The Creative Campus Global Initiative was developed in Florence, Italy from 2005-2010 in response to an increasingly difficult situation between the US students and the local population. The Global Theatre Project believes, strongly, that the US student abroad can be a wonderful ally and participant in the development of healthy global relationships. But we also believe that a structure of programming and projects, which take into consideration what the students bring to their ‘new home’ as well as what the challenges they face while living there is essential. Our experience shows that when these projects are creatively-based and community-focused, cultural differences can be met head-on and a deeper understanding of both the American student and the local population can be shared and celebrated.
Following are some of the impacts experienced during the first 4 years of this project:
- 900 U.S. students were engaged in over 50 projects and professional productions. The 2009 orientation attracted more than 100 students. Sample projects:
- Tuscany’s Festival della Creatività brought 80 US students together in collaboration with 15 Florentine artists. Their inter-active work at the Festival was experienced by over 6,000 visitors during the three days of the festival and given ‘exceptional notice’ by the Festival Director Paolo Chiappini who interviewed students and artists for his promotional purposes within the Regione di Toscana (regional government of Tuscany).
- For two consecutive years US students participated in ‘Il Giorno Della Memoria’ a bilingual event developed and performed with community members commemorating the Holocaust. The standing room only performance at The Great Synagogue of Florence was called by Rabbi Joseph Levi ‘the most attended of its kind’ (inclusive of non-Florentine individuals) with over 200 people in attendance.
- For two consecutive years US students participated in V-DAY Firenze putting approximately 40 US students in collaboration with over 60 local residents and artists to create theatrical and multi-disciplinary events attended by over 1,000 individuals.
- English Spettacolare!’s Story Hour engaged over 35 US students with approximately 200 local children in interactive reading presentations to improve English comprehension from 2006 through 2008
- Through the collection of donations of student and local artist work and the development of a special event, L’Asta (The Auction), U.S. students raised €780.00 for victims of the earthquake of Abruzzo.
- For four seasons students worked with American professional theatre artists and their international counterparts in collaborative productions both onstage and as assistants or in technical capacities. These productions were a part of the cultural fabric of the Florentine community.
- The Creative Campus project was highlighted on NPR in a story by Sylvia Poggioli: Study Abroad Students Gone Wild in Italy. Airdate: March 2008
- Over 18 Universities/Study Abroad Programs sent their students to Creative Campus including: California State University; Palazzo Ruccellai; SACI; F.I.T. at Polimoda; New York University; Syracuse University; Kent State University; Florence University of the Arts; Richmond University; Fairfield University; James Madison University; Universita’ di Firenze; European University Institute; C.A.P.A; Lorenzo dé Medici; CEA Global Education; Smith College; Study Abroad Italy