“I want to get out of here better than how I came here”, says Filippo (fictional name), detained in the prison of Bollate. With project ACTS | A chance through sport, a group of students and researchers from the Politecnico enters the prison houses of Opera and Bollate and the "Beccaria" Juvenile Penal Institute to support him and many other inmates in the goal of promoting sport as a tool for growth, emancipation and personal responsibility.
Since 2019, students and researchers have been working side by side with inmates and prison officers to design spaces and practices of resocialization through sport: the departments of Architecture and Urban Studies, Design and Electronics, Information and Bioengineering are partecipating in the project. The group works on spaces, on communication strategies to build and facilitate relationships with inmates, prison officers, administration and on monitoring the physical conditions of inmates and agents through the use of wearable devices.
"The field experience of the ACTS project was a great opportunity to meet both with a reality as distant from me as that of the prison system, and to do so with a project well structured and articulated on several levels. The desire for in-depth analysis that is present in the project is compelling and motivating every day to carry on this experience": these are the words ofTommaso Ripani, three-year student in Communication Design at the School of Design, who followed the field phase inside the Bollate prison and continued to work on it even in his spare time, transforming it into a voluntary activity.
With other students participating in the ACTS project developing communication projects, Tommaso turns to the Alumni to help him give voice to the project and its nature so close to the Politecnico soul of design: they help to collect stories of sports and life in prison and want to tell their experience - comments Francesca Piredda, professor of the Department of Design – together , we are developing communication design tools that support research in the field, with a high social impact objective: our approach is based on the assumption that communicating means 'sharing' therefore that communicating is useful to prisoners, agents, but also to students who are the future of our civil society ". In practice, the group intends to shoot a documentary that tells the life of the detainees, the research and design work and the impact it is having on everyday life in prisons.
"we would need around 5000 euros to complete the documentary" concludes Piredda.
Prisons are “absolutely remote places in the perception of those outside, representing perhaps the greatest social removal of our times”, says the prof. Andrea Di Franco, scientific director of the project, to the editorial staff of Startup Italia.
“Those in prison say that few things like sport help them survive t heir miseries”, is the editor's opening words. “he Politecnico vision of architecture as a social practice is also taught through the impact that our studies and our research work can have on people's lives, concretely”, continues Di Franco. “With ACTS we have aimed at an ambitious project which, by intervening on the prison houses of Opera and Bollate, as well as on the Beccaria juvenile penal institute, promotes sport no longer as occasional practice, but as a broader and more organic project that makes physical and sporting activity also a tool for relating and socializing, for effective improvement of the physical and psychological well-being of people, and of course for the requalification of spaces."
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