The Third Paradise UNIDEE Academy in Biella is an institute of higher education that has applied to the Ministry of Education, University and Research for authorisation to issue recognised academic diplomas. It is an academy of Fine Arts equivalent to a university. Its aim is to activate the social system and has two main missions, research and education, accompanied by a third: the contribution to a social transformation. It educates the young people of the future, innovators and visionaries, subjects who can act in the present with the awareness of who knows the complexities of the global world.
The UNIDEE Academy has been created under the paradigm of social innovation (the Innovation Policy of the European Union, 2013), has adopted the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and refers to concepts, ideas and organizations that meet social needs and expand and strengthen civil society and local and global economies. It deduces its educational practices from a continuous dialogue with the most important international institutes of education and research. It operates as an emanation of the Pistoletto Foundation within Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Third Paradise project and looks to the growing market of international higher education to establish an institution of excellence active in the very hub of MITO, the Milan Turin + Genoa area, thus remedying to the absence of an academy of Fine Arts in a culturally and economically strategic area of Italy.
The Third Paradise UNIDEE Academy in Biella is an instrument for developing in the students a new and updated “being able to do”, which nowadays must always imply a “being able to think”, in the sense of being able to understand the changes, accelerations and challenges of the third millennium. Its international positioning is based on quality and sustainability, for a capability through the propagation of research. In 2019, to mark the twentieth anniversary of its courses, UNIDEE has engaged the curator Valerio Del Baglivo (whose research is centred on experimental pedagogy in artistic institutions), it has then activated a collaboration for the academic year 2019-2020 on a three-year diploma in Visual Arts issued with the Dutch academy of excellence in Arnhem. Subsequently, in January 2020, it will launch an Executive Master’s Course in Design, Creativity and Social Practices, and it is about to formalize a postgraduate course in Design Management with one of the most prestigious and established Italian academies. At the same time, it is working on the activation of three three-year diplomas for the academic year 2020-2021, a legacy and development of the higher education courses offered by the Pistoletto Foundation in the past twenty years: Socially Engaged Art, Social Innovation Design, Media Arts and Social Transformation, Sustainable Fashion Design.
Connecting with the world
Among the peculiarities of the UNIDEE Academy, two are quite extraordinary: connection and internationality. After all, how can art connect every aspect of human culture? This is the very question – deriving from Michelangelo Pistoletto’s manifesto “Progetto Arte” – the UNIDEE Academy constantly tries to give answers to. With a continuous tension towards an international dialogue. This is why, to mention a few of the programmes of the Academy, the three-year course in Socially Engaged Art is carried out with ArtEZ Academy in Arnhem (NL), and the numerous intensive courses of B.E.S.T. programme in sustainable fashion are run in collaboration with UNIDEE Academy in partnership with FIT in New York, Milano Fashion Institute, NABA in Milan, Marronier in Osaka, ITS in Biella. With ArtEZ in particular, the Academy has started three intensive curricular programmes as part of its Socially Engaged Art course: two projects on the relationship between art and society (in September and January), also open to students from other academies; a programme of experimental didactics through residency for 4th year students (in January/February); and an intensive course on Social Engagement (also in February) for younger students.