An Award for overcoming “Alpine stereotypes”

This year’s UNESCO Dolomites Special Award went to the e-book, Moving Alps, during the Leggimontagna literary event, edited by Lorenzo Migliorati, associate professor of the Sociology of cultural processes in the Department of Human Sciences at the University of Verona (ed. Franco Angeli Publisher, 2021). The award ceremony took place on 15 October in Tolmezzo.

Consegna il Premio all'autore Migliorati, Pierpaolo Zanchetta, del Servizio biodiversità della Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, membro del Comitato tecnico della Fondazione Dolomiti UNESCO e coordinatore della Rete del Patrimonio Paesaggistico e delle Aree Protette della Fondazione Dolomiti UNESCO. La foto è di Federico Gallo. 

Ph. Federico Gallo 

A journey through ‘inept development models’

The book is a collection of essays illustrating the results of a study focused on the four case studies considered by the Alpine Industrial Landscape Transformation transnational cooperation project. The study was conducted by a research group coordinated by the Department of Human Sciences at the University of Verona.

“It was a journey that lasted for three years,” reads the presentation, “along more than seven thousand kilometres in four European Alpine communities (Eisenerz in Austria; Borgo San Dalmazzo in the province of Cuneo, Italy; L’Argentière-la-Bessée in France; Tržič in Slovenia, ed.), which we describe as cultural landscapes, starting not from the geraniums on the natural wood balconies, but from the back door […]”. They investigated “impressive but inept development models that radically transformed communities that had been accustomed to slow change for centuries, and which faded away as quickly as they appeared”.

The Alps form bridges between peoples and cultures, but they are victims of a double cliché: “A misunderstood romanticism, fuelled by more than a century of touristic postcards, perceives them in light of the stereotype of the locus amœnus or Utopia of the beautiful, the pure and the uncontaminated; while an equally stereotypical ‘urban-centric’ view sees them as isolated, inaccessible spaces and a border between distant worlds”.

An innovative approach

The panel of judges for the award specifically wished to highlight the innovative approach that “challenges all stereotypes by focusing its research on the latest transitions resulting from the most recent processes of industrial divestment, with the resulting harsh social and cultural consequences, and the effort to redevelop landscapes and redefine community identities in the post-industrial context of the Alpine and pre-alpine areas analysed, starting with the Alpine industrial landscapes, their formation, impact and transformation.”