From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Archivi nuovi del paesaggio: interrogativi sul ‘postcoloniale italiano’ a partire dal documentario Piccola terra/Small land (2012)

Tania Rossetto e Mauro Varotto


New archives of the landscape: interrogating the 'Italian postcolonial' through the documentary film Piccola terra/Small land (2012). This intervention aims to give resonance to the process of ‘re-visualisation/vitalisation’ of the physical and human landscape of the Brenta Valley (Venetian Fore-Alps), carried out through the documentary film Piccola terra/Small land. Produced by the University of Padua with Trotzdem Film, and directed by Michele Trentini with Marco Romano in collaboration with Paduan geographers, Piccola terra/Small land earned more awards than any other Italian documentary film in 2012. To mark the recent upload of the English version of the documentary on You Tube (, we intend to reflect upon this research/filming experience from a number of perspectives that could be seen as ‘postcolonial’. The film played a crucial role in the ‘Adopt a Terrace in the Brenta Valley’ campaign, launched as a means to promote a functional recovery of this landscape ( Thus, it is a concrete example of how a certain depiction of post-migration phenomena contributes to social engagement and landscape change. The video intervention of Piccola terra/Small land enters the current debate on (geographical) action/public/social-oriented research, as well as the ‘social shift’ now emerging in the university’s ‘third mission’ debates. This need to ‘go public’ has long been implemented within postcolonial research and teaching, mostly in silent and implicit ways. The social impact of academic research has only recently emerged as a new parameter for academic evaluation, and a co-production involving academics and non-academics represents one of the most profitable ways in which tangible, pragmatic results may be achieved. Piccola terra/Small land provides a case in point.




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