DAY 9 - Goodbye, see you soon! Saħħa, narak dalwaqt!

After nine days full of lectures, meetings, workshops and visits (plus a lot of fun!), the first edition of the Meditherity summer school is over. 


This morning a group of students paid a complementary visit to the small town of Marsaxlokk, in the south of the island, to take a look to the wellknow local Sunday Fish Market. Then, some of them, continued the day-trip till the megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim: an astonishing place recognized by the UNESCO as a complex of "unique architectural masterpieces" in the context of the Mediterranean area.
Now it's time to leave, it's time to say goodbye! Thank you to all the students and lecturers who took part to this unforgettable adventure! See you again in Malta, or elsewhere in the world!


Here a short VIDEO by one of the students of the summer school, Amal, telling about her experience in Malta. 

DAY 8 - A museum for cultures?

The last full-day of our summer school took place in an expceptional location in the heart of the historical city of Mdina: Palazzo Falson. It is a wonderful two-storey medieval palace fashioned on Sicilian examples of its period and hosts a huge collections of memorabilia belonged to Capt Olof Frederick Gollcher (1889-1962), the son of a prosperous shipping merchant of Swedish descent: Gollcher was an artist, scholar and philanthropist, but also a discerning collector of objets d’art and historical objects.  We visited the house-museum and got ready for the morning session of our programme: the Migrantour workshop.


In his introduction to the workshop, Francesco Vietti argued as cultural diversity related to global migration is a key element of tourism attractiveness through which many cities have managed to transform their multi-ethnic neighborhoods into places of leisure and consumption. This kind of urban tourism has often been portrayed in negative terms: many authors underlined how the process of gentrification excludes migrants from the economic and social benefits brought by tourism, while at the same time the reification of ethnic differences represents their cultural heritage in an exotic and over-simplistic way. 
Going beyond the interpretative level and embracing an applicative perspective, could anthropologists play a significant role in making the encounter between tourists and migrants within the cities less problematic? Vietti tried to answer this question discussing the results of a project that he has been coordinating for a decade: Migrantour is European network of 16 cities, started in 2009 and still going on, which has developed an innovative kind of “intercultural urban walking tour” designed and led by first and second-generation migrants. Therefore, responsible tourism is assumed as an ethical approach to envision a collaborative way to valorize the contribution that generations of migrants have made to the history of European cities.


During the workshop we experienced some of the tools developed by the Migrantour training course in order to design the intercultural itineraries within the cities of the network, e.g. the "mental mapping" of the places related to migration and mobility.
In the afternoon, the Phd students attending our summer school had the chance to present their ongoing researches to colleagues and lecturers. Gaspare Messana, Giulia Usai, Alessandra Turchetti and Edoardo Occa brought us in a quick journey through themes, metodologies and fields, from hospitaly in Sardinia to cotemporary art Morocco, from health care in Tanzania to poetry in the Mediterranean. Finally, Rachel Radmilli, from the University of Malta, outlined her own research about the wine sector in Malta. Our lecturers were really impressed by the high level of their presentations! 


DAY 7 - Migration, heritage politics and the role of tourism

The seventh day of the summer school began with a morning lecture by Meghann Ormond, Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands.
After discussing the theoretical framework and the fundamental concepts of space, place and landscape we have explored the different connotations of heritage.
Through an interactive exercise we reflected upon the concept of heritage not only as it is often described by the dominant historical narratives and practices but also as an individual and collective present experience.


Following the innovative approach of Thrift and Massey we have tried to compare the dominant representation with our own experiences and we realized that our environments are both actively shaped by us and actively shaping us. This raised our awareness that memory is not a passive depository of facts and that heritage is more than monumental. It is an individual and collective sense of experience from the past and the use of this inheritance in the present (Robertson). 
This perspective allowed us to break away from the authorized heritage discourse that naturalizes hegemonic western elite cultural values and to start thinking about alternative narratives (Smith).
Professor Ormond showed us a practical application of these theories. Usually guidebooks fix people in space and time and tend to misrepresent, under-represent or overlook migrant communities. Her current work on the project “Roots Guide” aims at portraying a destination as it is seen through the eyes of migrants and at making people feel aware of a shared cultural heritage.
In the afternoon we had a really interesting class held by Virginia Monteforte and Isabel Farah from the Rima Project. Rima is an anthropological and artistic project born in 2014 in Malta with the aim of exploring the multifaceted aspects of migration, displacement and exile through a variety of creative activities. During the first half of the meeting they shared with us some of their most recent projects, most of which were theatre pieces or short films created in collaboration with artists, scholars and people who have experienced migration, in order to provide them with a space to make their voice heard.


One of these project was “To be [defined]” an artistic anthropological exhibition held in 2018 in La Valletta, that dealt with past and contemporary experiences  of displacement, using objects as its main tool and focus. 
During the second half of the afternoon we used some basic theatre exercises to experiment different ways of expressing ourself and communicating with the others. We worked especially on our body language and how it is possible to communicate effectively just by paying attention to the space surrounding us and the position of our bodies. We ended the day discussing briefly the meaning of the word “home” for us and sharing our views about the objects we connect to mobility and migration.


DAY 6 - Migration and Maritime Culture

On the sixth day of the summer school, the participants had a lecture by Jutta Lauth Bacas, Research Affiliate at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, University of Malta. She has more than 15 years of experience conducting research about migrants in the Island of Lesbos, Greece.



During her presentation, Jutta explained about her participant observation methodology on clandestine arrivals and reception of undocumented boat migrants. She focused on a comparative analysis between the Greece and Turkish immigration interactions and how the efforts from both countries, including police, migration control, and NGO’s managed the border and handles the migrants.
Hundreds of migrants found either in the sea and/or land were welcome to the Lesbos camp by responsible authorities in the island. A detailed registration system was in place in the camp to avoid any refugees escaping the premises. Their names were translated from English to Greek. Meanwhile, there was a challenge translating their names back from Greek to English if requested documents arrived, and this linguistic difference created problems with receiving immigration authorities.
Greece is strongly supporting migrants providing them with food, clothing, and access to their basic needs; one of the programs sponsored by the United Nations, deposits 100 euros in their bank accounts to help them survive in the foreign land. The migrants are allowed to apply to the refugee status, if it is granted they will be allowed to live in Greece but if not, they are welcome to appeal the decision, after another rejection the migrants are not allowed to appeal, therefore, they have to leave the country.



In the afternoon, the students arrived at the Malta Maritime Museum after their lunch at the University of Malta and the Valletta City. They had opportunity to attend a guided tour conducted by Ivan Cocker, a technician of the Malta Maritime Museum. During the visit in the museum students and lecturers had the pleasure to learn about the boats’ history in Malta and the international trade and exchange of good and services among players in the Mediterranean.

DAY 5 - Sharing Seeds, Sharing Life: A participatory action research project

The fifth day of our Summer School begun in Mdina, the former capital city of Malta, where professors Mario Gerada and Maria Pisani led us to the XVII century Carmelite Priory; it has a cloister with a number of citrus trees and other aromatic trees, herbs and flowers related to the idea of the Garden of Eden, both to Christian and Muslim tradition where Eden represents a place of harmony where people can leave without violence. In the center of the priory there is an octagonal well which symbolizes Jesus. The miracle of water turning in to wine and in the gospels is also related to the idea of water which allow mankind to reach eternal life. Maria Gerada and Maria Pisani started inside the priory a project named "Sharing Seeds, Sharing Life" where they used herbs and flowers to speak about people who move creating parallels within the movement of people and of plants both changing the environment around them.


The project has been inspired by the teams of Rene Girard who developed the mimetic theory which says that our desires are not our own but an imitation of those of the people around us and for this reason people developed envy, rage and violence as narrated in the biblical of Kain and Abel and in many other ancient myths.
Mario Gerada told us that the use of herbs and plants in man's culture brings back the idea of the Eden, the dream of living back in harmony because the language of flowers reflects people's identity and this ideas led to construct his project of ethnobotanics to better integrate migrants in Malta's detention camp where people despite being restricted continue to have desires and projects for their lives. They bought some aromatic plants and brought them to the detention center to the people living there, making them meeting and discussing their diverse cultural uses of those herbs contributing therefore to create links among the different Peoples in the camp helping them to build, sharing experiences and little reciprocity of being systems (Sahlins) so that they can experience some sense of community even in detention.


After the delicious snack offered by the priory we moved to the Church of Nativity of our Lady -ta'Giezu - a francescian XVI century friary in Rabat which has an internal cloister with a variety of plants as well an external garden where the friars practice permaculture, an agricultural ecosystem intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient, with the purpose to create living environments that are harmonious, sustainable and productive while using the work and the energy to maintain them.
In the afternoon we gathered in the premises of the Mediterranean Institute, where we would attend an Art Workshop led by Ana Rosa Louis. It started with a presentation of her experience in Camini, Italy, volunteering to help the refugees.  The presentation provided a series of experiences, thoughts and feelings related to the journey, inviting the viewer to create a picture of the current situation in the village; a mix of colors, the daily life of a volunteer, the heartfelt and sincere moments of solidarity and humanity mixed with the difficulties met along the way.
The activity continued with a drawing exercise; in a blank sheet of paper we were asked to draw a very bizarre ritual, a story which fits in a card in order to break down the barriers of otherness, how to understand and create new cultures. At first there was a certain block: “What do I draw?”, then hands started to loosen, and pictures started to form. After the relaxing exercise we talked about the meaning of our cards and shared the experiences of the stories behind our drawings.


DAY 4 - Migration and tourism: old question, new problems

The fourth day of the summer school has begun with the morning seminar by Daniela DeBono Senior Lecturer in International Migration and Ethnic Relations at the department of Global Political Studies at the Malmö Institute for the Studies of Migration,Welfare and Diversity.
The lecture was based on a reflection on the ambiguity of the international legislative system which, while recognising the universal right to emigration, is not so clear about to the related right to immigrate to another country
The lesson was focused on DeBono's research theme: the restrective policies applied for humans - but not for goods and capitals - of Schengen's area represented by the idea of "Fortress Europe", with particular reference to the Italian context and specifically to the Sicilian one (Agrigento, Palermo, Trapani e Lampedusa). The management of migration flows in Italy is structured through different devices that regulate access to the possibility of entry into the national territory. From the hotspot in Lampedusa, the main point of disembarkation in Italy, migrants are directed to other ports in the region of Sicily where they are included in the "sistema di accoglienza".
DeBono's accurate reflection shows how this, translated into English as "welcome, reception or hospitality", does not recognize the full status of humanity to migrants. This lack of respect for the dignity of human life has recently led to exasperation through the criminalisation of the NGOs involved in the process (from rescue at sea to support in Italy).


The day continued at the Malta Migration Museum (NGO registered in the bed of the Catholic Church) where those responsible (INSERT NOMI) provided the historical panorama of Maltese emigration, a phenomenon that lasted from the early '900 until after the full independence of the country in 1964. Over the decades, the organization has played a pivotal role in supporting Maltese emigrants, not only in logistical terms but also by facilitating institutional relations with the countries of destination.
For some years now (the first Refugee Legislation in the country dates back to 1999) Malta has inevitably become, given its strategic geographical position as a hub for renewed migration phenomena, particularly from Africa. Our interlocutors have exposed the growing social tensions arising from the constant arrivals of migrants seeking asylum because of an alleged disproportion in relation to the Maltese population. However, what has caused the most stir in our group is derived from the fact that they are quantitatively scarce when compared to the numbers recorded by mass tourism, which, in fact, is substantially altering the conditions and models of life of the resident population.


The day ended with the enlightening encounter with Vince Briffa, probably the most prominent actor of the current artistic Malta's scenario.
Briffa realized The Knot, actually situated in Castille Place in Valletta city centre, just opposite the municipal building. The Knot symbolises migration as a whole, as well the way people and institutions tent to deal with problematic issues. You can unfold it gently and disclose the inner potentialities, or you can try to solve it rudely..and you'll get stuck with it. A potent metaphor of engaging with culture clashes...a way of living, perhaps.
Briffa honoured the participants with a brief and magnetic lectio about his most recent artwork, the video entitled "The Inbetween" presented at the recent Biennale of Art in Venice. Rooted within the Greek mythology and tale of Odysseus and Penelope, the video it is an intimate review of the human condition as neverending journey, shaping and re-shaping in a pendular dynamic identities and memories.
Art is always political, stated clearly Briffa, unearthing courageously the social role of the artist as a privileged interpreter of his own society. Art as universal grammar to deconstruct dominant narratives and rebuilding the sense of community.


DAY 3 - Mediterranean Encounters


The third day of the summer school has begun with the morning seminar by Samira Mechri, senior lecturer and coordinator of the MA in English and International Relations at the University of Tunis El Manar. Drawing on a cultural studies approach (based on the work of authors like James Clifford, Edward Said and Stuart Hall), the lecture has tried to examine three complex and interconnected issues such as mobility, encounter and enclosure.
Mobility is a multilayered and multidimensional phenomenon which includes a wide range of movements, motivations and categories (travel, tourism, migration, exile, expatriation, diaspora, pilgrimage, etc.). During the seminar, by an inspiring discussion between the professor and  the students, we have tried to define and to challenge some of them. Is there a difference between travel and tourism? And between migrants and expats? We realized we cannot draw a precise line between these different categories.



Mobility is also affected by power relations and the freedom to move is not equally guaranteed. As John Berger stated in his speech Fellow Prisoners, for many people the world has become a prison because in everyday life they experience exclusion through borders, gates, fences, walls and other means of enclosure.
On the other hand, the Mediterranean has been for centuries a place of encounter and common heritage, crossed by different kinds of mobility, i.e. the Arabs in Sicily and Spain, the Italian fishermen in “Small Sicily” in la Gouletta (Tunisia), the European and American travellers and flâneurs in Italy, Greece and Morocco etc.
Nowadays, especially in the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution, on the shores of the Mediterranean there are unexpected encounters, between tourists and “irregular” migrants (harraguas). Very popular touristic destinations, like Lampedusa and Zarzis, have also become icons of human tragedy, where leisure and suffering are interconnected. However, migration is not one way traffic (from the South to the North). Today, Tunisia and Italy are both countries of departures, arrivals and transits.



In the afternoon, we met Ali and Rimaz, members of the association “Sparks15” which helps refugees and migrants to learn English in order to find a job or to study at the University. In a fruitful moment of exchange, they also talked about their own experience as young migrants living in Malta and how they manage their cultural diversity in this social context.



Finally, we went to Birkirkara to visit TheMill - Art, Culture and Crafts Centre founded by Gabriel Caruana, one of the most important contemporary Maltese artists. There, his daughter Raffaella showed and explained the work of his father and introduced us to the rich artistic scenery in contemporary Malta. Afterwards, we met Norbert Bugeja, co-coordinator of the Mediterranean Institute at the University of Malta and general editor of the Journal of Mediterranean Studies. Norbert is not just a scholar but he is also a renowned poet and he outlined the history of Maltese poetry from its origins until now, focusing on the postcolonial literature production. At the end, he read, both in Maltese and in English, a few of his poems from the book “South of the Kasbah”, giving us a taste of the hybridity of the Maltese language.

DAY 2 - Touring the maltese history

"The anthropologist as tourist" is the title of a wellknown article by Malcom Crick. A provokative title, indeed. Even if we have strong arguments to demostrate to what extent anthropology is not a kind of tourism, we have to admitt that sometimes anthropologists are tourists. For example, today. 
The second day of our summer school offered us the chance to visit the capital city of Malta, La Valletta, and the walled city of Vittoriosa (actually the first city built on the island by the Saint John's Knights) with an exceptional tour guide, Christine Muscat. Muscat is a professional guide, but also a reputed historian. As she told us introducing the walking tour, she studied anthropology and conducted extensive researches in the archives of Malta in order to retrace a peculiar and forgotten aspect of the local history: the story of prostitution during the XVII-XVIII centuries. Her last book about this topic, "Public Women. Prostitute Entrepeneurs in Valletta, 1630-1798", has been recently published and draws an intriguing portraits of city "from below". 


Following Christine's steps and listening her fascinating stories, we discovered some of the most beutiful buildings and streets of La Valletta: from St. John's Cathedral to the Grand Master's Palace, from the Barrakka Gardens to the many Auberges of the Knights. One of the most typical features of the maltese architecture are the gallerjas, a kind of wodden balconies painted with brilliant colours, whose origins are related to the moorish style.


In the afternoon, we crossed the Grand Harbour by ferry-boat and reached the historical town of Vittoriosa (also known as Birgu). Here we learned a lot about the legacy of the Knights of Malta and the role that their tiny island has been played for centuries as crossroad of the trades, fights and encoutners in the Mediterraneans. A story that today relates also to tourists and migrants.


DAY 1 - Welcome to Malta! Merħba f'Malta!

Our summer school has finally begun! The first sesssion was hosted today by the Mediterranean Institute in a very peculiar building that used to be a rural farm: a stone house surrounded by caper plants, prickly pears, mint in truly Mediterranean landscape. 
Here Rachel Radmilli, from the University of Malta, briefly introduced the wide range of activities and researches carried out by the Institute. It was also the right moment to remember Paul Claugh, an esteemed anthropologist who greatly contributed to the Mediterranean Institute. He was a specialist in the field of anthropology of migration and suddenly passed away this summer: the first edition of the Meditherity summer school is dedicated to him.


Students were then engaged in a unusual exercise to better know each other: instead of the usual self-presentation, they had 20 minutes of time to interview one of their classmates and present her/his portrait to the class. It was really surprising to hear how many different stories, experiences and aims prompted such a heterogeneous group of people to join the summer school and reach Malta! 
In the last part of the session, Francesco Vietti, from the University of Milan Bicocca, outlined a short overview of the theoratical background of the first edition of the summer school. He picked up some basic concepts from the works of James Clifford, Arjun Appadurai and John Urry to illustrate how the so called "mobility turn" could be applied also to the study of the heritage making process. The Mediterranean offers a lot of ethnographic contexts to observe the (un)expected encounters between local communities and different kinds of travelers, tourists and migrants. The final remark was about the attention we have to pay to the permanent inequalities, differential power and hierarchies that characterizes the "regimes of mobility" in contemporary world.


We concluded the first day of the summer school enjoying a welcome dinner provided by the local Migrant Women Association: Khadija told us a little bit of her personal story and presented us the varius syrian dishes she had prepared for us. Last but not least: Ana Rosa Louis, the youngest lecturer of the school, set up a pop-up exhibition of drawings, pictures and paintings in the courtyard of the Mediterranean Institute. 

Tourists and migrants: (un)expected encounters in the Mediterranean

Cultural heritage is commonly thought as a product of the longstanding link between people and their own territory. But, as James Clifford shown us, in our contemporary world culture and identity are associated to "routes" as much as to "roots". We are prompted to recognize that different kinds of mobility and flows are closely connected to the global dynamics of place making.



The Mediterranean is one of the most significant areas where we can observe this phenomenon. Here the constant movement of tourists and migrants across both sides of the sea in the last decades has been producing several (un)expected encounters. On the beaches of Lesvos and Kos as in the ethnic neighborhoods of Marseille and Barcelona, in the "Sea Memory Museum" of Zarzis as at "Porto M" of Lampedusa, the clear cut border between tourism and migration is contested and vanished.
In order to follow the paths of this "heritage on the move" we can combine different fields of studies and manage a variety of approaches, ranging from engagement in theoretical debate to application of our skills in innovative projects.
The main aim of the Summer School is to improve the knowledge of the participants in the anthropology of mobility and heritage and their capacity to develop a fruitful cooperation with private and public agencies.
The Summer School will be divided in sets of lessons and activities including: analysis of theoretical and methodological tools; presentation of case studies with an ethnographic approach; visits to specific places and institutions engaged in migration and tourism in Malta.

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