SEVENTH EDITION
TORINO, MARCH 24-28, 2021
ONE PLANET, MANY WORLDS

BIENNALE DEMOCRAZIA

Biennale Democrazia is a cultural event promoted by the City of Torino, under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Italy. March 2019 marked its sixth edition. The aim of this initiative is to create and spread a culture of democracy, which can be developed and put into practice. It is an ongoing public workshop focused on the local context, while at the same time issues on a broader scale are also addressed. Biennale Democrazia encourages dialogue and is open to all, with a special welcome for young people. The project is divided into a series of preparatory steps and intermediary stages (workshops for schools, initiatives for young people, discussion sessions and other events) that culminate, every two years, in five days of public events that feature speeches, debates, readings, international forums, seminars and entertainment. All for a more thorough understanding of current issues, and proposals for the involvement of people at the local level.

Following the success of the first edition (April 22-26, 2009), which opened with a lecture by the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, at Torino’s Teatro Regio:

  • The second edition (April 13-17, 2011) had for its theme Everyone. Many. Few. – a reflection on the relationship between democracy and oligarchy.
  • The third edition (April 10-14, 2013) focused on the theme Utopia. Is It Possible? – an overview of utopic visions today.
  • The fourth edition (March 25-29, 2015), entitled Passages, took a look at the great transformations that change the conditions of life and coexistence.
  • The fifth edition (March 29-April 2, 2017), entitled Emergency Exits – a reflection on the crisis of our time, looking for the answers that we need, but also for new paths to tread and to unforeseen opportunities.
  • The sixth edition (March 27-21, 2019), entitled The Visible and the Invisible, focuses on our “very high-visibility world”, where however the blind spots have not disappeared, the understanding of reality is more complicated, the imagination of the future is shut down.

The last edition of Biennale Democrazia counted about 100 events, including lectures, discussions, debates, meetings, readings and workshops, for a total of over 200 hours of involvement at 8 different venues.

The success of Biennale Democrazia is based on the work of a network of more than 70 institutions, organizations and associations. This promotes the circulation of a wide range of ideas, suggestions and proposals, and encourages the active participation of citizens in forging them. An average of 40,000 people participated in each edition – many of them young people and students, through their involvement in training programs offered in 75 schools across the region of Piemonte and elsewhere in Italy. The Biennale Democrazia Campus hosts 200 young people each session – an incredible and unique experience for all.

THEME AND FOCUS OF THE SEVENTH EDITION

The title of the seventh edition of Biennale Democrazia, that will take place in Turin from Wednesday March 24th to Sunday March 28th 2021, is ONE PLANET, MANY WORLDS.
We will start here, with us, inhabitants of an increasingly connected planet, splitting into ever different worlds. BD21 will focus on why shared answers to issues of global significance appears to be so difficult. The Covid-19 pandemic health emergency has highlighted how strongly we depend on the one global context, both in terms of our vulnerability and solidarity, but also how important inter-relational links are, shaping the spaces of citizenry. We live on the same planet Earth, but belong to different worlds. The Environment speaks to how urgent common action is becoming, and how the need for coordinationsurfaces every time primary goods such as life, health or freedom are at stake.
Faced with challenges such as these, there is a strong risk of being seduced by authoritarian shortcuts: will democracies be able to recover the moral and political strength needed to radically change established forms of coexistence? Will the range of human worlds lead us to a Babel of conflicting claims or will we be able to channel efforts towards common goals? Movements, Nation States, intergovernmental or supranational agencies: who will be able to take on the onus of this key mediation? We believe we must never stop questioning and debating: much of our future will depend on the quality of our institutions, societies and citizens.

The senth edition of Biennale Democrazia offers four thematic proposals for reflection and study: Planet-World; Worlds Against; Politics and Other Spheres; New Worlds.

1. Planet-World

In the wake of the pandemic, economic and social crises seem to edge off any short-term concerns. However, they could also force us to seek new ways of addressing global issues that cannot be postponed, starting with the environment. How can we completely rethink the limits of human actions on nature? How can we reform an increasingly vulnerable economic and financial system, precisely in view of the global scale which it operates on? Can global population growth rates be contained, and if so how? Finally, the questions raised by the scientific and technological acceleration are more present than ever: issues relating to artificial intelligence, genetic manipulation, the spread of nano- and biotechnologies.

2. Worlds Against

In recent decades as well as the resurgence of opposing geopolitical blocs all the more so in democratic societies, we have witnessed the spread of new conflicts that have seen the centre opposed to peripheries, elites opposed to people, science to opinion, the many to the few, institutions and society one against the other. It has become urgent to rethink present and future juxtapositions, a product of the social crisis triggered by the health crisis: from increasing economic inequality and the exploitation of labour, to the call for identity policies.

3. Politics and Other Spheres

Economic and technological globalization has accustomed us to politics taking a back seat. However, the global health crisis has once again shed a light on the central role of politics and hence the need to delve into its relationship with other spheres of social life. First of all, science, a key to understanding, unsuitable for decision-making. Then the economy, whose reasons must be balanced against general interest; and lastly, culture, media and opinion-making.

4. Politics and Other Spheres; New Worlds

In times of crisis, our need to turn to the future to shape our world is rekindled: to overcome the sense of helplessness and isolation that have cast a shadow on our lives in the past few months; the need to explore unknown spheres, inside and outside ourselves while retracing paths in literature and the arts to experience different points of view and imagine possible futures.

THE ORGANS OF THE BIENNALE

PRESIDENT

Gustavo Zagrebelsky

GUARANTORS

Alessandro Campi, Franco Cardini, Donatella Della Porta, Anna Foa, Stefano Geuna, Carlo Ossola, Alberto Quadrio Curzio, Mario Rasetti, Chiara Saraceno, Guido Saracco

SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE

Gian Luigi Beccaria, Antonella Besussi, Enzo Bianchi, Tito Boeri, Eva Cantarella, Lucio Caracciolo, Adriana Cavarero, Dino Cofrancesco, Pierpaolo Donati, Jon Elster, Maurizio Franzini, Pietro Garibaldi, Enrico Grosso, Stephen Holmes, Mario Losano, Gian Giacomo Migone, Lorenzo Ornaghi, Gianfranco Pasquino, Carlo Petrini, Paolo Pombeni, Mario Telò, Nadia Urbinati, Sofia Ventura

SCIENTIFIC AND ORGANIZATIONAL COORDINATION

Davide Barberis, Andrea Bobbio, Alessandro Bollo, Luigi Bonanate, Mario Calderini, Cristopher Cepernich, Manuela Ceretta, Luca De Biase, Juan Carlos De Martin, Adriano Favole, Simona Forti, Elisabetta Galeotti, Giorgio Gianotto, Arianna Montorsi, Luisa Passerini, Pier Paolo Portinaro, Enrico Remmert, Paolo Tormena, Cristina Trucco, Pier Giorgio Turi

SCIENTIFIC COORDINATION

Massimo Cuono, Gabriele Magrin