Since 1997, a working group gathered around the journal Africa e Mediterraneo began organising communication, education and research projects in order to learn more about the social and cultural development of contemporary Africa and to contribute to the coexistence among people of different origins who have been brought to Europe by the flow of migrants.

Promotional/exhibition projects, research, lectures in schools and with the public have been and still are initiatives that we have put in place, working in both broad European partnerships and in small territories.

Made official in the early 2000s, Africa e Mediterraneo has played a pioneering role in the study and the promotion of African cultural expression and production, within Italy as well as outside it: it created the first pan-African contemporary art exhibition taking a critical approach (Transafricana in 2000 in Bologna); it brought a major exhibition to Italy L’Afrique par elle-meme (Bologna 2001), the result of the primary systematic research on African photography produced by Revue Noire; it conducted the first research study, documented in an exhibition and catalogue, on comics from all over Africa with the project Matite Africane (Bologna 2001). Since 2002 our organisation has promoted the Premio Africa e Mediterraneo for the best unpublished comic by an African author, the only prize dedicated to authors from all over Africa. In addition, the promotional work of the comics, thanks to which Africa e Mediterraneo has acquired a unique collection of original comic strip sketches, has led us to put on exhibitions in various places, some of which are very prestigious, such as the Museo d’Arte-Loggetta Lombardesca in Ravenna, the European Commission in Brussels, Le Centre Belge de la Bande dessinee in Brussels, the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), La Biennale in Venice, and has also meant we have been present at important festivals such as Il Salone del Libro in Frankfurt, the Comic Festival in Bucarest and the International Comic Festival in Amadora in Portgual and the BilBolBul festival in Bologna.

The project Africa comics is involved in events, workshops and exhibitions in Africa too, at Escola de Artes Visuais in Maputo, in Dakar during la Biennale d’arte, at the Festival Cocobulles in Abidjan and in Cape Town at the Iziko museum.

The know how acquired with this project has since then been put to use in various other educational and communicative projects, with artists and African creative talents linked to immigration, such as Common values, New Arrivals, Manifesta! and Comics for Equality.

The journal has always been and still is our “workshop of projects”, the place where, collaborating academics and researchers, come, meet and share ideas, in order to materialise them into initiatives aimed at a wider public than that of the publication.

Along with the valued collaborations that have given life to Africa e Mediterraneo, we note in particular the following authors who have published in the journal:

Khaled Fouad Allam, Colette Braeckman, Stefano Zamagni, Predrag Matvejevitch, Mohamed Aden Sheikh, Bernardo Bernardi, Dismas A. Masolo, Anna Maria Gentili, Alassane Ndaw, Boubacar Boris Diop, Younis Tawfik, Marie-Léontine Tsibinda, Alain Ricard, Toni Maraini, Achille Bonito Oliva, Jean-Hubert Martin, André Magnin, Paur Faber, Simon Njami, Olu Oguibe, Michel Agier, Jean-Léonard Touadi, Alain Mabanckou, Roberto Leydi, Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, Marilyn Martin, Serge Latouche, Sue Williamson, Goddy Leye, Marilyn Douala Bell, Danièle Diwouta-Kotto, Hala Elkoussy, Basim Magdy, Franco Pittau, Emma Bedford, V.Y. Mudimbe, Filip De Boeck, Irma Taddia, Rémi Sagna, N’Goné Fall, Marc Augé, Jean-Loup Amselle, Yaya Savané, Giovanna Parodi da Passano, Ivan Bargna, George S. Mudenda, Aldo Morrone, Stefano Allievi, Victoria L. Rovine, Francesca Romana Paci, Stefano Manservisi, Máté Kovács, Itala Vivan, Antonello Scialdone, Peter Alegi, Pietro Del Soldà, Nadan Petrovic, Gabriele del Grande…

Italian translations of the following texts unpublished in Italy have been printed in Africa e Mediterraneo: La donna e il colonnello, one-act play by Emmanuel Dongala; Scat, one-act play by Koffi Kwahulé; L’offerta, one-act play by Nuruddin Farah; Capo, da’ solo cento, short story by João Melo; Il sacro macello, poem for Lewis Nkosi by Stephen Gray; Lo psichiatra nero, one-act play by Lewis Nkosi. La rivista ha ospitato anche gli inediti Il piede nel piatto del riso col pesce, short story by Pap Khouma, and Canto al riso, poem by Cheikh Tidiane Gaye.

 

“Creativity”

To get the message across and promote a mind-set of openness to dialogue and the integration among different cultures, Africa e Mediterraneo chose the collaboration with artists and creative talents of African origin linked to immigration as its primary method. This choice is based on the certainty that the creative work of the authors of various origins is an effective tool in communicating the ideas and information that need to be circulated in order to aid the building of a society open to intercultural coexistence.

 

“Integration”

Africa e Mediterraneo promotes the idea of coexistence that comes from the understanding that change must involve the migrant citizens, natives, but also the public services and the civil society structures, starting with the principles of responsibility and participation. The challenge is to sustain the local communities in their search for an intercultural dialogue capable of bringing out what there is in common in order then to confront differences without mutual fears by mutually enriching reasoning.

The open mindedness to discussion with immigrant citizens and with the Sinti and Rom populations can mark a major occasion for the same welcoming communities to reflect on their own model of development and on their own capability to propose values. Last but by no means least, Africa e Mediterraneo holds in high regard the phenomenon of the second (or new) generations of immigrants who show different traits and needs compared to the previous generation, as well as that of the asylum seekers and refugees, who represent a very current challenge for coexistence and the system of services.

 

“Arts and culture”

Africa e Mediterraneo works to promote intercultural understanding between Italy and Africa through education and development cooperation. In addition to the dissemination of the quarterly journal Africa e Mediterraneo, which publishes articles and pictures about the visual arts, comics, literature, music, the media, food and various other contemporary cultural expressions from African countries, the organisation carries out research, and puts on exhibitions, lectures and training courses.

 

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