After the inter-cultural workshops carried out in Europe, in 2005, the comic strip narratives created by African illustrators in order to portray the immigration situation in Europe have now also started to be seen in schools in the Piemont and Alto Adige regions. Once again the comic has been the preferred method for the promotion of a culture of welcoming and of mutual awareness, through the eyes of the Southern hemisphere authors who were the first to experience migration.
The project New Arrivals – Generational paths arose from the realisation of a strong risk of social exclusion linked to youth immigration in Italy and the belief that the welcoming strategies should not neglect the second generation immigrant babies and children, who despite having overcome the linguistic difficulties, represent a group at risk of school failure and psychological distress. Next to the inter-cultural outlook, it has tried to establish a dialogue between the generations, in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences and mutual knowledge and, at the same time, to stimulate creativity among the young people as a tool for self-representation and expression of identity.
In the implementation of the project we selected an active method, based on the involvement of children, of families, of teachers, of professors and of young people during moments of conflict and a method focused on creative processing using the language of the comic strip relating to the issue of integration into the welcoming society (paths of success, prejudices and failures, doubts and aspirations), comparing the conditions and expectations of the parents with those of their children and encouraging an exchange between the generations. With this intention, creative comic strip workshops were coordinated, overseen by various Italian authors, Daniele Statella in the Piemont Region and Armin Barducci in the schools of Bolzano, who led the students in the elaboration of cartoon narratives. Finally the children were able to compare themselves with the African cartoonists, the Senegalese T.T. Fons and the Tanzanian Popa Matumula, who shared their own respective experiences with the Italian students in a field of creativity in a complex environment such as Africa.
The children created more than 200 comic strips illustrations, many of which recount stories of immigration inspired by their own personal and family experiences. The works have since been collected in a publication and have played a leading role in a travelling exhibition.