A pluriversity of points of view and practices for living territories

Punti di Vista(Italian for ‘points of view’) and its enchanting premises of the Franciscan convent overlooking the volcanic lake of Bolsena hold a special place in the story how WEGO came into being, as the idea to create an international research project in feminist political ecology was first discussed at a meeting there in Italy. And a few years later, here we are with WEGO in full swing, and Punti di Vista as one of its project partners!

Since 1993 the association Punti di Vista has been building a creative cultural space for civic groups, activists, scholars and artists to come together to imagine sustainable futures at the beautiful Convento S. Maria del Giglio in central Italy. Punti di Vista envisions itself as a ‘pluriversity’ and organises international youth exchanges, study trips, residential seminars, workshops and trainings, summer schools, cultural events and life-long education initiatives in collaboration with public administrations, both formal and informal, and grounded in environmental awareness, consumption and waste reduction, recycling of materials, biological and natural production and consumption as well as gender equality and international solidarity. Slow and ecological tourism – being situated along the pilgrim route Via Francigena, Punti di Vista also offers accommodation to those wanderers whose paths lead them through Bolsena.  

Since 1993 the association Punti di Vista has been building a creative cultural space for civic groups, activists, scholars and artists to come together to imagine sustainable futures at the beautiful Convento S. Maria del Giglio in central Italy. Punti di Vista envisions itself as a ‘pluriversity’ and organises international youth exchanges, study trips, residential seminars, workshops and trainings, summer schools, cultural events and life-long education initiatives in collaboration with public administrations, both formal and informal, and grounded in environmental awareness, consumption and waste reduction, recycling of materials, biological and natural production and consumption as well as gender equality and international solidarity. Slow and ecological tourism – being situated along the pilgrim route Via Francigena, Punti di Vista also offers accommodation to those wanderers whose paths lead them through Bolsena.  

Punti di Vista logo

Since 1993 the association Punti di Vista has been building a creative cultural space for civic groups, activists, scholars and artists to come together to imagine sustainable futures at the beautiful Convento S. Maria del Giglio in central Italy. Punti di Vista envisions itself as a ‘pluriversity’ and organises international youth exchanges, study trips, residential seminars, workshops and trainings, summer schools, cultural events and life-long education initiatives in collaboration with public administrations, both formal and informal, and grounded in environmental awareness, consumption and waste reduction, recycling of materials, biological and natural production and consumption as well as gender equality and international solidarity. Slow and ecological tourism – being situated along the pilgrim route Via Francigena, Punti di Vista also offers accommodation to those wanderers whose paths lead them through Bolsena.  

In 2019 WEGO mentor Sabrina Aguiari’s long standing collaboration with Tulane University New Orleans brought about in the celebration of the XII edition of their Summer School in Food Security and Resilience at Punti di Vista.

Katherine Gibson from Western Sydney University, a WEGO partner, and the Community Economies Research Network (CERN)have also been regular visitors at the convent, where in June 2019 they organised the first edition of the Community Economies Summer School: Postcapitalist Politics in Practicetogether with Sabrina, attended by PhD candidate Nanako Nakamura. Further weaving of WEGO network connections happened in August 2019 when Punti di Vista hosted a Feminist Writing Retreat during which young and experienced scholars and activists experimented with creative methodologies to collectively think-and-sense through the theory and practice of feminist political ecology. 4 of our WEGO PhD researchers reflect on their experience in this Undisciplined Environments blog post.

Participants of the feminist writing retreat at the convent. Photo: WEGO

Being based in Rome and only 2 hours from Bolsena, Anna had the privilege to spend time with Sabrina at the convent on several occasions since the start of WEGO. There she could get a glimpse of how a series of territorial struggles is unfolding behind the idyllic landscape of the lake and surroundings. Local environmental groups and activists are protesting against the expansion of chemical-intensive hazelnut monocultures, the planned megaproject of a geothermal energy plant and the environmental effects of an envisaged 5G telecommunication roll-out. They are contesting the extractivism afflicting their territory by coming up with creative ideas: Hanging bed sheets with messages of resistance and regeneration from balconies and trees, or organising a flash mob to ‘hug the lake’ by forming a human chain of bodies holding hands along the shores. 

Campaigning for solar energy, biodiversity, food sovereignty, water as a common good and participatory processes of local decision-making around the lake of Bolsena. Photo retrieved from: FB Abbraccio del Lago
Bed sheets turned into political banners. Photo: Anna Katharina Voss
Photo retrieved from: FB Abbraccio del Lago
Affective naturecultures in action – hugging the lake… Photo retrieved from: FB Abbraccio del Lago
Lago di Bolsena – a lake to love. Photo retrieved from: FB Convento S. Maria Del Giglio, Bolsena

A lake to hug and a lake to love – ‘un lago da amare’, that was the name of 3 weeks of environmental awareness activities Punti di Vista participated at, together with many other local groups and public administrations from the different municipalities around the lake in summer 2019. The health of the lake and its surrounding lands are intertwined – Sabrina and Anna have worked together on writing a proposal for an EU citizen science project to measure the risk of the lake’s glyphosate pollution from intensive agriculture, building on local environmental groups’ expertise such as BLEU Bolsena Lago de Europa. But as contract farming and monocultures are on the rise in the region, so are alternative networks of peasant agriculture, cultivating a radically different vision of the territory based on small-scale regenerative farming practices, agrobiodiversity, participatory guarantee systems, and regional farmers markets.

Local, fresh and ecological produce at the Xmas farmer market at the convent. Photos: Anna Katharina Voss

All roads lead to Rome, but Anna found that many also lead to Bolsena and the Tuscia region. When she first met some members of the farmers network Comunità Rurale Diffusa at the 3-day annual autumn meeting of the Italy-wide food sovereignty movement Genuino Clandestinoin Rome in October, during a chat she found out that they knew Sabrina and just a few days earlier they had thought of organising a market at the convent. And so it was, in December Sabrina and Anna got up early in the morning to help them set up their tables in the cloister. Fresh vegetables, bread, cheese, jams, honey but also baskets, clothes, lamps from local artisans, bookstands… and food, mulled wine and live accordion music. The convent was filled with people, young and old, bursting with conviviality in a lived counternarrative of care-full relationalities rooted in the territory.

More than just a market: local products, yoga, a recycling workshop for kids, food and live music. Photo retrieved from: FB Comunità Rurale Diffusa

The market continued to cultivate agri-culture in 2020 until Covid-19 has disrupted our lives and interrupted the activities at the convent. Also WEGO’s annual training lab was planned to be held at Punti di Vista in June 2020. Due to the health emergency and travel restrictions, we are forced to move our gathering to an online format but all hope to be able to come together at the convent again in the near future!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.