art francesco square

Rethinking Photographic Portraiture of 21st Century Italian Migrants on the Arc Lémanique area

, - ,

the fab, 4th floor, petal 2

Add to Calendar

Contemporary history has identified three big Italian migration movements to Switzerland: the big diaspora of the end of the 19 th century, the period between the First and the Second World Wars and the diaspora movement from the end of the Second World War until the 1970s. After the Schwarzenbach initiatives and the oil crisis of the 1970s, Italian migration to Switzerland has decreased. However, with the beginning of the 2007 – 2008 global economic crisis, Italy has witnessed a large new diaspora movement to the traditional countries of migration. Academic studies have found that the most diffused narrative on the brain drain phenomenon is over-simplistic and needs to be re-examined and updated; notably that this diaspora in the age of globalization has new and complex layers.

The aim of this research is to re-think photographic portrayals of the cultural identity of Italian migrants of the 21 st century in the area between Lausanne and Geneva in Switzerland (arc lémanique). The work reflects on issues related to the formation of cultural identity formation of the migrant as a continuing experience and to the sense of belonging to a space which becomes a known place after years of residency. How can an image capture a complex, ineffable, and un-representable notion of modern Italian cultural identity? Furthermore, how can an image represent the cultural identity of a
group of people whose lives have been changed by the experience of physically migrating to a terra incognita?


Francesco Arese Visconti (1971) is Director of the School of Communications Programs and Deputy Academic Director at Webster University Geneva where he teaches visual communication courses. As a member of the research faculty, he focuses his work on migration processes in Switzerland and in Italy. In 2012, he published the book ‘New World – Stories of African Immigration and Integration in Switzerland.’ In 2015, Arese Visconti completed two projects on the Italian-Chinese community in Prato (Italy): ‘Hidden Identity – The Italian-Chinese community in Prato’ and ‘We, Prato.’ His latest work is about Italian migration in the Swiss Confederation. Ten images from this research project were exhibited in 2015 at the EXPO in Milan and are part of his research at the Centre for Research and Education in Art and Media of the University of Westminster (UK) where he obtained his Ph.D.


This event may be filmed, recorded and/or photographed on behalf of the Geneva Graduate Institute. The Institute may use these recordings and photographs for internal and external communications for information, teaching and research purposes, and/or promotion and illustration through its various media channels (website, social media, newsletters).

By participating in this event, you are agreeing to the possibility of appearing in the aforementioned films, recordings and photographs, and their subsequent use by the Institute.

For further information, please consult our privacy policy, our FAQ or contact us directly: events@graduateinstitute.ch.