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.