In Biella, the demopractic work develops with the guiding image of the archipelago, or better: of the city archipelago. The image describes the Biella area as a region dotted with residential settlements united by the green matrix of nature. Economic and social history has characterised this symbiosis that unites nature with the textile industry and agriculture. This urban aspect still represents the peculiarity of the Biella area. And it has become more and more clear that it can constitute a potential for sustainable development from which to start dealing with the epochal challenges we are all faced with.
In all its instances of implementation, the demopractic work first of all adapts itself to the local context, connecting with the forces of civil society, carriers of civic activation.
The situation of the Demopractic Work Biella
In the Biellese area, this synergy has been achieved through the action of the Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation and has resulted in two connected operational fronts: the appointment of the City of Biella as a UNESCO Creative City and the creation, by the Zegna and Sella families and other eminent local players, of the BIellezza Foundation.
The nature of these operational fronts, to which the Demopractic Work Biella is linked, obviously influences the design of the projects; in this case, the perspective of a sustainable socio-cultural development connected to the tourist and cultural aspects is central, and it is represented by the protagonists of the two lines of work mentioned above.
Since Biella is where Cittadellarte is located, many activities have already been conducted in the years preceding the start of the Demopractic Work. Furthermore, the typical sequence of the ‘canovaccio’ is extremely flexible, activities have in fact already been carried out that have led to the identification of some emerging themes, or territorial challenges, on which the work of the related Tables or Thematic Forums has already begun (see the Events and Appointments paragraph).
Programme of the canovaccio
The canovaccio of the Demopractic Work Biella is therefore implemented according to two main settings:
• in synergy with Biella City Arcipelago Festival of Creativity and Sustainability.
The Festival will be held from 1st to 31st October 2021 and is founded on the characteristics represented by the UNESCO nomination: creativity and sustainability. Under the direction of the City of Biella and the association Biella UNESCO Creative City, it will feature various events involving the citizenry.
• in synergy with the BIellezza Foundation.
The Arcipelago Third Paradise exhibition will open on 30th October 2021 at Cittadellarte, with the presentation of the Mapping (carried out in 2020 by local youth associations) and of a laboratory space for citizens interested in sustainable development and direct participation.
Events and meetings
• Energy Table. Organised for 14th June, the first meeting of the Energy Table will see the participation of ENEL and of a few local key players particularly linked to the two lines of work mentioned above and a strong presence of the Industrial Union.
• Water Table. Organised for 31st May, the first meeting of the Water Table was part of an ongoing project financed by the European call S+T+ARTS, won by Cittadellarte, which entails the establishment of a specific group of experts on the subject of water and the regional challenges inherent to it.
• Partnership Table. Three meetings were organised for 23rd April, 7th May and 8th June, the first meeting of a new Table
• Tourism Table. Curated by the Industrial Union, an already existing and operational working group. We intend to entrust it with the management of the Tourism Table within the Demopractic Work Biella. Programme to be defined.
• Social Needs Table. Curated by the Cassa di Risparmio di Biella Foundation, an already existing and operational working group. We intend to entrust it with the management of the Social Needs Table within the Demopractic Work Biella. Programme to be defined.
• Landscape Table. Curated by the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Observatory, an existing and operational working group. We intend to entrust it with the management of the Landscape Table within the Demopractic Work Biella. Programme to be defined.
• Digital table. Curated by Agenda Digitale Biella, an already existing and operational working group. We intend to entrust it with the management of the Digital Table within the Demopractic Work Biella. Programme to be defined.
A programme of meetings, talks and presentations is scheduled for the months from June to December.
Institutional connection: the role of municipalities and council offices for sustainable development
In accordance with the guidelines of the research laboratory Demopraxy, all the municipalities of the Biella area have been contacted. They were asked to indicate problems and opportunities relating to territorial challenges. Their voices will therefore be present in the mapping and in the exhibition, and they will be involved in the Forum (scheduled for autumn 2021) as subjects already participating.
Communication and Involvement
1. A photographic competition on Sustainable Creativity in the Territory is being organised, which will complement the mapping. Its inclusion within the Biella City Arcipelago Festival of Creativity and Sustainability aims at generating awareness and participation in the Demopractic Work in a wider range of inhabitants.
2. Membership in the association Biella UNESCO Creative City. The procedures for joining require applicants to perform a self-assessment on the parameters of activation on sustainability. Five parameters have been identified, a synthesis of the vast existing literature, broad enough to adapt to the most diverse types of organisations:
1. REGULATION. compliance with regulations and certifications.
2. EXTRACTION/EMISSION. resources and raw materials used (energy, water, land…) / waste and emissions produced
3. IMPACT. environmental and social impact
4. SUPPLY CHAIN. sustainability of the supply chain and life cycle of the product
5. COMMUNITY. relationships with the territory and the communities