Leaving the mark | Second edition

A path of integration through art and dialogue

Street art workshop in the high schools Volta and Brera.

International residency program

Leaving the mark | Second edition” is the result of a project carried out in 2017 by BJCEM-Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, in collaboration with the Africa and Mediterranean Association and with the support of the Municipality of Milan.

The project was conceived as a path to train and raise awareness among young people about the migration path and the concept of asylum, drawing a common action plan aimed at increasing the commitment against racism and all forms of intolerance and discrimination. The tool chosen to tackle these delicate issues in the first edition was the comic strip, a medium that allows direct contact with the young people, helping them to trigger reflections and constructive dialogue, while allowing an immediate use of the results of the work also by a wider audience.

In 2017, a comic workshop was held at the Caravaggio High School, to reflect, understand and question the reality of migration today and a workshop, aimed at young artists of the Milanese under-35 territory. The third phase was the organization of a public presentation of the project results and an exhibition with the tables created during the workshops, both hosted at the Fabbrica Del Vapore in Milan.

In 2018 the Municipality of Milan re-proposed the project, in an expanded version with a greater international coverage. The main innovations are: the focus moved from the comic strip to street art; the involvement of a greater number of schools and students in school laboratories; the transformation of the laboratory into an artistic residence, also open to international artists, thanks to the BJCEM Network; a greater involvement of the Milanese territory and of the migrant communities, with particular attention to the Peruvian one, bearing in mind that Lombardy is the first destination of Peruvian migrants, with 43% of presences (about 40,000 people) [1].


“Leaving the mark | Second edition” has proposed to:


  • Encourage intercultural dialogue and promote an anti-racist culture among the young generations of Milanese students, with particular attention to secondary schools;
  • increase the awareness and critical knowledge of young people on the phenomenon of migration and on the right to asylum, in relation to the particular migration phenomenon that Italy is experiencing in recent years and with a specific focus on the Peruvian community, particularly large in the city;
  • promoting the visibility of young artists interested in tackling the issues of combating racism and discrimination through the artistic discipline of street art, offering them opportunities for the development for their careers;
  • promote mutual knowledge between the various inhabitants of the neighborhood on which action will take place through micro-actions to be carried out on the territory, promoting awareness based on alternative visions of the other through the art instrument, opening up to dialogue and confrontation and triggering, as far as possible, virtuous processes.    

Action 1. Street art workshop

The aim of this action was to increase the awareness and critical knowledge of young people on the phenomenon of migration and on the right to asylum, in relation to the particular migratory phenomenon that Italy is experiencing in recent years and with a particular focus on the Peruvian community present in the city. The project involved the classes of two schools, the artistic high school Caravaggio and the Volta scientific high school.

Phase one: a series of introductory meetings were held in schools, involving an intercultural trainer and a mediator. The meetings provided the theoretical basis for the subsequent work, with the use of video and photographic materials also produced by BJCEM artists involved in projects dedicated to integration and intercultural dialogue.
Phase two: a series of meetings were held in schools, with the participation of the two artist-tutors who conducted the following workshops (Federico Manzone and Abel Panta), to provide the theoretical foundations related to the discipline of street art, with the possibility to show students photos and videos of murals and other urban art projects.
Phase three: meeting with associations involved in the reception of migrants / asylum seekers, in collaboration with the Area Emergenze Sociali and with the SPRAR Center in Via Stella; meeting with representatives of foreign communities, in collaboration with the World City Forum of the City of Milan (focus on Peruvian community).
Phase four: street art workshop, conducted by the two artist-tutors Federico Manzone and a Peruvian artist Abel Panta, aimed at bringing students closer to the themes related to migration and asylum, through an interactive media education methodology. The work was highly participatory and built with the participants, through moments of play-reflection and then with the writing and design of sketches for the construction of a mural, on a wall indicated by the City of Milan. The students involved in the workshop worked in sub-groups on the design of a mural on the themes of migration and discrimination.

Final output -> At the end of the scholastic path, the students, led by the two artist-tutors, created the definitive sketches for the production of a mural, which will be realized in spring 2019, on a wall identified by the Municipality of Milan.

Action 2. Artistic residence

The aim of this action was to carry out a work of real inclusion within the Via Stella SPRAR, allowing young selected international artists to work, led by a tutor and a cultural mediator, in collaboration with asylum seekers present at the center, listening to their voices and together imagining a mural to be created starting from their suggestions.

Phase one: identification of a curator with experience in projects and processes of social inclusion, to coordinate the residence.
Phase two: development and dissemination of a public call, for the selection of 2 Italian and 2 foreign artists, to be included in a residency program. The call was disseminated throughout the region through the channels of BJCEM and its members Municipality of Milan and Arci Milan. The selected artists were: Riccardo Buonafede, Simone Carraro (r_a_c_h_i_t_i_c_o), Giulia Salamone, Alexandros Simopoulos
Phase three: a residence program, lasting 10 days, at the Fabbrica del Vapore. The residency was built on moments of meeting, comparison and dialogue, intended to stimulate the creativity of artists and find food for thought that will be useful in the creative phase that will result in the realization of one or more street art works in May 2019 on a wall identified by the Municipality of Milan

Action 3. Realization of the works and final publication

In May 2019 work will start on the construction of street art works planned in the school laboratory and in the residence. The productions will be accompanied by a work of photographic testimony that will merge into a small publication, in Italian and English, which will take into account the work done and will be distributed through BJCEM network and the channels of the Municipality of Milan.


Tuesday 18 December, from 5.30 pm, at the Fabbrica del Vapore of Milan, Spazio Ex-Cisterne, the projects of the Municipality of Milan were presented, realized in collaboration with the international association Bjcem – Association Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée: “Leaving the mark – Second edition | Paths of integration through art and dialogue” and “UP-Urban People”.

Schedule of the day

* 17.30 Institutional greetings
Councilor for Culture of the City of Milan, Filippo Del Corno
Manager in charge of the Piano Periferie Development Unit, Anna Prat
Director of the Youth, University and Higher Education Area, Fabrizio Chirico
Secretary General BJCEM, Federica Candelaresi

* 18.00 Presentation of the results of the project “Leaving the mark”
Introduced by Federica Candelaresi
Speakers Federico Manzone and Angela Avila

* 19.00 Presentation of the results of the project “UP-Urban People”
Introduced by Federica Candelaresi
The following spoke: Vanessa Vettorello, Davide Greco, Federico Tisa and Vincenzo Greco of Fluxlab
The artists involved from the residency intervene (Ciro Battiloro, Valentina Casalini, Maria Contreras Coll, Agnese Morganti, Sabrina Iannucci, Orestis Mavroudis, Beatrice Surano, Carlo Tartivita)

* 20.00 Small buffet

[1] 2017 data, obtained from: “The Peruvian community in Italy, Annual report on the presence of migrants”, Ministry of Labor and Social Policies “.

The promoters

BJCEM-Biennale des jeunes créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, an international network founded in Sarajevo in July 2001, made of 55 members from 21 countries of Europe and the Mediterranean. The network includes civil society organizations, local, regional and national authorities in the European and Mediterranean area, and is also a member of the Anna Lindh Foundation and Culture Action Europe. BJCEM, with its work, promotes and enhances intercultural dialogue, contemporary artistic research in different expressive languages; offers support to youth creativity, mobility, encouraging the encounter between young artists from the various shores of the Mediterranean. The City of Milan is a member of the Network, and has historically had a strong bond BJCEM. Among the main exhibitions and international events jointly organized there are the 2012 Disorder exhibition, which brought 30 under-30 artists from 15 European and Mediterranean countries to the city, and the 17th edition of the Biennale – Mediterranea 17 Young Artists Biennale – in 2015. An international multidisciplinary event, curated by Andrea Bruciati, promoted by BJCEM and the Municipality of Milan, in collaboration with Arci Nazionale and with the Patronage of the Cariplo Foundation. In one of the most representative places of contemporary creativity, La Fabbrica del Vapore, 300 under-35 creative artists from all over the Mediterranean area met to present their works in the disciplines of visual and applied arts, literature, performance (theater, dance, metropolitan performances), music, cinema and gastronomy.

Africa e Mediterraneo is a social promotion association in Bologna, founded in the early 2000s, with the aim of promoting intercultural dialogue and cultural cooperation between Europe and Africa. The Association works at local, national and European level, involving artists and professionals, focusing in particular on the African and migrant artists working with comic strips. The Association develops laboratory projects of intercultural training and media education, involving young students from lower and upper secondary schools throughout Italy.


“Leaving the mark | Second edition” is a project of the Municipality of Milan realized by the International Association BJCEM-Biennale des Jeunes Créateurs de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, in collaboration with Africa e Mediterraneo Association.

Many thanks for the logistic support to: