Communication of Cultural Heritage Through Performing Art: Theatre and Memories of Former Mental Asylums (71625)

Session Information: Communication
Session Chair: Thomas Endres

Friday, 22 September 2023 09:55
Session: Session 1
Room: Gracia
Presentation Type:Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

Traditional theatre performances contain many other arts such as singing, acting, and dancing, comprising of diverse design processes including masks, costumes, people, stories, and place settings. They are perfect examples as synthesis of arts which create perfect dialogue between space and body helping people to feel, empathize and experience the culture, history and the place for themselves and for others. This paper aims to discuss the power of theatre as a ‘total art’ to communicate difficult memories, tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The former mental hospitals and mental illness in the history are problematic heritage contents in terms of valorisation and communication, and they become a challenge requiring new and creative strategies to share with citizens. Besides, most of these huge heritage complexes have become completely or partially abandoned and stigmatised. Accordingly, this paper argues the power of ‘theatre’ for cultural heritage communication which is one of the perfect ways to create a dialogue between place and body which help people to grasp the heritage. To do this, the paper focuses on research-based theatre as an artistic methodology in heritage communication and its appropriateness to be applied in marginal unspoken memories. ‘Chille de la Balanza’, Italian theatrical collective based in Florence, and their performances dedicated to Italian former lunatic hospitals as the places of human marginalisation and containment and mental illness as unsettling part of history with varied number of individual testimonies and unspoken difficult memories will be used as examples to show the success of theatre in heritage communication.

Gozde Yildiz, University of Siena, Italy
Francesca Bianchi, University of Siena, Italy

About the Presenter(s)
Francesca Bianchi, PhD., is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of Siena, Department of Social, Political and Cognitive Sciences where she teaches General Sociology, Sociology of education and Sociology of Inequalities and welfare.

Gozde Yildiz, PhD., is a conservation architect. Her research interests focus on urban redevelopment, cultural heritage, cultural communication, community involvement, participative and innovative approaches with citizen science.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00