6th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise
17 June 2017
Event: “Innovative social investment: finding new routes to make social rights real”
31 August 2017

Social Innovation Community Summer School: study visits

Article by Sara Goldoni, Training and Education Coordinator

From June 26th to June 30th 2017 the University of Bologna, member of the Social Innovation Community, hold the second Summer School on Social Innovation, with a focus on the role of regions as possible ecosystems for social innovation.

AICCON– Italian Association for the Promotion of the Culture of Co-operation and of Nonprofit, a research center on Social Economy, cooperation and non-profit within the University of Bologna, Faculty of Economics, Forlì Campus was in charge of organising 3 study visits, designed to provide participants with a better and more in-depth understanding of the social innovation ecosystem of the Bologna area.

On Tuesday 27th  we visited the Pilastro area, a peripheral district that faces some integration problems as its population is mainly formed by old people and young persons with a migrant background. The municipality of Bologna, together with some organizations of the civil society and the citizens, is managing a project of local develop called “Pilastro 2016”. Ilaria Daolio, coordinator of the project, firstly guided the participants in the area, showing the way in which Pilastro has developed in the last sixty years and describing the most important local places from a “community engagement” point of view. Then we met Duccio Caccioni, head of the Local Develop Agency, who illustrated the role of the Agency for the growth of the district. The Agency, that is one of the outputs of Pilastro 2016 project, is innovative in the partnership as it is composed by a Public authority (Municipality of Bologna), some private organizations and the community (the Pilastro’s residents). They still are in a start-up phase but growing fast.


Visit at Pilastro district


The day after, Fondazione Golinelli hosted the Summer School’s participants at Opificio Golinelli, a very innovative building defined as a “citadel for the culture and knowledge”. The Foundation, established in 1988 by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Marino Golinelli deals with education, training and culture and its final goal is to “contribute to the sustainable development of the country”.

Opicificio Golinelli, the building that we visited (“opificio” in Italian means factory), is the place where the majority of the activities are carried out. It is divided in different areas, as many as are the targets they reach: children and young people (0-13), teenagers (13-19), teachers, all the citizenship.

Giorgia Bellentani, coordinator of the “Training to Trainers” Area, accompanied us in the visit, illustrating all the activities of the Foundation: workshops on science and technology, hands-on activities for the youngers, art exhibitions, activities for fostering entrepreneurial culture among young people, workshops with teachers, etc.


During the last afternoon, we visited the Residence Galaxy, a project of housing transition managed by Piazza Grande, a co-operative that historically deals with homeless people in Bologna.

Martina Sesto and Federica Tortelli, social workers at Piazza Grande, together with Maria Grazia Visani from ASP, a public health Agency, described the housing first projects and talked with the participants on the challenges they have to face every day in their work.

Residence Galaxy is a particular kind of housing project: it was designated in 2015 as emergency facility for a huge number of people who were kicked out from a private building. Now 73 families –of which 11 are Italian and 62 from other countries- live here. Despite the high number and the complex situation, they are trying to find collaborative ways for living together: there are some common spaces, as the kindergarten room, in which children and young people meet to play and study; the social workers organise twice a month a meeting with all the residents to discuss problems and find solutions; in partnership with a sport association, a gym, available to all the citizens, has been opened in the building, in order to “bring the neighbours inside the Residence”.