Two worlds: Teaching at Palazzo Spinelli, Florence

September 15, 2015   tags: tag-4

Currently, as well as our day jobs we teach on the Narrative Environments MA course at the University of the Arts London (Central St Martin’s College). We’re delighted to be invited as visiting lecturers to Florence’s Palazzo Spinelli, a world leader in teaching both art restoration and museum practice. 


The project we’ve chosen for the students goes right to the heart of current issues around cultural tourism and community. Florence receives (or more properly is invaded by) over 16 million tourists every year. For the most part they throng around the main ‘honeypot’ sites and the south side of the city, Oltrano, has remained untouched.


Plans are now in motion to extend the tourist offer across the river, to the dismay of many in the local community.  Palazzo Spinelli itself is in the southern SantoSpirito area so right in the target area of development.


We’ve explored Oltrano by night and day and we’re asking our students to devise places, events and displays that can promote a new kind of cultural tourism – one that creates a positive encounter between the two worlds of the visitor and resident.


How can they each value what the other has to offer? How can Oltrano retain its character while sharing it with others?


We wait with interest to see what the students come up with.


Doorbells in Oltrano. Up to 10,000 Florence residents abandon the city during the tourist season


An artist at work in Santo Spirito. The strong tradition of craft skills survives in the area.


Culture heavy. Tourists at the Ufizzi