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School should not exist anymore. As it is now, it should be tore down. Rebuilt from ground zero, no pillar is still right. If Western society had the strength to tear down school and build it all over, it would be sign of livelihood. This one, yes!, would be a reform, and I would love to finally prove I’m alive. It’s a wish for the whole society, school should not exist. It’s a useless funnel, a deeply wrong system. Useless, redundant, damaging, boring, inconclusive, hateful stuff. School it’s not a picture to hang on a wall, it has to be done, not just looked at.

That’s what Agnese Addone - teacher, Coderdojo coordinator and designer of Rome’s Teacherdojo – writes. Agnese deals with informal learning environment and the relationship between teaching, technology, art and personal expressivity and belongs to the 24-strong tutors’ and teachers’ team that, together with sixty participants, will gather in Bari from the 18th to the 30th of july, writing together the kernel, the core of the operating system from which la Scuola Open Source will then develop. It is not about designing a simple learning program, but designing a whole school beyond the usual, pre-defined canons, inspired instead by models such as the Roycroft Community’s and the Bauhaus school’s.

XYZ, the triple workshop which makes its incipit, will generate a matrix upon which the whole project will be built; a project which, as all open source software, will then be subject to modifications and improvements from following interventions.

Within a space coordinated by three slightly orthogonal axes (X-identity, Y-tools, Z-processes, the research areas), numerous heterogeneous competencies and skills, usually hard to find together, will be allowed to move freely. X, Y and Z will share notions and methodologies. In human sciences as in design, knowledge is conquered through the workshop experience: that’s the mantra-thought of Salvatore Zingale, researcher at the Design Department and professor of Project Semiotics in Milan’s Polytechnic University, where he also is scientific responsible of Humanities Design, another venue for research, production and divulgation focused on highlighting design’s human dimension, its capacity to inform with sensibility and responsibility a system of connections involving places, communities, practices, processes, with a sustainable perspective and an inclusive and democratic methodology.

Salvatore will be in Bari together with Giovanni Anceschi, pioneer of the “Graphic Design of Public Utility” movement, and one of the promoters of the Graphic project’s charter, communication designer, organizer of multi-modality and visibility culture, and Loredana Bontempi and Emanuele Bonetti, founders of Parcodiyellowstone, curious inquirers of the new technological perspectives and their connected social dynamics. When in Bari, they sure will find themselves in an ideal context: with hackers like Salvatore Iaconesi, interaction designer and creator of the international network “Art is Open Source” and, together with Mirko Balducci and Giacomo Equizi – also present in XYZ – founder of Nefula, the first near future design studio and research lab in Italy; there will also be makers such as Alberto Di Cagno, who combines microelectronics and automation/programming competencies with studies in the field of intellectual property and technology rights, Paolo Cavagnolo, whom with his TechLab in Chieri helps the local community to understand the evolution of technology itself, making tools, tables and machinery accessible, and Barimakers’ Angelo Cardellicchio, Android developer and digital imagery processor.

More than just a mosaic of competencies, XYZ is a reaction environment where all people, always at the center of the process, are the reagents and teachers act as catalysts, providing direction to the paths that will be undertaken. A teamwork-oriented dynamic, where the student interacts with topics discussed – with a probably more academic approached – in the most enlightened higher education institutions for artistic industries, as Urbino’s ISIA, directed by Luciano Perondi, professor of Book’s History, always attentive to the issue of knowledge as civic commitment, and where Mauro Bubbico also teaches, internationally known designer who deals with the issue of Identity between traditions and future, taking inspiration from stories and places from Southern Italy, shaping them towards a universal voice.

A more digitally-oriented approach is that of Oriana Persico, artist and writer, teacher in Firenze’s ISIA, curator of several campaigns and innovative communication projects (such as La Cura Open Source), performances, research strategies.

There are no podiums.

Access to the workshop is free of charge.

The sixty selected participants among 199 applicants from different countries are not simple students, but knowledge gatherers and energy providers themselves. A dynamic like this can multiply learning possibilities. Knowledge sharing happens through osmosis as well and twelve, intense days are a timeframe long enough to make this chemical reaction become dense. From this angle, the role of the accelerators of the collaborative process gains critical importance. Vittorio Netti, MSc in Partecipative Design, deals with e-governance and citizen policies, and with his Coompany project provides digital platforms to enable information exchange and shared decisions. Alessandro Merletti De Palo, Cooperacy founder and scientific director, re-defined the concept of cooperation providing relational benefits connected with the perception of reality, while Shavala De Silva, after graduating in Architecture, works on start-up initiatives and created We Care, a platform facilitating research and connection between nurses and patients through a referencing community, empowered by a non-anonymous evaluation system.

Nunzia Coco, service designer, enquires around creative process and corporate open innovation within her PhD studies in the Faculty of Management in Venice’s Ca’ Foscari University. Federica Vittori is responsible for cheFare’s operational and strategic development and works on issues regarding sustainability, organization and planning for corporate and third-sector orvanizations. cheFare’s scientific director, Bertram Niessen, is moved by the belief that new forms of social and political action are now required, and for this reason he works daily with a broad spectrum of issues, from urban spaces to bottom-up innovation, holding courses and lectures around research methodology, culture sociology, urban sociology and new technologies for social research. Leonardo Zaccone, sound designer and performance artist, built Roma Makers, “a fablabs ecosystem”, and Corete, a network of collaborative spaces in Italy’s capital city.

Knowledge and experiences blend, allowing the School to be thought to as, chasing Gropius, a center for education, research and artistic and technological consultancy for industry, trade and craftsmanship.

Even digital craftsmanship: Andrea Jemmet deals with neural networks, robotics and IT security; similarly Danilo Di Cuia, designer and IT developer, explores the world of man-machine interactions. Giacomo Leonzi, one of the most prominent characters of Fablab Torino, developed his competences around energy saving, by implementing an infrastructure to remotely control and manage energy-consuming devices. Their peculiar abilities could cross-pollinate with those of Marco Goran Romano, illustrator, Valerio Nicoletti, graphic designer and freelance curator, involved in the editing team of Athanor, a culture and visual arts magazine, and Andrea Bergamini, founder of the multi-disciplinary studio and author of a thesis around an open source typographic project aimed at testing street signs readability.

If Giovanni Lussu, older master of all the XYZ teachers and tutors, teaches that writing is not a defined and static system, instead flexing according to its ways of interacting with the context and to sinsemia – the way in which signs are displaced in space, somehow the outcome of this workshop will depend on the interaction between the life stories and the competencies of its dwellers.

The intersections of the participants’ trajectories will, indeed, outline La Scuola Open Source’s first profile. It’s just one of the possible universes: the code is open and the future of the school itself is completely re-writable.

It will be a wonderful, ever-changing place.

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