SPACEX - Spatial Practices Art & Architecture for Empathetic Exchange

SPACEX responds to the troubling rise of populist nationalism and conflict in European societies by engaging new publics and forging a culture that embraces diversity, difference, and discursive exchange within cities, towns and urban sites.

The lack of interdisciplinary knowledge by those working in the cultural sector has significantly affected the way in which the social benefit of cultural activities is understood, articulated and applied. SPACEX proposes that inventing new and inclusive ways of living together, requires the implementation of new transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral practices and methods, that connect spatial practice with cultural sociology, cultural policy, critical pedagogies and behavioural economics. 

The comprehensive transdisciplinary composition of the SPACEX consortium- 29  beneficiaries comprising of 13 universities and academies and 16 cultural organisations, across 11 EU countries with 1 partner in Palestine – will enable its researchers to undertake secondments in a range of world-renowned academic institutions, research institutes, arts organizations, biennials, urban agencies and a film festival: Festival dei Popoli. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020.


The SPACEX training event entitled "Children, Youth and Social Participation" was held in Florence from 11 to 12 November 2022, on the occasion of the 63rd Festival dei Popoli. The programme included two days of lectures and presentations in which some of the contexts outlined in the SPACEX research action were addressed. The aim of the event was to examine ways of promoting children's participation in urban space through art and culture. Promoting children's participation means promoting their choices and rejecting instrumental approaches to the promotion of children's participation that would reduce their autonomy.

The first morning was devoted to the presentation of some approaches and examples of research on children's and adolescents' social participation


From Critical Pedagogy to Promotion of Children's Participation, Prof. Claudio Baraldi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

Observing Interaction, Prof. Federico Farini (University of Northampton)

Observing Narratives, Prof. Sara Amadasi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

The afternoon was dedicated to the Walking Seminar "Participation and the City of Florence", an exploration (in space and time) of the city of Florence with particular attention to the relationship between public space and social participation (of children and others).

The second day was devoted to some examples of participatory practices in the performing and visual arts and in museums.


Accessibility as Democracy, Francesca Merz (Mare Lab - Palermo)
MUS.e, Valentina Zucchi (Florence)

Theatre and Performance
Periferico Festival, Federica Rocchi (Amigdala, Modena)

During the project days, the participants also attended the previews of some documentaries scheduled at the 63rd Festival dei Popoli with the directors in-person.

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