Heritage Storytelling

Film as a medium for the analysis of language and (self) representation of first generation Italian migrants in the Netherlands
It was interesting to follow a course where we did something different from the 'standard'.

In the in-depth course "Migrazioni al plurale", students worked on making videos to let the older generation of Italian migrants express their migration history with the images and languages with which they identify.

What did the collaboration entail?

During one teaching block, 8 students of Italian language and culture conducted video interviews with first generation Italian migrants in Utrecht. Patronato ACLI Utrecht helped to contact people for the interviews and offered the students a video making workshop by Vincenzo Toscani. The ACLI (Associazioni Cristiane Lavoratori Italiani) had a special focus in 2020-21 on finding a way to involve the older members in the community, especially those who were at risk of isolation during the corona crisis. 

The in-depth course "Migrazioni al plurale" of the study of Italian language and culture envisaged video provided a great method for this older generation to express their migration history through the images and languages with which they identify. In this way, this social group could be made visible and could share it in terms of language and culture with a younger generation of students and with the migrants within and outside their community. This reality took concrete shape in the allotments in Lunetten, the location chosen for recording the interviews, as some of the Italian migrants were active there.

Goal of educational collaboration

To give the students the opportunity to deepen their theoretical expertise in the field of Italian linguistics and culture and to make them aware of their role and responsibility in society and teach them how to apply their knowledge and skills to concrete, socially relevant issues. 

Through the practical experience of storytelling, interviewing and video making, the students can directly get to know a migrant community that was previously unknown to them. Moreover, they can connect their theoretical knowledge of Italian language and culture with the materiality of personal histories.

I found it interesting to be in contact with Italian migrants through a university course. I would recommend it to fellow students.

(Intended) result

In the end, four video interviews were made by four pairs of students. The results can be seen on the project website. The students also wrote a paper on linguistic aspects of the videos. The videos were presented at the centre of the ACLI in Utrecht and shared with the community through social media. The collaboration with the ACLI, as well as the storytelling workshop organised by the Foundation "De Voorkamer", went so well that these partners have been used again for a follow-up project in "Migrazioni al plurale", for which another CEL grant has been obtained in 2021. Migration is both culturally and linguistically a highly relevant issue that enables the teachers to link their course to current affairs in a way that is challenging for students.

Collaborating party on behalf of UU

Bachelor Italian language and culture.

Collaborating external party

Patronato ACLI Utrecht.

Do you want to know more?

Would you like to know more about Heritage Storytelling? Then look here for more information.

See the video interviews of the students here
More information