Prof. Luca Corazzini, at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Secretary Debora Ferro, Ca’ Foscari International College, Italy
Who would have dared?
When the world is shutting down, for several times, who could have dared bringing 23 individuals, living thousands of miles away from each other, to a small but unique city – Venice – and to an even smaller island – San Servolo. Who would also have thought of bringing a group of people to a small island with no transports or meals guaranteed, and with the fear that, this gathering can cause harm while every health authority in the world would rather prevent you doing so?
No one. No one with common sense, rationality and due caution.
But we had to do that because our purpose was to bring together ideas, contents and disciplines, regardless of existing boundaries. The whole group strongly believe that putting together different minds, competencies and roles is the best way to find new solutions, especially in harsh times. When we also think this is the only path to educate everyone to address any challenges, even the most unexpected ones, then you have to do it!
This explains the shivers in holding back your breath in May and decide that you can work it out, in July.
The stubborn hope that you can make it, because better times will come, if you let yourself imagine them, even for a short period.
Nonetheless, you are a serious educational agency, and scientific grounded activities is one of the main role of your institute, so you must stick to what you stated two years ago, when the world was very different.
These are the reasons why you embark and set up a tight program for a 5-day interactive lab. Also invite experts and facilitators to guide the participants along their journey, and thanks to co-creation, that fosters socio-ecological literacy in a very specific issue like marine conservation. The issue was even more focused as it applied to a unique and fragile environment like the Venetian lagoon. And – that you enrich the program with other expert voices, ensuring to realize a dynamic learning process, involving the many spheres, cognitive, emotional, institutional and practictionaires that an individual is made of. Are you serious? Yes: there is a platform full of reference works if you want to check out and learn more about what we did during that one week.
The promise is clear: the process has to be a regeneration. The U movement (Theory U | Sustainability Thinking (wordpress.com)) from a cognitive awareness passing through the emotional responsiveness must end up to institutional engagement. Everyone becomes protagonist in presenting projects/prototypes, after reflections and hands-on experience of a wildlife sanctuary (an even smaller, remote spot like Ca’ Roman) no one could expect to find near the most touristic city in the world.
What can you learn? That working together in a “bounded freedom” individuals, question their beliefs and sort out original answers, thanks to their different age, background disciplines, competencies and aspirations.
And what can you teach? That you must take care of every single thread, from content management to logistics, supply, accounting and diplomacy. Also, do all your best to make people feel comfortable, motivated and even happy. And despite all your efforts, something may go wrong. But in the same way, some other things will go unexpectedly fantastic.
Maybe is it the magic you deserve?