Child Nation – Growing up in Italy

Foto di Riccardo Venturi, mostra fotografica "Stati d'infanzia - Viaggio nel Paese che cresce"
Foto di Riccardo Venturi, mostra fotografica "Stati d'infanzia - Viaggio nel Paese che cresce"

The multimedia project promoted by Con i Bambini dedicated to the theme of childhood in Italy

Riccardo Venturi’s ‘Child Nation. Growing up in Italy’ is a travelling multimedia project promoted and produced by the social enterprise Con i Bambini within the framework of the The Fund Against Educational Poverty in Children and Youth. It is dedicated to the theme of childhood in Italy.

Child Nation is an unprecedented portrait of children and young people in Italy,as well as an account of the vast programme for combating educational poverty promoted by Con i Bambini as part of the Fund. It features a long journey from North to South through dozens of ‘educational sites’ among the more than 600 set up throughout Italy by Con i Bambini together with the educating communities.

More than 80 shots by Riccardo Venturi two-time winner of World Press Photo and an expert on the theme of childhood – and a documentary by Arianna Massimi trace an unprecedented journey through the fragility of children and teenagers and the lack of opportunities, as marked also by a great hope for the future: attaining growth by fighting educational poverty.

From the Imagna and Brembana Valleys to Favara and Ragusa, touching on the suburbs of large cities, the reportage deals with topical issues that have often become fully-fledged emergencies due to the pandemic and lockdown. The increase in phenomena linked to eating disorders, drug addiction, social isolation (hikikomoris and NEETs), the degradation of suburbs, and domestic violence has further highlighted the fragility of our society, showing that the issue of marginality is not an isolated fact but a complex and stratified social phenomenon.

Out of more than 9 million minors In Italy, one third live in conditions of early exclusion. This is a dramatic, rising figure: one third of the future generation of Italians – a rich country with low birth rates – is struggling due to social exclusion not having been tackled early. This is a crucial issue that affects children’s rights and the very possibility of sustainable development.

The multimedia project curated by the Akronos association also includes a catalogue-book, which describes the situation of childhood states in Italy, and then focuses on the photographic content, as introduced by a short journalistic story framing the stories described.

The documentary won the award as best short film in the Children World section at the 11th edition of the Prato Film Festival, ex aequo with Vito Palumbo’s ‘Super Jesus’, and has been selected at numerous Italian and international film and documentary festivals.

President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella showed his support for the initiative by symbolically awarding the Head of State’s medal to Child Nation.

On Wednesday, 26 October 2022, Pope Francis received a delegation composed of Con i Bambini President Marco Rossi-Doria, Acri President Francesco Profumo, the two artists and Con i Bambini’s Head of Communication and External Relations Fabrizio Minnella, who handed over a copy of the catalogue and a print of the cover photo.  

Rai per la sostenibilità ESG granted free patronage in view of the social and cultural relevance of the initiative.

The stages

  • Rome, Museo di Roma in Trastevere

From 28 October 2022 to 26 February 2023, the multimedia project was hosted by Roma Culture – Rome’s Superintendency of Cultural Heritage – and was premiered at Museo di Roma in Trastevere, one of the most important exhibition spaces in the capital – a place where Rome meets international culture through new languages of artistic research, with temporary exhibitions (especially on photography) and cultural activities.

About 15,000 people visited ‘Child Nation’. Educational visits aimed at secondary school students andled by art historians and psychologists accompanied the former in a reflection on the fragility and hopes of children and young people.

The works realised by the students will be published on a blog created ad-hoc by Con i Bambini to keep the exhibition alive even after its conclusion, and will continue to be expanded with the thoughts and stories of girls and boys from different cities in Italy.

On 25 January 2023, the free seminar for journalists ‘La povertà educativa minorile in Italia: il racconto giornalistico oltre la parola scritta’ (Childhood educational poverty in Italy: journalistic reporting beyond the written word), promoted by the Association of Journalists of Lazio together with Con i Bambini, was held at Museo di Roma in Trastevere. Around 70 journalists attended in person and over 100 did so online.

Link for further information:

  • Biella, Palazzo Gromo Losa

From 15 April to 14 May 2023, the multimedia project was hosted in Palazzo Gromo Losa in Biella – a modern exhibition centre but also an original container for cultural and social projects owned by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella. Its spaces periodically host art and photography exhibitions, as often realised together with the nearby Palazzo Ferrero and Palazzo La Marmora, with which the complex constitutes the Cultural Hub of Biella Piazzo. The exhibition, which attracted around 1,500 visitors, was hosted as part of the ‘Viaggio – Orizzonti, Frontiere, Generazioni’ (Journey – Horizons, Frontiers, Generations) event.

On 15 April 2023, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition, the Cascina Oremo space was inaugurated, a 17th century building restored by the social enterprise Con i Bambini and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella to allow the creation of an educational, sports, innovative and inclusive hub for the city. This open space offers educational spaces, gyms, swimming pools, classrooms, and workshops where children with and without disabilities and their families will be able to find paths of inclusion and develop their talents thanks to the support of various specialists working in collaboration with the organisations involved in the project.

For Biella schools, free interactive visits were organised by ARS Teatrando, with activities dedicated to last-year students of Primary Schools and Upper and Lower Secondary Schools.

The free training seminar for journalists entitled ‘Childhood educational poverty in Italy: journalistic reporting beyond the written word’, as promoted by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Biella and Con i Bambini in agreement with the Association of Journalists of Piedmont, also took place in Biella.

  • Bergamo, Chiostro di Santa Marta

From 25 May to 4 June 2023, the multimedia project made a stop in the 14th century cloister of Santa Marta in Bergamo. While the Municipality of Bergamo granted patronage, Fondazione della Comunità Bergamasca helped with the organisation.

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, art workshops for children and pre-teens run by two art teachers from the AEPER social cooperative were held on a reservation basis.

On the day of the inauguration, 25 May, the final conference of the ‘Crescere insieme in Valle’ (Growing together in the valley) project, selected by Con i Bambini and co-financed by Comunità Montana Valle Brembana, Azienda Territoriale per i Servizi alla Persona Valle Imagna – Villa D’Almè, Bim, and Fondazione Comunità Bergamasca, was held in Bergamo.

The free training seminar for journalists entitled ‘Childhood educational poverty in Italy: journalistic reporting beyond the written word’, promoted by Con i Bambini and the ‘Crescere insieme in Valle’ project in agreement with the Association of Journalists of Lombardy, also took place in Bergamo.

  • Turin, Scuderie della Cavallerizza Reale

From 12 June to 10 September 2023, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo and Consorzio Xkè? ZeroTredici will host the multimedia project in the Cavallerizza Reale spaces in Turin.

This latter is a cultural and educational hub within a framework of sustainability and experimentation, in line with the objectives of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, the City of Turin, the University of Turin and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. The exhibition will be open to the public free of charge (as in all the spaces where it is hosted) and will be aimed in particular at teenagers.

  • Cuneo, Rondò dei Talenti

From 8 July to 10 September 2023, a selection of Riccardo Venturi’s photographs will be on show through a projection inside Rondò dei Talenti, the training and educational centre created and promoted in Cuneo by Fondazione CRC, which is celebrating its first year of activity on this occasion.

  • Brussels, Philanthropy House

After several stops in Italy, the exhibition will arrive in Brussels thanks to the collaboration of Philea – Philanthropy Europe Association, a European association bringing together more than 10,000 charitable foundations in over 30 countries.

The exhibition will be open from 17 October 2023 until 12 January 2024.

The Communities of Shared Practices are an opportunity for the creation of a wider network between organizations and social workers.

Con i bambini

Con i Bambini is a non-profit organisation founded in June 2016 with the aim to realise programs from "The Fund Against Educational Poverty In Children and Youth". The social enterprise Con i Bambini is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CON IL SUD Foundation. The Fund was created in 2016 in collaboration with ACRI (an organisation…

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