Introduction by Paolo Baratta
In recent years, La Biennale di Venezia has developed various activities aimed at young people. For students in schools of every order and level, from elementary to high schools, it conducts a programme known as Educational which seeks to promote the introduction to and familiarity with the world of the arts. Scheduled guided tours, fun and games aimed at a direct experience of artistic practices, involve qualified members of our staff in a constant dialogue with the teachers from the many schools that choose to participate (3000 teachers are connected with us), the teachers with whom we actively engage. Furthermore, for the Kids’ Carnival, young people from the higher grade levels directly prepare the activities they will conduct with their younger schoolmates.
The Biennale College, instituted as such in 2008, addresses its programmes to young people who have already begun their careers. The purpose of the Biennale College is to offer direct experiences of operative commitment, and opportunities for young people to challenge themselves in their arts, accompanied, assisted and guided by masters and professionals. Of the various Departments of La Biennale di Venezia, the College programmes are already established in Dance, Theatre, Music and Cinema. Each takes place with its own methods, each with a wholly original approach, which makes them unique experiences. The Festivals themselves have become places in which the outcome of the work done in the Colleges may be presented as part of the official programme. The workshops are therefore not an end unto themselves: they are programmed to produce works that are made to be performed before the public.
The Colleges developed in the artistic fields have recently been flanked by the College Interno and the “Writing in Residence” College. The College Interno offers internships to young people in the various departments and offices, focused on specific professional experiences. The expertise of the directors and staff of the Biennale is thus made available to young college students who in the final phases of their studies may have a first direct experience “on the field” of one of the many technical and administrative activities that take place at the Biennale. The “Writing in Residence” College of the ASAC Historical Archives, held in collaboration with offices of the various artistic directors, offers young college students the opportunity to stay in Venice for a period of time, assisted by a tutor, to work on a selected theme, between the Festivals, Exhibitions and Archives, on which they will write an essay to be published by the Biennale. We firmly believe in the opportunity offered to young people who are just setting out on the road of their direct experience, to be helped by an encounter with the “masters”, and that this encounter have a precise aim so that everyone can understand and appreciate the benefit and value of engaging with the arts, with knowledge, and last but not least, with themselves.