Gabriele Magrin, 48 years-old, is the coordinator of Biennale Democrazia since its first edition in 2009. His task is to manage the development of the entire programme, from the moment when the general theme come to light to the management of each specific event.

“We begin to build the new edition about one year and half before – he explains – usually during the summer, when our advisory panel choose the main subject. Then we start a second phase, identifying a series of sub-topics that will become the paths of the official programme and in parallel selecting our guests”.

Why did you choose Emergency Exits as a theme for Biennale Democrazia 2017?

We looked at the last two years and we found that it was more and more evident that after happennings such as the terroristic attack against Bataclan in Paris, the millions of refugees who are crossing Mediterranean Sea to escape from war, or the crisis of democracy in several European countries we can’t avoid to analyse these emergencies. Our aim is to reflect on these problems in a critical way for better understanding how we can overcome them. On the other hand, we want to talk about phenomena which are emerging such as new ways of life and the impact of digital technologies on several aspects of our daily life.

On 2nd March 2017 you are going to present the official programme of the next edition. Can you disclose something more about it?

After one year and half of working, the programme includes several areas of interest. The first area we will explore is related to problems that we can’t neglect, such as the growth of inequality, terrorism, refugees, and climate change. Secondly, we will reflect about the fear and the disorientation we can feel facing these problems and which risk to prevent us to see correctly our future. Nonetheless, there are also best practises that are arising in these years and which deserve to be deepen because they are successful and they can help us to determine new standards, more suitable to this age. All these phenomena often take place in two specifical contexts, Europe and the cities, which are the protagonists of a dedicate focus.

Partnership is a keyword of Biennale Democrazia…

Yes, I like to say it is a collective venture. I can affirm that our programme is the result of the engangement of a number of civic entities and this year we are really pleased by the participation of the citizens. About a fourth of our one hundred events come from ideas suggested by people and associations, a number which demonstrate that they not only want to attend our panels but they are actually key players.

In your opinion, how is Biennale Democrazia changed in these years?

Nowadays Biennale Democrazia is known as one of the principle place for debating in Italy. When we invite panelists, very often their first answer is “I feel honoured to join”. Many of them live this participation as a way to demonstrate their civic engagement. Moreover, the forms of debate has changed and now it involves different kinds of art, such as theatre, photography and documentary.

 Biennale Democrazia is now looking not only to the Italian audience…

Since the beginning, we have had many foreign panelists and we are keeping on the same way, with a growing number of English spoken panels. I guess it is a natural evolution that Biennale Democrazia become more and more an international event. With the aim to facilitate participation, during last edition, we launched the possibility to book online a seat through, paying 5 euros. The reservation system will open again this year from 6 March 2017.