Why would thirteen students, coming from all parts of Italy (Piedmont, Lombardy, Lazio and Sicily), of different ages (from 25 to 60), from different fields of education (history of art, academy, economics, philosophy, veterinary medicine) and of different professions (lecturers, NHS manager, human resources, marketing, social operators) have gathered at Cittadellarte last weekend? It’s the Executive Master in Design, Creativity and Social Practices that brought together, in the spaces of Fondazione Pistoletto, these different individualities around the objectives of the course, which will develop new professional figures able to realign organisations along the directives of responsibility and of a new social relevance. The Executive Master*, born of a collaboration between Milan’s Polytechnic and Accademia UNIDEE, is in fact conceived for subjects who want to acquire the necessary skills to implement this transformation within their own work environments. It’s an immersive experience, which provides practical and teamwork skills, in collaboration with Italian and international organisations from the fields of social innovation and social engagement. The students will therefore be able to turn the need for sustainability and responsibility into an opportunity of development for their organisations; all this through design, which is the planning and building of the future through art, which is vision (sometimes radical) and connection, i.e. able to generate systems of networks. The Master is also supported by Banca Patrimoni Sella & C., Successori Reda S.p.A., the Italian Red Cross, Consorzio Coripet, and by partnerships with SocialFare, Italia che Cambia, Experientia, Osservatorio Socialis, Città Studi Biella, Unione Industriale Biellese, Humana.
The programme of the first weekend of lessons
As mentioned, last Friday was the first day of the Executive Master, which opened with the welcome addresses of the director of Cittadellarte Paolo Naldini and the director of POLI.desing Matteo Ingaramo, and with the presentation of the course by Marina Parente, scientific director of the Master. After a visit to the spaces of Fondazione Pistoletto, the Master started with the speeches of Michele Cerruti But (coordinator of Accademia UNIDEE) and Naldini, called A prototype of social design through art: ‘Demopraxy’ and Experimenting Demopraxy respectively. An introduction to design and design thinking, held by Marina Parente, was the focus of Saturday’s lesson and Sunday morning’s workshop, while on Sunday afternoon Gabriella Piccolo from Experientia worked on design for social impact and on the instruments of the Personas. What will the topics of the next sessions be? “The Master – we read on the website of the course – deals with extremely current issues, integrating the skills and method of design – able to translate unexpressed or dormant needs into strategical visions and concrete solutions – with the ability to interpret and the disruptive approach of art, in order to understand and face the challenges of contemporary society, as well as with a technical knowledge of marketing and design management”.
The objective and the contents
The programme of the Master declines social and environmental commitment into a profession that creates value for the organisations. The proposed method integrates the skills of design with the ability of interpretation and thought of art for a social transformation, and develops on proposals of critical thought, on notions of economics and contemporary organisation, on models of inclusive communication. The objective is to provide the necessary methods and instruments to respond to contemporary challenges through the implementation of strategies defining the whole planning process, from the identification of the problem to the development of the solution. These skills will be accompanied by the necessary technical-economic knowledge to evaluate the social impacts possibly generated and to manage future entrepreneurial projects.
The voices of Accademia UNIDEE and POLI.design
“A team of brilliant scholars and esteemed professionals have made possible our first weekend of study and reflection on responsibility, ethics, social impact, non-profit, as fields and practices to realign companies’ missions, – commented Francesco Monico, general director of Accademia UNIDEE – at Fondazione Pistoletto’s Accademia UNIDEE in Biella, the first edition of the Master in Design, Creativity and Social Practices – i.e. creating value for organisations – has officially started! It’s a Master born of the mutual partnership with the prestigious Milan’s polytechnic, as a testimony to the global but territorial dimension of Accademia UNIDEE. A hub of research and education at the centre of the ‘MITO’ (the Italian for ‘myth’, editor’s note) axis between Milan and Turin, where the industrial culture is solid history and where new strategies have been conceived to face a contemporaneity that keeps changing and updating itself quickly. It’s an extremely important element added to the courses run in conjunction with the Dutch academy of Arnhem and its three-year course in Visual Arts and the four three-year courses in Design, Sustainable Fashion, Media and Art for which we have applied for formal acknowledgement from MIUR (the Italian Ministry of University and Research), due to start in October 2020”.
Matteo Ingaramo, general director of POLI.design, focused on the collaboration between Cittadellarte and POLI.design: “I think that Biella is an extremely suitable and stimulating place for the theme of this Master, which is about new professions and projects in the context of the change we all know we have to make and activate on our planet. It’s a territory with a strong post-industrial character, at the same time accommodating laboratories of thought and philosophies of life often translating into initiatives permeating entrepreneurship in the most advanced systems and modalities. This is why, as director of POLI.design, I welcomed the idea of envisaging Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella as the location for the Master: to try to perceive and activate within the educational process the spirit and the skills characterising a territory to discover and with a lot to say”.
“The Master is the result of a formula Cittadellarte has been practising since its foundation as its philosophy and modus operandi: cooperation; – says Paolo Naldini – a direct link with the world’s most accredited Italian university, project collaborations (sometimes entailing a financial support) with organisations like the Italian Red Cross and CORIPET (the voluntary consortium for the recycling of PET), but also close cooperations with the Biellese territory, a champion of responsible social innovation: Successori Reda SpA, Banca Sella, Unione Industriale and Città Studi; and above all the scientific partnerships with SocialFare, Experientia and Osservatorio Socialis… a list that includes the biggest representatives of social impact design, to which we can add Italia che Cambia, Nesta and Humana. Last but not least, Accademia UNIDEE is constituted of a teaching body that places us at the highest national and international scientific levels: Ezio Manzini, Annibale d’Elia, Luisa Bocchietto and Cristina Gabetti, Pierluigi Sacco and Francesco Zurlo, to name a few. Cittadellarte’s Accademia UNIDEE, with its autonomous programme, contributes to the common objective of the rebirth of the Biellese area, also from the UNESCO perspective and in synergy with the Council, the administrative and cultural institutions, and the various private initiatives that work together to relaunch our territory”.
*At the end of the course and once passed the final test, the students will earn a Master’s degree of 1st level in ‘Design, Creativity and Social Practices. Creating Value for Organisations’ from Milan’s Polytechnic. The course will run until May 2021.