FOCUS Casa dei Diritti Sociali (Rome, Italy)
Jul 14, 2020

What kind of community is this?

The FOCUS volunteer association has been committed to the defence of social rights for over thirty years: integration, defence of vulnerable people, the right to study, an Italian school for foreigners and medical-legal assistance are at the core of their daily activity.


Historical and cultural context

FOCUS is a place where volunteer activists – technicians, experts, doctors, lawyers, social workers, intercultural mediators, teachers – work together to enforce denied rights and to build a new society, founded on the fundamental rights of the person and on intercultural citizenship. The school is based in the City centre, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, a melting pot area where different social classes and cultural backgrounds exist and live together: all the world crosses and lives in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.

Every day FOCUS opens its school and hosts many people coming from different Countries in order to teach them the Italian language and support them in the hard process of the integration with activities such as theatre laboratory and photo lab.

The project of the Theatre Laboratory started in 2013 thanks to Magda Mercatali, an established theatre actress. The main objectives of this project are to help the people to overcome traumas related to the migratory experience, to promote the interreligious dialogue and to sustain an involvement of a wide public in order to blunt prejudice against immigrants. The laboratory lasts six months during which the people prepare a theatrical piece and every year the piece is presented in an historical theatre in Rome, Teatro Belli.

One other project that FOCUS sustains is the Photo Lab: some volunteers of the School have been organising for many years a photographic workshop with students. In 2017/2018 the group was composed from 10 students born in Romania, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Guinea, Perù, Madagascar. They attended theorical and practical lessons and during the class they learnt the art of the photography and through that they had the possibility to narrate their experience at school.


What activities have been carried out together with the communities?

During Hrvoslava Brkušić’s residency – the first artist in residence hosted by Latitudo in April 2018 – the community of FOCUS had collaborated with Latitudo and with the emerging artist. Hrvoslava engaged the FOCUS Theatre Group, made up of young people from various nations (Brazil, Peru, Guinea, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Morocco, Georgia). The workshop she presented was a sonic meditation: the purpose of this workshop was to promote and encourage listening to people in an unusual way. This project was a sort of invitation to contemplate the nature of listening. During the workshop the people were open and willing to share stories, resources with the artist in order to create a better cultural, emotional, and social environment together. The artist, through some questions stimulated people to talk about their families, their countries, their life, to “listen” sounds around them and to remember the sounds and noises of their homelands. Hrvoslava recorded all the stories narrated by the people and all the noises produced by them during the sound meditation and she had used these materials for her the final project of her residency.



Hrvoslava Brkušić (Croatia)