Nicole Gercke

Lecturer, Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies (COLA) ~ Italy

 

A view of the Piazza Maggiore
A view of the Piazza Maggiore

In June and July of 2019, with the aid of a grant from the UNH Global Education Center, Nicole traveled to Bologna to strengthen our institutional partnership with the Cineteca di Bologna, the University of Bologna, and other cultural and academic organizations. The specific focus of this trip was to further develop the Italian Studies program’s proposal for a summer Study Abroad program hosted by the Department of Classics, Humanities and Italian Studies. Her aim was to identify resources that could be incorporated into their proposed program and courses offerings, including museums, cultural centers, monuments, events, local scholars, and the Cinema Ritrovato festival. The program and courses intend to address topics such as the role of the University of Bologna in the city’s history and development; technological and medical research that has taken place at the university and in the city; the city’s rich intellectual history, artistic production, and reputation for political engagement; the region’s renowned culinary reputation and traditions; and a cinema course structured in part around the Cinema Ritrovato. She visited many of the museums located around the city, including the Museum of the History of Bologna, the Medieval Museum, the Museum of Science and Natural History, the Archiginnasio and Anatomical Theater, the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the Resistance, the Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO), numerous churches, the many traditional food markets, public gardens and community arts initiatives, and generally explored the city, famous for its portico-lined streets and architectural variety. She also researched potential day-excursions for the program which included visits to culturally important nearby cities (Rimini, Ravenna, and Verona) and small medieval hill towns in the area (Brisighella and Dozza). Additionally, Nicole spoke with several contacts at the Cineteca of Bologna, including the Cinema Ritrovato coordinator, Guy Borlée, to organize an experiential component of the program in the forms of workshops and internships with the Cineteca of Bologna, as well as the possibility for students to pursue undergraduate research projects.

The previous summer (2018), with the generous help of UNH Global, Nicole and Italian Studies Associate Professor Amy Boylan had gone to Bologna to lay the groundwork for bringing a traveling edition of the world-renowned festival of restored and rediscovered films, Il Cinema Ritrovato, to UNH and the Seacoast, and to identify how the program might incorporate this festival in Bologna into a study abroad curriculum. Their research resulted in a very successful first edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato on Tour in New Hampshire, which took place from March 19-24, and featured eight film screenings which reflected the spirit of the festival by showcasing films from different eras and from around the world: the lineup included films from the silent era to the 1970s, and were produced in Italy, Mexico, China, and Senegal. The Cinema Ritrovato coordinator, Guy Borlée, came to introduce the festival and gave a lecture to students, professors, and members of the general public.

The Archiginnasio of Bologna in Italy
The Archiginnasio of Bologna in Italy

This year, Nicole also spent much of her time addressing the more practical aspects of organizing the study abroad program, including identifying options for housing, outsourced language instruction, co-curricular language partners and activities, and other logistical elements. She toured and spoke with the directors and instructors of five language schools, the result of which was the program identifying the impressive Accademya Lingue as the school with whom they will outsource the language courses, should the proposal be approved. She also spoke with the directors of several other US university study abroad programs based in Bologna as well as with faculty members at the University of Bologna to coordinate housing, classroom space, and co-curricular activities.

Finally, Nicole attended the 2019 edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato held from June 22-30, with the double objective of understanding how best to incorporate the festival into the study abroad program and getting a preliminary idea of which films the Italian Studies program will be bringing to the festival hosted by UNH and the Musical Hall in March 2020. During the festival, she spoke extensively with the directors and students of study abroad programs from Brown University, UC-Santa Cruz, and Trinity College, among others, who were in Bologna specifically to attend the festival and was able to discuss with them their experiences of the festival – from the perspective of both the coordinators and the students. During the festival, Nicole and Guy Borlée began to discuss which films to bring to NH, and after much consultation between Guy, the Music Hall, and the Italian Studies faculty, we are now finalizing the lineup, which will again bring a range of well and lesser-known international restored films to the Seacoast.

View of Fontana di Nettuno in the Quadrilatero (Old Market)
View of Fontana di Nettuno in the Quadrilatero (Old Market)

Nicole and the Italian Studies program are very grateful to UNH Global for this grant, and have come away from this trip having made significant progress in the development of both the course offerings and the logistical organization of the study abroad program, all of which was made possible thanks to the opportunity to explore Bologna in-person and meet with representatives of the Cineteca and future collaborators. We look forward to continuing to develop this relationship between UNH and the Cineteca di Bologna!