The Giuseppe Di Vagno Foundation (1889-1921)
The Foundation is named after Giuseppe Di Vagno (1889-1921), a Socialist MP, born in Conversano, victim of an attack by fascist squads at Mola di Bari, after which he died on 25 September 1921. It was – a painful record – the first Italian parliamentarian killed by fascists reason why he is often called “the Matteotti del Sud” by analogy with Giacomo Matteotti, kidnapped and killed by the fascists on 10 June 1924.
The Foundation draws its origins and inspiration from the “Giuseppe Di Vagno” Institute of Socialist Culture, based in Bari, established at the end of 1943 by the historian Antonio Lucarelli, for the defense of the values of freedom, mutual respect, dignity of workers and human rights. It was formally reconstituted as a Foundation at the end of the ’70s for exclusively cultural purposes.
It is recognized nationally (Triennial Table of the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities), European (Support of the European Commission, Representation in Italy) and International (member of the network of European culture magazines “Eurozine”).
The Di Vagno Foundation is located in Conversano (province of BARI) inside the historic Monastery of San Benedetto, the so-called Monstrum Apuliae, whose construction dates back to the eleventh century. The headquarters currently occupies about 400 square meters granted by the municipality – owner – on loan for free. The space will be doubled by 2020, with the realization of the project of “granaries of knowledge”, winner of the regional tender “Smart In Puglia – Community Library”.
The “cultural work” and the intense program of the Di Vagno Foundation are based on the Memory that today lives down in the present and in the contemporaneity, with an eye on the Future. In a world in the midst of a democratic, economic and social crisis, nourished by growing inequalities, in a world where the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and particularly freedom of expression are increasingly at risk, it becomes essential to counter populist drifts with the strength of ideas, culture and knowledge, and to contribute to information and to the political education of citizens.
1 – Publications
– In collaboration with the Italian parliament, it has promoted the publication of the organic historiographical research in three volumes (2004, 2006 and 2011) dedicated to Giuseppe Di Vagno;
– It edited other volumes of historical research, on Donato Jaja (ed. Parnaso, 2009), on Carteggio Salvemini-Patrono and on Carteggio Jaia.
– Participate in historical studies and research.
– Publishes the four-monthly review “Quaderni della Fondazione” with the quarterly online supplement “PAGINA” (director Lino Patruno).
– Publish, from 2016, the exhibition catalogs organized by the LIBREXPRESSION Center.
– In 2018 will start the “foundation series” with the publisher Rubbettino.
2 – The Historical Archive of the Socialist and Democratic Memory of Puglia, contains about 60 funds (paper, photographic, audiovisual) of Apulian exponents – not just socialists -, the collection of the socialist newspaper Avanti! from the 1st number of 1893 up to 1926; and various documents and collections of high historical value. The institution of the Historical Archive of Apulian Socialism has concurred to unify the sources of a political movement with national dimension throughout the twentieth century and has been a protagonist, not only regional, among the most original of the Italian socialist tradition, confirmed by scholars and experts. Now, the Archive of Democratic Memory, a priority objective for the Foundation today, has the function not only of collecting documentation but, above all, to study and research in Southern Italy history, whose knowledge could be useful to plan the future, opening to the origin of democratic cultures different from socialism and to regions other than Puglia. The archives of the foundation can be consulted at the following link: https://fondazionedivagno.archiui.it
3 – Library and “I granaries of knowledge” (Fields of Gold)
The Library open to public use, specialized in contemporary history, updated annually, contains currently about 14,000 volumes. Member of the Italian library system SBN, it is recognized as a public institution of local interest, with provision of the Regional Council n. 327 of 11/03/2008.
As part of the project, under construction, “The granaries of knowledge“, the Library will become the new vital center of the Foundation with the role of a modern institute of culture based on memory and projected into the future. It is a project of COMMUNITY LIBRARY, alive and lived 365 days a year. With a specific interest in the transformations and the great changes that cross the world, the aim is to offer innovative services for the promotion of reading and culture while at the same time constituting a privileged place for the participation and cultural cohesion of the community. It activity is at the intersection between the particular characteristic of the book heritage of the foundation of a specialized nature (almost unique in its genre for Puglia) and the natural continuation of the activities that constitute the pillars of the mission of the Di Vagno foundation, i.e.: training, seminars, festivals, exhibitions, research and publications. It has a territorial, national, European and Euro-Mediterranean dimension.
The aim is to promote the culture of legality, to actively contribute to education, training and knowledge not only of the territory’s population, including immigrants settling in Italy, but also that of the closest countries, particularly the Balkans, and of the Southern shores of the Mediterranean. The bet is that the knowledge of Italian and European culture can become an instrument of peace, friendship and collaboration. So, the goal will also be the Europeanization and internationalization of cultural promotion activities.
In this context the “Granaries of Knowledge” are conceived as a hinge between the Mediterranean and Europe.
4 – Events, conferences, exhibitions and festivals
The Foundation organizes annually:
– Historical, documentary and political satire exhibitions
– Study Conferences;
– Since 2004, the annual European cultural and political festival “LectorinFabula“, (www.lectorinfabula.eu) and, from 2017, its complement “LectorinTavola“.
– The “School for Good Policy”, aimed at young high school and university students.
5 – Two-year Research Prize Giuseppe di Vagno
The Foundation manages the two-year research prize Giuseppe Di Vagno – in agreement with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage – established by Law 15.6.2015 n.86, of the amount of € 40,000.00 reserved for research doctors of Italian and foreign aged less than 32.
LIBREXPRESSION Euro-Mediterranean Center
Since 2017, under the impulsion of Thierry Vissol, which ensures its direction, the Foundation hosts the Euro-Mediterranean LIBREXPRESSION Center, for the promotion of freedom of expression and political satire, the cornerstone of democracy and human rights.
The center is also part of the “granaries of knowledge” area. It will allow the Foundation to continue the training activities and to start new experiences of active citizenship and participation, linked to freedom of expression and the right to information. The purpose is of being able to provide to young people, young students in particular and to citizens in general, tools, methods and a culture to promote a healthy democratic debate, based on the contradictory discussions, where the arguments go beyond the slogans and the invectives.