Connecting Cultures is a non-profit research agency located in Milan. It was founded in 2001 by Anna Detheridge, a scholar of the visual arts, a professor and curator. The association has an interdisciplinary approach and works with artists, architects, designers, performers and the public in order to: promote a collective awareness of local resources and enhance the potential of local areas; train young professionals in the field of visual arts; provide opportunities for empowerment and capacity building within the sphere of intercultural exchange; plan and implement new urban ecologies; act as catalysts for change and a sustainable future.
Major projects spearheaded by Connecting Cultures:
The 2003 seminal exhibition, Arte pubblica in Italia. Lo spazio delle relazioni (Public Art in Italy. The Space for Relationships), in collaboration with Cittadellarte-Pistoletto Foundation. Among others, the following artists participated in the exhibition: Alberto Garutti, Cesare Pietroiusti, Multiplicity, Link, Stalker, Emilio Fantin, Gruppo A12, Artway of Thinking.
Urban regeneration such as the Progetto Valdarno (Valdarno Project), a project commissioned by the region of Tuscany and with the collaboration of the Artway of Thinking collective. The two-year experience in Tuscany (2004–2006) is summarized in the publication “Progetto Valdarno. Una visione in movimento” (A Changing Vision. The Valdarno Project) published by Connecting Cultures in English and Italian.
Arte e Sopravvivenza (Art and Survival) between Bosnia and Italy, beginning in 2005, consisted of a series of projects: a workshop in collaboration with two hospitals in East and West Mostar with Cesare Pietroiusti and an international conference held in 2007 in collaboration with the Milan Triennale and the UniCredit & Art Foundation. The works produced included Lala Rašcˇic´’s book Individual Utopias. Script for an Audiodrama and her performance, both presented in Milan in 2009.
In February 2007, Connecting Cultures inaugurated its Documentation Archive with over 6.000 volumes. The catalogue of volumes may be consulted online here. We also host scholars who would like to use our archive for their research. Please contact for more information.
The project Imagining Parco Sud, begun in September 2007, restored visibility and imagination to an ancient and stifled territory such as Parco Agricolo Sud in Milan, including the rice fields where the association was located. The early stages of the project were carried out in collaboration with the departments of Architecture, Agriculture, and Urban Planning in Milan; the Brera Academy of Fine Arts; University of Newport (UK), and the Academy of Performing Arts in the Czech Republic. Many artists contributed to this project including Paola Di Bello, Ken Grant, and Helen Sear.
Arte, Patrimonio e Diritti Umani (Art, Heritage and Human Rights) An award for young artists and cultural institutions with the support of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. Four editions of the award were presented (2010–2014) beginning with the International Lost in Translation Symposium at the Milan Triennale. Maria Theresa Alves, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Adrian Paci, Marjetica Potrč and Luca Vitone participated in addition to important scholars and contemporary curators such as Sarat Maharaj.
The project Milano e oltre: creatività giovanile verso nuove ecologie urbane (Milan and Beyond: Young Creativity for New Urban Ecologies, 2010–2013) financed by the Cariplo Foundation, experimented with new forms of social commitment and local economy; it began with four workshops located in the Barona, Bovisa, Quarto Oggiaro and Bicocca areas, each with a two-month duration, and was conducted by artists such as Claudia Losi, Alberto Garutti, Stefano Boccalini and Alterazioni Video. The project aimed to involve the extended city in order to provide young people with an opportunity for interdisciplinary training. Our goal was to build long-lasting bonds with these districts, the socio-economic fabric of the area, and small businesses in the field of visual arts, design and technological innovation.
Lo spazio sotto il cielo (The Space under the Sky, 2008–2013), a public work for Piazza Matteotti in Imola curated by Anna Detheridge and crafted by Studio Azzurro, winner of a public competition for redeveloping the city’s main square, which began in 1990 and triumphantly returned the historic city centre of Imola to its citizens. The path of urban and cultural regeneration led to a process of re-appropriation of these places by their citizens, beginning with a competition that included the participation of Alfredo Jaar, Studio Azzurro, Grazia Toderi, Luca Vitone and Krzysztof Wodiczko. Its central theme: keeping alive the memory of native Imola-born victims of World War I.
In 2013 Piccolo Caos – Sant’Elia Viva! Melodramma in 3 atti (Small Chaos – Living Sant’Elia! A Three-Act Melodrama), a public art project created by Marinella Senatore and curated by Connecting Cultures. The project engaged the citizen community of Sant’Elia, a satellite town of Cagliari, and led to the creation of a collective work expressing the soul of the district and its people. The initiative was part of a broader programme called “Mondi Possibili – Re-Inventing the City”, conceived by the Cagliari town council.
Dencity (March 2013 to 2016), a Cariplo grant for an integrated project in District 6 of Milan. The project was leaded by the Dynamoscopio Cultural Association together with key partners Connecting Cultures and A77, and with with ArtKitchen, the Giambellino Community, Economy and Sustainability, and ASP. The project’s aim was to find, through culture and the plurality of expression, pathways for social cohesion, economic development and urban regeneration, leveraging the cultural heritage that constitutes the soul of the vast District 6 (the Giambellino-Lorenteggio district, the Solari-Savona-Tortona district and the Teramo-Barona Park district), starting from the ground up to create a sustainable model for local development. Amongst the works that were created: Arena Verde by Emilio Fantin, Ergonomic performance between Dance and Architecture by Elisabetta Consonni, a workshop conducted by Ettore Favini.
Fashion as Social Energy (2015) Palazzo Morando, Museum of Fashion, Milan, curated by Anna Detheridge and Gabi Scardi was the first exhibition in Italy dedicated to the relation between Art and Fashion interpreted by 14 of the most important national and international artists. Amongst the artists who participated in the event: Lucy Orta, Kimsooja, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Claudia Losi, Marzia Migliora and Luigi Coppola.
Out of Fashion (since 2014), a course on informed, ethical and responsible fashion meeting the demands for a cultural shift in the fashion system based upon innovative and sustainable criteria. The masterclass was conceived and previewed within Dencity in 2014 and since then has become a recognized platform for research on sustainability within the fields of design, visual arts and fashion. Out of Fashion is offered in partnership with CNA and the Gianfranco Ferrè Foundation.
Incontri Interculturali (Intercultural Encounters, 2015–2017) was a course for intercultural museum guides aimed at promoting art collections in the city of Milan and at creating dialogue between the cultures of a contemporary and pluralistic society. The project consisted of identifying thematic paths through public collections of historical-artistic works, conducted and interpreted by outstanding guides from various countries. Intercultural Encounters was conducted in collaboration with Comunità Nuova Onlus and with the support of the Cariplo Foundation and UBS.
In 2017 Connecting Cultures together with Isole Association was awarded the Italian Council grant announced by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity and Urban Regeneration, a division of the MiBACT, for its Art and Legality research project and the production of the first of a series of works entitled Il Pensiero che non diventa Azione avvelena l’Anima (Words without Action Poison the Soul) by the artist Eva Frapiccini. This project was dedicated to the victims of the Sicilian Mafia and to the culture of legality. The exhibition was housed on the premises of the Palermo State Archive.
Out of Place (2018–2019) a course on urban regeneration through culture utilizing an interdisciplinary approach and with the collaboration of various artists.
Sartoria Migrante (2018-2020), a course and collaborative project in which Italian designers and artists along with men and women from various countries possessing craft and sartorial skills, worked together to create sustainably designed capsule collections and other artistic works. The goal was to enhance and develop the knowledge and skills of artisans who had migrated to Italy in order to create works of high aesthetic value using repurposed and recycled materials.