At school with Pazza Idea to inhabit transformations together

“It can happen to get girls and boys interested in books, it still does: listening to and being listened to by girls and boys, in a classroom inside a school, sitting in a circle, feeling the uncertainties, the embarrassments, catching the resistance in a face that is veiled by shyness or on the contrary opens up because of a word that has resonated, feeling the density of the air, together, thanks to the words, and perceiving attention and curiosity for what is being read.

It was Claudia Pupillo who told us about her experience in schools. A real journey, hers, between school desks… living the transformations together with those who live those desks all year round, for many years. Starting from the 2023 theme of the Pazza Idea Festival, in fact, we asked Claudia Pupillo to carry out a reading promotion project and she certainly didn’t shy away from it; with her characteristic enthusiasm, she got involved in this promotion within a number of institutes in the Cagliari Metropolitan City.

And his tale continues:

“With the three classes of the Foiso Fois High School of Art, we talked about Bell Hooks, starting with the beautiful essay All About Love. We read excerpts from The End of Love, by Tamara Tenenbaum, and sneered at the sarcastic and intelligent pages of Liv Stromquist’s enlightening feminism from her graphic novels, which draw well on how romantic love can kill.

With the three classes of the Liceo Classico Euclide and with the passionate complicity of the philosophy teacher, Claudia Atzori, we went on another journey. Starting with the legendary sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour, who passed away in the autumn of last year, with Dove sei? we questioned our positions with respect to the consequences of the anthropocene, and tried to imagine what actions to take to change our postures with respect to a devastated, and sick, planet.

Le ragazze e i ragazzi rispondono a queste sollecitazioni, non si tirano indietro, sentono la responsabilità che li attende e ne soffrono. Solo che bisognerebbe parlarne tanto, di amore e cambiamento climatico. Tutto il tempo».

The project, which involved schools, started in the spring and ended this winter. From the very beginning, the cooperation of headmasters, teachers and professors, teachers and all the staff, who in various ways get involved in the educational and recreational activities, was crucial. It was a pleasure, for example, to collaborate with the headmistress of the Liceo Artistico Foiso Fois, Nicoletta Rossi, and with the teachers who followed and joined the project, including Luisa Baita, Gigi Pittau and Marcela Frau.

“Crazy Idea. Inhabiting Transformations’ then landed at the Quartu 6 Comprehensive Institute in Flumini – Cagliari. Claudia Pupillo, welcomed by teachers Diana Daino and Irene Melania Manca, inhabited transformations with the two classes 4^D and 4^E, thanks to the illustrated book Dentro Me by Alex Cousseau and Kitty Crawther, a work of great literary and aesthetic value.

“The atmosphere this book generates is rarefied and suspended, it immediately produces attention and curiosity. Dentro me is not an easy book; its beauty is linked to the complexity of its language. The illustrations, the narration, lead towards evocative, dreamlike paths and immersions in a nature that is like an inner landscape. Boys and girls let themselves be carried away by this grace, understand it, and recognise it. Not each and every one of them listens to the same thing, but one listens enchantedatә before the waves of words, as the childrenә confront each other, look at each other, discover each other. A big thank you to the teachers, who are fantastic allies in these encounters,’ Claudia Pupillo sums up the experience for us.

Similar experience with the 5^D and 5^D classes of the Su Planu Primary School, thanks to teachers M. Teresa Grimaldi and Elisa Bacciu.

Other transformations, another book with classes 3^C/4^B of the Primary School of the Istituto Comprensivo Gramsci/Rodari in Sestu, in collaboration with Teatro Botanico per Tornare al Paesaggio, with whom we shared a piece of ‘Abitare Trasformazioni’. With the albo Prima di me, by Luisa Mattia and Mook, Claudia Pupillo and Matteo Salaris proposed a workshop where reading was movement, where we played with the body, thanks to a deep, aerial, physical, philosophical and light albo. All this was possible thanks to the willingness and hospitality of the teachers Daniela Addari, Pasqualina Congiu and Rachele Lai, exceptional allies of projects related to books and quality paths.

Again with the secondary schools of the Istituto comprensivo Gramsci-Rodari in Sestu, with classes 1^E/3^E and 1^G, with Professor Fabrizio Lo Bianco and Professor Adele Angius, we shared the reading of My golden life as a King, by Jenny Jägerferld, a children’s book of breathtaking strength and delicacy. It gets straight to the heart, there is no mistaking it. It is good to know that the teaching staff are listening deeply and supporting their pupils.

With the Marconi Institute and the Pirandello School Centre in Cagliari, we inhabited transformations from exceptional books for the 14-19 age group. With two classes for the Marconi institute and five for the Pirandello centre, we shared the reading of Io e Te di Ammaniti, The Eddy Bellegueule Case by Edouard Louis, and I’m Every Woman by Liv Stromquist. Strong topics, social isolation, gender differences, the end of romantic love and feminism, heated topics, interesting discussions and comparisons. How much do we need to keep talking about books with these age groups to inhabit the constant transformations, to question habits of thought or just to listen? Fantasticә kidsә, a little distractedә a little attentә, a little annoyeditә, a little excitedatә, a little amazedatә. Always bellissimә. And here too, the openness of Prof. Luisa Corona, Prof. Flavio Montisci and the rest of the teaching staff, who assisted and collaborated enthusiastically, was fundamental.

“Amazing, surprising, even difficult, complex, sometimes frustrating experiences. Reading, beyond the threshold of primary school, is an unusual practice, apart from a few rare exceptions. Those who practise this profession have to read a lot to educate themselves, to keep up to date, to watch, to compare, to intercept the tastes of kidsә, sentirlә. It is difficult, it is a complex job, but it has to be done, lightly, without impositions, playing and letting them discover worlds through books, illustrated books, comics or graphic novels that can shake things up, fascinate them and confuse them”, leaves us with this last suggestion by Claudia Pupillo, our expert collaborator who does an invaluable job of promoting reading, sparing no effort and throwing her heart over the obstacle, exactly in the style of Pazza Idea.

This concludes this journey through schools and the transformations that inhabit them, their young tenants and all the creativity that revolves around them. The work in the schools always repays us with much beauty of the creative effort and all the work put in during the year, because there is no better way to imagine inhabiting the transformations than to do it together.

#pazzaidea23 bids farewell, looking forward to a crackling #pazzaidea24