What is the Observatory on Memory?


Our historical research area examines the long-term effects of crises, focusing on their structural effects as they define the present. It investigates the impact on territories, with a spotlight on Europe, starting from the recognition that crises disrupt people’s everyday lives and curtail their hopes for progress in certain areas, as well as their emancipation. It treats history as a live reservoir of potential solutions and alternative relations.

Scientific Committee


Giovanni De Luna, Università di Torino

Donald D. Sassoon, Queen Mary University of London

Roberta Garruccio, Università degli Studi di Milano

Sabina Loriga, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Giovanni Conrad Cattini, Universitat de Barcelona

Giandomenico Piluso, Università di Siena

Network (main players)


Università degli Studi di Milano, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr University, Università di Bologna, Giovanni C. Cattini, Universitat de Barcelona, Università degli Studi di Milano, Concordia University, Montreal, Sciences Po, École des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales, Università di Aix-Marseille, Università di Torino, Università degli Studi di Bergamo.

Some of the participants:

Massimo Recalcati, psychoanalyst; Stefano Disegni, Il Fatto Quotidiano; Ètienne Balibar, philosopher; Marta Bellingreri, reporter; Andrea Brazzoduro, historian.

Civic Calendar

An editorial initiative that offers a journey through history made up of sound and visual documents, dialogues, talks by experts and includes site-specific performances and shows. The journey begins with an iconic date and a question, followed by a response by an author, a cultural figure and experts on the subject, and unfolds through paths of investigation, enhanced by images and photographic documents from the Fondazione Feltrinelli archives, audiovisual primary materials as well as creative and artistic grafts.


Che Storia!

A Festival dedicated to history, to remembering humanity’s great turning points and to honour the figures that defined them, juxtaposing the past with the world today. Histories to discover: open examination of primary sources, guided tours of the archives, reading and creative workshops for children. History in the open air: walks through the city to re-familiarize ourselves with their spaces and learn of the events that took place there. History on stage: portraits of figures who made history and who continue to define our present day.

Partecipants include: Olga Misik, teenage Russian activist; Marco Philopat, author; Ariam Tekle, director; Antonio Scurati, author; Marcello Flores, historian. (2020, 2021)


Modern Times 2030

A series of meetings, in association with the Leonardo Foundation – Civilization and Machines to investigate ongoing issues raised by deindustrialisation and identify new directions for development in the face of the challenges of the pandemic. This series of meetings will be held in Genoa, Naples and Taranto, three cities that exemplify the problems raised by the disappearance of industrial Italy.

Partecipants include: Rinaldo Melucci, Mayor of Taranto; Stefan Berger, Ruhr University; Vezio De Lucia, urbanist; Valeria Fascione, Councillor for Internationalization and Innovation, Campania Region; Gaetano Manfredi, ex-Minister for Universities and Research; Giovanna Rosso del Brenna, Università degli Studi di Genova, Marco Bucci, Mayor of Genova. (2020)


Modern Times 2050

A series of open meetings focusing on the theme of industrial districts, analyzing the Italian manufacturing and craft tradition, and emphasizing the importance of skills to create new production networks that encourage percolation between research and training, on the one hand, and the territories’ productive reality on the other. (2020, 2021)

Some of the exhibitions organized by Fondazione Feltrinelli:


Che Lives!
Ernesto Guevara and Latin America as part of Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli’s legacy (2017/2018)

Fifty years after the death of Ernesto Guevara, a journey through the thoughts and political activism that guided the life of one of the 20th century’s main protagonists. Rare photographs, periodicals, posters and monographs from the Foundation’s Bibliographic, iconographic collections and newspaper archives.


1917-2017: A European story called Revolution (2018/2019)

An exhibition created to mark the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution: a political and social journey that constantly shifts from Russia to Europe and back through models, languages and imagery, proceeding from one of the events that most marked the twentieth century, conditioning our definitions of work, progress and social happiness.


Il Progresso Inconsapevole.
The social impacts of the Industrial Revolutions (2019/2020)

An exhibition that in ten stages retraces the junctures and most significant features of the four Industrial Revolutions, to encourage a critical examination of how it has affected modern day changes and ambits. The exhibition comprised the collections of the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, documents from the Historical Labour Archives at Sesto San Giovanni as well as unpublished works by artists from some of Milan’s art Institutes. Power Checkmate!


The right to satire, the need for truth (2021)

An exhibition for discovering how satire operates as a laboratory for social criticism necessary for change and good governance. An exhibition in ten stages, with activities and digital paths, to retrace the testimony that, from the 19th century onwards, speaks of a mobilization to denounce the distortions of the present.

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