PRIN – Atlas of Local Televisions (ATLas)

PRIN 2020 – Principal investigator: Luca Barra

The project investigates and maps the understudied history of local private television channels in Italy between 1976 and 1990. ATLas explores the start of legal over-the-air local transmission, the adventurous early years, the consolidation of some experiences, the failures of others; it investigates the influences of local broadcasting on aesthetics, programming and audiences, until the formal establishment of a national duopoly reducing the space for such players. The research focuses on five particularly relevant channels (Antenna 3, Sardegna 1, TeleRoma56, TeleSanterno, Videogruppo), in five regions (Lombardia, Sardegna, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Piemonte), both tracing their multilayered histories and inserting them in the evolution of the Italian media system and in the wider socio-cultural history. Despite the direct and indirect influence of these players in shaping the national media environment in the last four decades, the lack of accessibility to their archives and the limited knowledge on their evolutions has left local television networks at the margins of academic research. Therefore, the project adopts a cutting-edge methodological framework, which brings together television production and distribution cultures, film and media history, oral, social and local history, studies on archives and infrastructures, to adopt a systemic approach able to investigate local channels and their historical expansion. ATLas deepens our understanding of this phenomenon by: 1. accessing and mapping data, materials and formal and informal archives; 2. conducting in-depth interviews to professionals, audiences and other stakeholders; 3. reconstructing the connections, the influences, the circulation of best practices, ideas and programming in the field. At the same time, the project will build an accessible and long-term online platform where video clips from these networks’ shows, photographs, documents and research resources are collected and made available in two ways: 1. as a searchable database to navigate all the content, which will be indexed and classified following the international standards and practices for digital audiovisual archives, part of the AMS Historica collections (Università di Bologna); and 2. through the curation of a dozen digital exhibitions, built over the database and offering preferential navigation paths across it, to highlight specific topics (i.e. histories of the five local channels, genres, performers) and allow a wider access to research data and results, following state-of-the-art practices enhancing the cultural and social value of audiovisual heritage. Thanks to a wide network of national and local institutions and other stakeholders, ATLas also disseminates its outcomes, along the three years of research, through: three workshops and a final conference; outreach activities with students and other interested audiences; presentations at key events; special issues and articles in open-access journals and volumes.

  • Università di Bologna: Luca Barra (Principal Investigator), Giulia Allegrini, Luca Antoniazzi, Matteo Marinello, Emiliano Rossi
  • Università degli Studi di Cagliari: Diego Cavallotti (responsabile)
  • Sapienza Università di Roma: Damiano Garofalo (responsabile), Luana Fedele, Lidia Piccioni
  • Università degli Studi di Torino: Riccardo Fassone (responsabile), Vincenzo Idone Cassone, Giovanna Maina