“Do to understand. Education and Society” proposes a series of interviews with museums, foundations, associations and cooperatives, to learn methods, perspectives and pedagogical models of educational services in Italy, in order to outline for the first time a mapping research of contemporary education.
After the earlier interviews with WorkInProject and Alessio Bertini, Centro Strozzina, the discussion follows with Ruggero Poi, the administrator of Associazionedidee srl, executive Vice- President of Montessori Italia Foundation and managing director of educational services of the Castle of Masino (FAI’s good), of the Civic Museum of Ivrea (TO), Pier Alessandro Garda, and Museum of Fake and Deceit at the Castle of Verrone (BI).
What is your idea of educational service and to which model is inspired (theoretical references and experimented educational techniques)?
Over the years and in the practice of very different museum institutions, we understood that the approach changes depending on the contexts. However, some values remain unchanged. In our opinion, a service is educational if it offers an interesting and engaging experience. In order to this happen, the museum environment, with its restrictions and suggestions, plays a key role. One of the main tasks that we assign ourselves is to be able to interpret the museum in order to offer interpretations and connections with the contemporary. When the visitor leaves the museum should be personally enriched by the relationship that has been established during the visit.
What are your methods and tools, and how do you adapt them to every single exhibition?
Recently we have been working with the virtual experience, through dialogue with holograms, touchscreen, kinetic cameras in order to discover the display, both directly or mediated by guides who play a role. Therefore the virtual is introduced by something or someone of tangible. At “Falseum”, the museum of fake and deceit, recently opened at the Castle of Verrone, for example the guide is a bogus cleaner, which introduces the theme of the double and the reversal of reality. Immediately we trigger the question: is it true? Technology, theatre and in-depth analysis are the ingredients that we want to mix together in order to make unique the visit at the museum.
How did the real experience, given by direct contact especially with children, improve your approach?
The work with children does not provide for linguistic subterfuge. It asks to go to the heart and move emotions, trigger curiosity which then lead to the in-depth analysis. In this we are all children.
Do you involve sometimes experts or artists?
I worked for many years with Michelangelo Pistoletto. His experience, without any pedagogical filters and in different contexts, was very interesting because it made the artistic action different every time and this happened in the area of the square. However, the respect of the roles was fundamental, everyone took care of his aspects and faced with the actions to use in the field. Respect and mutual confidence in the roles of each person are fundamental in artistic actions that have an educational direct impact.
Could you describe a workshop in which you noticed a particular success for children learning?
Recently we are carrying out a series of workshops inspired by the work of Arvind Gupta, in which we build toys with very simple materials and explain the scientific operation (the text of Arvind Gupta is publishing very soon and is edited by Ruggero Poi and Elisa Zambelli). Here the opportunity to build and deconstruct a toy by learning the operation is very satisfying and once again is worth for both children and adults.
Did you start experiments, research and / or partnerships with other realities?
More synthetically I answer that art today should take the responsibility of building innovative paths in which rethink the concept of institution, starting from the scholastic one. Illich wrote a book that is still very worth today on the need to “deschool” the society. Recently André Stern published an autobiographical text about his alternative experience to the school. Here I believe that this could be the future of the art research in educational and artistic field: reform the thinking on institutions, by build, deconstruct and simplify just like we carry out in the process of playing inspired by Arvind Gupta.