by Prof Ares Kalandides
When Rosa Alba Impronta, president of the Made in Cloister Foundation in Naples, Italy, talks about her dream for the future, she sees a large, financially independent, cultural centre, whose impact will be sensed outside its walls: it will resonate in the neighbourhood of Porta Capuana, where it is located, but also beyond that, in the whole city of Naples.
We spoke to Rosa Alba Impronta who will welcome us during the IPM Naples Study trip in May 2018*.
The project to restore the 16th century cloister of the Church of Santa Caterina a Formiello, was launched by the Fondazione “Made in Cloister”, opening its gates to the public in May 2016. The former cloister is a rare example of Neapolitan renaissance and industrial architecture that had been completely abandoned until the Foundation took over in 2012.
The concept is linked to two main goals: Firstly, it is about recuperating a part of Naples’ cultural heritage through the restauration of the old cloister structure itself, creating awareness about the social impact of urban regeneration. Secondly, Made in Cloister wants to revisit local traditional artisanal crafts and match them with international artists in common creative processes. Thus, it aims to reconvert and develop the local artistic heritage, while re-launching the notion of “handmade” in a contemporary interpretation.
“Made in Cloister does not take place behind closed doors” explains Rosa Alba Impronta. “We are in the midst of a socially underprivileged area and we want to actively address this fact. For example we already gave young people from the neighbourhood the opportunity to watch Patti Smith’s and Laurie Anderson’s rehearsals or concerts”. Made in Cloister has inspired and promoted a cultural cluster, involving local, Italian and international personalities who have contributed to the conversion of the whole monumental area of Santa Caterina a Formiello. Indeed, among Made in Cloister’s friends we count artists such as the two mentioned above, but also musician Antony (from Antony and the Johnsons), the artists Jimmie Durham, Enzo Moscato, Mimmo Paladino and many more. “Our main supporters are our artists and we are infinitely grateful to them”, confirms Rosa Alba Impronta.
Made in Cloister started off with a mapping exercise. Graphic designer Nick Hand researched traditional crafts in the city and interviewed the makers behind them. This has produced a network of workshops and craftspeople whose stories you can find on the project’s website: http://www.madeincloister.com/en/artisans/.
“What we need to do now”, says Impronta, “is find ways to convert more areas within the complex, involve a larger number of international artists and designers, intensify our exchange with the local community, museums as well as educational institutions within the territory, and finally find even more creative ways to involve the artisans”.
*If you want to find out more and maybe join us for the IPM study trip to Naples, 3-5 May 2018, please visit the IPM Site: http://placemanagement.org/courses/ipm-study-trip-to-naples-cassino/
This 3-day accredited educational trip to southern Italy is a combination of site visits, lectures & workshops as well as meetings with local actors (municipality, universities, local partnerships, urban revewal, local initiatives, etc.).