The project supported by Fondazione con il Sud and Enel Cuore, the Enel Group's non-profit organisation, as part of the call for proposals Nel cuore del sud (In the heart of the south) - the only one financed in Basilicata - is called "INTRECCI DI COMUNITÀ" (community interconnections) and was presented on Saturday the 10th of June in Maratea.
The presentation was attended by the Mayor of Maratea Daniele Stoppelli, Antonio Nicoletti (APT Basilicata Director) Saverio Primavera (Asset Basilicata), Councillor Valentina Trotta of the Municipality of Maratea, and the project's creators Ilaria d'Auria (InMateria APS), Marialuisa Firpo (Liberi Libri) and Angelo Licasale (InMateria APS).
An ambitious project, which aims to set up in Maratea the Nuova Libbaneria Mediterranea as a social enterprise of women's community, to develop a production chain of eco-sustainable handicrafts, contemporary design and experiential tourism starting from the recovery of the processing of “libbani”, the vegetable ropes produced in Maratea until the late 1970s.
A broad and articulated partnership - stretching across the entire national territory from Calabria to Piedmont - is the framework on which the project is based, with the CIF-Italian Women's Centre of Lauria as lead partner and Auser Lauria, Auser Rivello, Asset - Special Agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Basilicata, Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, the Municipality of Maratea, Fabbrica Tessile Bossio, Fondazione Francesco Saverio Nitti, Forum of Associations of Maratea, InMateria, Liberi Libri, Mov Lauria.
The project got into its full swing in March with the selection of women beneficiaries. A group of 20 women from Maratea, Lauria, Trecchina and women guests of the SPRAR and SAI in Lauria - of different ages and with different stories - who enthusiastically began to attend the workshops on ceramics, storytelling and traditional production techniques (the project's first actions). So, they acquire historical, cultural and environmental knowledge, communication and interpersonal skills, manual skills, creativity, and the ability to work in a team and manage conflicts. It is already happening from day one without having to speak the same language. "If we have to become a cooperative, let's start cooperating right away" said one of them when faced with a logistical problem, effectively building a team. During Saturday's meeting, flanked by the trainers, Beatrice Avigliano, Rosa Brando, Maria Laura Galiano and Angelina Tortorella, they made themselves protagonists by showing the audience how to weave the threads of “tagliamani”, in slang the plant used to make ropes.
"For CIF, it is a source of pride to be able to lead a social and labour inclusion project whose beneficiaries are women from this territory and with a vocation for local traditions." There are the words of Antonella Viceconti, President of the CIF Italian Women's Centre Basilicata.
The history of the libban is rooted in a historical past that belongs to the memory of the entire local community. A micro-economy that historically allowed the survival of many families and that today regains value through its revaluation.
The adventure of recovering the working of libbanani started in 2019 as part of Matera European Capital of Culture thanks to the Ri-Corda project, which already projected libbanani into the future in a contemporary key and the vision of the New Mediterranean Libbaneria.
Thanks to the support of Fondazione con il Sud and Enel Cuore Onlus, the Nuova Libbaneria Mediterranea became concrete with the creation of a social enterprise, based in Maratea, for the production of traditional handicrafts, contemporary design and experiential tourism.
Saturday morning - after the greetings of Daniele Stoppelli Mayor of Maratea - philanthropy, community, future, territory, work, passions were discussed. These are the key words around which the entire project is developed.
A multi-voice narrative to explore the various aspects, all gathered in a big circle, no auditorium. Ilaria d'Auria (InMateria APS), Marialuisa Firpo (Liberi Libri) and Angelo Licasale (InMateria APS) spoke on the history and future of this process, and Councillor Valentina Trotta of the Maratea municipality on the value and impact that a project of this kind has on the territory and on local community. Saverio Primavera from Asset Basilicata explained the keys to the success of a social enterprise and how important it is to invest in enterprises that aim at social and labour inclusion, supporting them to become self-sufficient.
Antonio Nicoletti, director of APT Basilicata, which has always been sensitive to handicrafts and which today promotes - among others - the “tourism of passions”, has chosen Maratea as one of the places in Basilicata where this new perspective of tourism development can be presented.
The Fondazione Matera Basilicata 2019 also supports the project with Rita Orlando, Manager of the Open Design School, for the development of contemporary design. In addition, the Nuova Libbaneria Mediterranea is being studied as part of the training courses of the Course in Design for the Community (CoDe) of the DIARC of the Federico II University of Naples, coordinated by Professor Carla Langella. New partnerships demonstrate the strong value of this course and broaden its horizons.
"Today was a great community exercise: we experienced the interest of citizens, associations, partners, and journalists who travelled to Maratea to hear our story." says Ilaria d’Auria - project coordinator - at the end of the meeting.
An atmosphere of participation actually characterised the meeting, making everyone, including and especially the women beneficiaries, feel part of this story.
The project will last 30 months and will have several training phases aimed at acquiring production techniques and management skills.
The production and design workshops will feature residencies of designers and innovators for the development of prototypes of handcrafted objects, contemporary design and transformative tourism experiences related to the production of libbanos.
Afterwards, training will continue with internships at the Bossio Textile Factory in Calopezzati (CS) specialising in weaving natural fibres, where people will experience the factory work and the development of new uses for the material.
ASSET Basilicata will face the management training by developing the business project and following the product launch. The last phase of the project focuses on the fine-tuning, positioning and marketing of the new handicraft and tourism product line.
The women at the end of the project will be able to produce, narrate, to sell tangible and intangible products both online and through retail surrounded by established relational networks, building an offer of local handicrafts and experiential tourism capable of affecting seasonality and territory.
This is the first step of a long and articulated journey. "Intrecci di comunità" is a complex project that - through the development of the Nuova Libbaneria Mediterranea - aims at enhancing the local cultural heritage by making it a living matter, a job opportunity and a development opportunity for the territory.