time, and a few gestures, to create interference with our processes of communication and knowledge, to re-structure and de-structure a context, and our relations with our surroundings.

In this new reality aesthetics is a flexible and changeable dimension where “borders become territory”, where spaces are constructed and modified in fluid interconnected worlds that lead to weaving new languages together, and unpredictable experimentation.

Too often schools limit their digital research to the eye-catching effects sophisticated digital devices make possible, but even here, careful and conscious listening to the aesthetic vibration could contribute in important ways to suggesting new research, and helping to invent new worlds with complex interfaces, capable of posing new questions.

What new explorations of reality are possible? What changes take place in learning processes?

Another very interesting theme has to do with the aesthetics of educational spaces, designing spaces for childhood that favour the pleasure of growing, of discovering the world, of establishing relations with others, and educational responsibility. The aesthetic dimension, beauty, and empathy, are open to relationships in which each self constructs in connection with others and with the environment. The aesthetic dimension, beauty and empathy, contribute in significant ways to a different ethical approach to research, to welcoming inconceivable connections, to solidarity, to an attention towards visions and interpretations of the world that are far-reaching and as yet unexplored, and to the creation of relational minds.

More than ever before we need awareness and consideration of this aesthetic-ethic coupling, and of its importance in all areas of knowledge and experience, from ecology to education and from the arts to economy, in order for the political dimension to cast new gazes on the future of cities, of societies, and the planet.

____________________________ 

The Seminar will be in Italian only.

 

Reggio Emilia’s municipal infant-toddler centres and preschools will be open for visits following the Friday seminars.

 

Seminars will be held at the same time. It is possible to register only to a seminar.