Becoming a citizen - PhMuseum

Becoming a citizen

ISABELLA FRANCESCHINI

2017 - Ongoing

Italy

12-year-old Michelle is one of the youngest Mayors in Italy. “A voice for us” is the political slogan for Michelle’s second electoral campaign in Castel San Pietro Terme. An Italian Parliament law set up the participation of children in political bodies in 1997. Children’s Municipal Councils are organized in the same way as any Adult City Council. Together, these young people decide which social initiatives they should take to the Adult Council meetings. In this way, children are taking an active part in the social life of their small towns.

Castel San Pietro Terme is one of only 151 municipalities (1%), which have such a democratic group out of a total of 7954 Italian Municipalities. In Europe, you can find them in France, Croatia, Romania, Hungary and Switzerland. The average age of these groups is between 9 and 14. Michelle was elected Deputy Mayor two years ago at the age of 10.

Michelle is not a child prodigy; she is an ordinary young girl, bursting with positivity and passion. She has projects and plans and she knows what she wants to achieve. She wants to make sure that local traditions, such as homemade pasta and the local dialect, do not fade into the past. She wants to save the planet from plastic spread, dreaming the world a better place to live in the future.

For millennia, humans have always felt the need to live in a society with others. In the 4th Century B.C. Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a political animal” because the typical form of social life is “poleis”. Politics comes from this ancient Greek word.

Michelle and her friends are the citizens of tomorrow. They play together, they dream and they start thinking about politics, from a very young age. This is not the divisive politics of the left and the right but the politics of productive debate and bringing people together. They identify with the concept of internationalism and globalism. Not long from now, they will be helping society adjust to the myriad of opportunities that the future will bring.

I want to extend my work in France because Children’s Municipal Councils first were born there in 1979 and it could be interesting to compare how children in different country of Europe are thinking about.

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  • ITA, Bologna, October 20th, 2018. Michelle lies in her father's car. She spent the morning walking up the portico to the Basilica of San Luca at the top of the hill in Bologna, She officially participated in the annual ceremony "Passamano per San Luca" remembering the human chain which allowed the materials to be carried for the construction of the portico and the Basilica in 1677. As Deputy Mayor, she has represented the children of Castel San Pietro Terme in the historical parade. For millennia, humans have always felt the need to live in a society with others. In the 4th Century B.C. Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a political animal” because the typical form of social life is “poleis”. Politics comes from this ancient Greek word.
    Michelle and her friends are the citizens of tomorrow.

  • ITA, Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, Hall of the City Council, Palazzo D'Accursio, May 24th, 2018. Michelle reviews her report on the social activities carried out in 2018. She will speak as Deputy Mayor of Castel San Pietro Terme. Michelle was elected as Deputy Mayor in 2017, at 10-years-old. The elections were held in the schools first and then in the Municipality. During the campaign, she convinced many local children to vote for her on the basis of her electoral program. The vote was secret in a ballot box.At least once a month Michelle takes part in the Children City Council meeting to discuss and decide which social initiatives she should take to the next Adult City Council meeting as spokesperson. Many proposals have been put forward. In this way, the children are taking an active part in the social life of their town.

  • ITA, Verona, Valeggio sul Mincio, April 15th, 2018. Michelle is sitting on a stone wall after running in the Sigurtà Garden-Park located in Valeggio sul Mincio, a small historical village. She visited the garden with their parents after performing in a concert at the Smeraldo Theatre the day before.She is an ordinary young girl, bursting with positivity and passion.

  • ITA,Bologna,Castel San Pietro Terme, September 28th, 2019. Children's Municipaly Council has organized the Plogging Marathon to pick up litter on the run in the green parks of the town. They finish their run with full bags with 85 kilos of trash. Children play together doing something good for the environment.The citizens of tomorrow dream they can make the world a better place to live in the future.

  • ITA, Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, November 11th, 2017. Michelle has just finisced her side-blowing flute class at the School of Music in Castel San Pietro Terme. She has been attending flute classes since she was six and she dreams of playing the flute in her small town official band together with her father Paride who is playing the trumpet. Michelle is not a child prodigy; she is an ordinary young girl, bursting with positivity and passion. She has projects and plans and she knows what she wants to achieve.

  • ITA, Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, November 25th, 2017. Michelle helps her great-grandmother Nerina, 93-years-old. They are preparing 'tortellini', homemade pasta, in the basement room of her paternal grandparents' home. Grandmother Gianna gives them the last egg. Michelle is closely tied to family traditions. 'Tortellini' is her favourite dish, one of the symbols of the region where she lives. She wants to make sure that local traditions, such as homemade pasta and the local dialect, don't fade into the past.

  • ITA,Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, Hall of the City Council, Palazzo D'Accursio, May 24th, 2018. Michelle takes part to the Students Parliament for the social activities carried out in 2018. She will speak as Deputy Mayor of Castel San Pietro Terme. Michelle was elected as Deputy Mayor in 2017, at 10-years-old. The elections were held in the schools first and then in the Municipality. During the electoral campaign, she convinced many children to vote for her on the basis of her program. Children’s Municipal Councils are organized in the same way as any Adult City Council. Michelle and her friends are the citizens of tomorrow. They play together, they dream and they start thinking about politics, from a very young age.

  • ITA, Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, Dicember 1st, 2018. After feeding the fishes, Michelle plays with the so called Sebastian and Goldfish, her new two friends to dreams of. Her grandmother Gianna has won the two red fishes in a local lottery.

  • ITA, Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, January 12, 2019. Michelle is preparing to beat Nina to become Mayor. This is the last round of the election where the candidates illustrate the programs before the secret vote in the ballot box.

  • ITA,Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, June 6th, 2019. Michelle goes downstairs at the end of the assembly in the Town Hall. 12-year-old Michelle is one of the youngest Mayors in Italy. An Italian Parliament law set up the participation of children in political bodies in 1997. The citizens of tomorrow dream they can make the world a better place to live in the future.

  • ITA, Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, Aprile 25th, 2018. Michelle hugging her grand father, Giuseppe, 84-years-old a former bersagliere soldier (light infantry soldier), here surrounded by the Italian Alpin troops on the Liberation Day. Michelle loves historical tradition and takes part in the street parade of her small town as Deputy Mayor and pays tribute to the victims of WWII who fought for freedom.Michelle and her friends are the citizens of tomorrow. They play together, they dream and they start thinking about politics, from a very young age.

  • ITA,Bologna, Castel San Pietro Terme, Dicember 17th, 2017.Michelle is relaxing at home on the sofa in the living room, wearing her Christmas hat and hugging her reindeer soft toy. She is decorating the Christmas tree with her Mother, Valeria.


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