“Pearls of Memory” is a project by the Cultural Association “Il Tre Ruote Ebbro”. It is funded by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department of Youth and National Civil Service, within the call “Youths for Social” – parcel 301 – CUP J18I15000150008
Pearls of Memory is a project of research, construction and restitution of historical memory in Valle d’Itria territory.
It is based on the thesis that traditional knowledge – through the transmission of material culture which is its direct expression – represents the main means of expression and reproduction in time of the identity and culture of a community.
The awareness of this made us reflect on the cultural tradition of Valle d’Itria, which is closely connected to the rural practices of landscape management. Moreover, the territory stands out for its particular division between urban and rural space: the first has a very high housing density, while the latter has diffused and scattered houses. Along time, this peculiarity has created a dichotomy between town and country people, which conditioned most of the daily practices of use and management of space.
The main target is the requalification, protection and promotion of the territory, through the enhancement of the cultural patrimony, both tangible (historical and artistic objects, landscape and natural places) and intangible (tradition, folklore, wine and food traditions).
Actions of protection and enhancement can take root and contribute to the development of a territory only if locals, above all youths, are conscious participants in the processes.
For this reason, we planned a series of workshops with the students of Basile Caramia e Francesco Gigante High School, having the target to arise interest, offer starting points for research and provide search and work tools.
The workshops were containers for the development, analysis and learning of a perspective of exchange and sharing, real spaces for meeting and creative production.
At the same time, we have realised this “Digital Archive of Memory” to recover and preserve local memories, both in oral and visual form, in order to enhance the peculiarity of local contexts, which are usually disregarded by traditional research paths. The main feature of this action is the sharing and participative construction of the patrimony, as well as the management and re-reading of one’s culture, through the direct involvement of youths and elderly people.
An essential part of this path is the restitution of the collected memories to the territory where they come from, through specific strategies of cultural transfer consisting in innovative museum set-ups. We intend to end the marginality of the practices of use and their connected social representations, giving them a new “reason for life,” if we can say so, or better, giving them the status of museologically alive, thus avoiding the usual re-proposal of static and dusty representations.