Mapping change in rural Sicily

by Palma Nana.

Sicily is an insular region of Italy, in the southern periphery of Europe. It’s rural internal areas are well known for two major factors: its cultural and naturalistic uniqueness and beauty; and its social marginality. Being a land that starts huge fluxs of migrations, from where thousands of young people leave, Palma Nana decided to start from this fragile generation. With the willingness to value an authentic perspective, and the need to empower those who decided to remain living in rural Sicily, the participatory-action research was conducted by a group of people involved in a Civil Service project with the municipality of Pollina, aged 18-28.

Interviewing Giulio Gelardi, a well known Manna cultivator, in the Manna Museum of Pollina 

It has been very interesting to test the activity with the group of young people itself, and to get into deep discussions about the environmental conditions of the bioregion. Moreover, we believe that the added value of involving the youth has been to witness conversations between the interviewer and the researchers as informal conversations between people that know each other and their territory very well, deciding to analyse and reflect on the biosphere related SDGs, and the changes needed for their local implementation.

Thinking about the whole process, we believe that the most interesting thing about the method used for the PAR has been how inclusive it allowed the research to be, honouring and involving a huge diversity of roles within communities. The genuinity of the conversations was also granted by the same places of the interviews. Conversations have been held in places of life, meaningful spots where the different roles are preserved: a painting studio for an artist, the village’s square for municipality workers, or the Museum of Manna, for a peasant that was awarded as an UNESCO immaterial heritage for his knowledge about Manna.

In a few words, the PAR has been an unique occasion for the cooperative Palma Nana to draw a picture of its rural community, and to collectively highlight an important path to walk.

I read this article and I recommend it! Mapping change in rural Sicily by @palmanana at www.catalysts.community