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Association for the conservation of popular traditions (ATCP)

The ATCP operates in the fields of demo ethno anthropological science, museum, theatre, art and music and since its foundation it has been making scientific researches and publishing and promotional activities, on a national and international range. The ATCP makes research and educational activities; museum activities, connected to the management of the “Antonio Pasqualino” International Puppet Museum; encourages the study of the issues related by means of the promotion of craftsmanship. The ATCP has a central function as a promoter of activities aiming to safeguard and expand Sicilian traditions and local intangible heritage, in collaboration with the local depositaries of the patrimonies connected to Sicilian traditional culture, in a constant dialogue with international realities as well as with experts and museums, theatres, cultural and educational institutions internationally renowned. The ATCP’s managing board and scientific committee are composed of high-brows mainly operating in the field of folk traditions, in collaboration with the anthropological faculty of Palermo’s University. Since the beginning they have been carrying out important researches about local traditions and material culture collecting important testimony and recording, among others, religious festivals, puppet shows, interviews to puppeteers and traditional spectators. Among its charter aims: the socio-anthropological researches about traditional puppetry and practices; the organization/management of centres for multi-disciplinary documentary research; the foundation of libraries, film archives, and multimedia application centres focusing on identification, documentation and research (including inventorying); the realization of innovation projects; the organization of cultural, theatrical and educational events; the participation in national/international events; publishing activity; networking activity; promotion/realization of programs for the collaboration with public/private, national/international institutions aiming to operate in the research field and promote the exchange of professionals; counselling service to the Regional government.

Domains: (a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; (b) performing arts;
(c) social practices, rituals and festive events; (e) traditional craftsmanship.

Main Safeguarding measures:

a) identification, documentation, research (including inventory-making); b) preservation, protection; c) promotion, enhancement; d) transmission, (non-) formal education; e) revitalization

Among the numerous activities of the Association:

a) identification, documentation, research (including inventory-making)

– the cataloguing, digitizing and inventorying of the patrimony (ab. 4,000 ethnoanthropological items) mainly connected to the puppetry traditions of Sicily and other European and extra-European countries preserved at the “Antonio Pasqualino” International Puppet Museum

– the cataloguing, digitizing and inventorying of the “Giuseppe Leggio” Library ‘s patrimony, collecting ab. 9,000 volumes on anthropology and folk traditions, the Opera dei pupi and puppetry through SBN Unix C/S application of the lstituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico (Central Institute for a Unique Catalogue); 

– the cooperation for the creation of a Libr@rsi website: these activities aim to provide a free, wider and easier fruition of the uploaded on-line catalogue of the Association’s library; 

– the copying, digitizing and inventorying of the Association’s audio-visual patrimony (including ab. 1 ,578 items), with particular reference to the bobbins dating back to the Sixties concerning the Opera dei pupi shows and interviews made by Antonio Pasqualino and Marianne Vibaek; 

– the revision of the Museum’s photo archive which includes white and black photos of the Museum’s collections and the performances; 

b) preservation, protection

– the management of the “Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum”

– the restoring of the Museum’s oldest puppets and its recent promotion through the project “Adotta un pupo” (“Adopt a puppet”- www.adottaunpupo.it) which involves donors who can choose the puppet to restore and be informed about its state the restoring of the oldest advertising posters and backcloths of the Opera dei pupi; 

c) promotion, enhancement 

– the support of the UNESCO application of the Sicilian Opera dei pupi which was proclaimed as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangibile Heritage of Humanity in 2001;

– the organization of cultural activities in collaboration with prestigious national/international institutions: eg. exhibitions, puppets shows, workshops in Italy and abroad; seminars such as “Art and Anthropology”, organized in collaboration with Musée du Quay Branly of Paris; seminars centred on epic stories in the oral and written traditions, such as those organized on the occasion of Morgana’s Festival, or “Storytelling”, being the latter organized in collaboration with the Sicilian Museum Casa Museo Antonino Uccello; the “Convivio musicale. lncontri con l’arte e la musica tradizionale” (A Musical Feast. Meetings with art and traditional music), held in various Sicilian towns, in collaboration with ClDIM (Italian National Committee for Music), which included performances of local story-singers concerning some famous stories of the poetic-musical repertoire, performed according to the traditional executive techniques and staging codes, cunti, which are serialized stories publicly related by wandering storytellers and concerning chivalric epics stemmed from the ancient French Chansons de geste and concerts of folk songs; seminars about the Opera dei pupi and Unesco masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity held in Palermo.

d) transmission, (non-) formal education

– organization of educational activities addressed to various targets aiming to help the oral transmission of the patrimony of knowledge connected to Sicilian puppetry and craftsmanship

– organization of two editions of the II level University master La memoria della mano (“The Memory of Hand”) addressed to graduated students

– organization of educational activities aimed to disadvantaged people (eg. Autistic teenagers) focusing on the therapeutic value of theatrical and puppet activity

e) revitalization

– the organization of the annual Festival di Morgana, organizied since 1965, which is a review of traditional theatrical practices organized in collaboration with international festivals and institutions. lt gives the opportunity to increase the Museum’s collections, promotes the trans-national mobility of cultural operators and the trans-national circulation of artistic and cultural works. lt encourages the intercultural dialogue by adopting an interdisciplinary approach and proposing programmes, which have always promoted an exchange between folk and cultivated theatre, art and music in relation to the field of performing arts, heritage and culture. In its latest five editions, it involved more than 500 artists (www.festivaldimorgana.it)

 the creation of a stable Opera dei pupi company involving the main traditional puppeteers from all over Sicily. This stable collaboration has allowed the organization of ab. 250 traditional Opera dei pupi shows in the last 2 years, and proved to be impressively effective for the promotion and revival of this local tradition.

Main countries where the NGO works: Italy. The Association’s headquarter is in Italy but it organizes exhibitions, performances and educational activities in collaboration with national and international institutions, in Italy and abroad.

Local, national or international level of the NGO: national and international

Since its foundation, the Association has worked in:

Asia: China – Shanghai; Japan; Vietnam – Hanoi
Arab States: lrsael – Haifa, Tunisia – Tunis
Europe: Belgium – Brussels; Corse; Denmark- Copenaghen; France – Charleville-Mezieere, Lyon, Paris; Germany – Bad-Kreuznach, Berlin, Leipzig; Holland -Amsterdam; Ireland – Dublin; Italy; Poland – Kracow, Warszawa; Sweden – Stocholm; Switzerland – Zurich;
America: Brazil- Buones Aires; Canada- Montreal; Venezuela- Carcas; U.S.A.- Chicago, Los Angeles.

Among the most recent activities realized outside Sicily:

I cavalieri della memoria, exhibition and opera dei pupi shows, in Rome (Italy) at the  Museo Nazionale delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari, in collaboration with the Istituto Centrale per la Demoetnoantropologia (Central Institut for the Demoethnoanthropology)

Il Museo internazionale delle marionette di Palermo e l’opera dei pupi a dieci anni dal riconoscimento Unesco, seminar organized on the occasion of the VII seminar of studies and education on the cultural heritage promoted by SIMDEA; 

– a symposium on the intangibile heritages of humanity, organized on the occasion of the II Meeting of the UNESCO Masterpieces on the Land of Olonkho, held in the Russian Federation (Yakutia – Republic of Sakha);

– an exhibition of Sicilian puppets, on the occasion of the international exhibit Tradizione e innovazione. L’Italia in Cina, organized in the People’s  Republic of China (Shanghai) in collaboration with La Triennale di Milano and the Shanghai Group Expo;

– the seminar Il teatro delle marionette siciliane – l’opera dei pupi held in Germany (Bad-Kreuznach) on the occasion of the Festival PINOCCHIO & CO.Italo-Vieles Figurentheater-Festival 

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