PRIN - Italian Feminist Photography. Identity Politics and Gender Strategies

PRIN 2020 – Principal Investigator: Federica Muzzarelli

The IFP (Italian Feminist Photography) project sets out to analyse the contribution of women to the history of Italian photography, within a framework of the progressive spread of demands for feminist emancipation and identity, according to the most recent perspectives offered by gender and feminist studies. The reflection will also be extended to practices which, while outside of any militant positions, helped to underline a specific policy of construction of the female imagination and different self-assertion strategies. Aiming to study and enhance the presence and role of women photographers in Italy, and highlight the effective circulation of their work, the research will be divided among the three identified research sites, each investigating three different channels through which both explicit and militant, as well as implicit and/or anticipatory, feminism can be framed in history: 1) magazines and periodicals, starting from specialist art and photography publications, which promoted the works and fostered critical and interpretative readings, 2) the catalogues and materials tracing their presence in national exhibitions, events and shows, 3) private and public archives, as well as collections and museums, which over time have kept and structured these works. The research of documentary sources (articles and essays), and the mapping of public and private institutions that have safeguarded these contributions, will be studied starting from a gender standpoint – linked to the study of social, cultural, philosophical and historical dynamics defining identities and viewpoints – which will lead to an understanding, by comparison, of which photographic models and paradigms dominated feminist photography in Italy.

For social and cultural impacts not solely addressed to scholars, but which can become a heritage and knowledge for the community, the IFP project uses digital languages and competences based on the most recent digital humanities experiments. Using the resources of the virtual and augmented reality laboratory (VARlab/University of Bologna), this impact can be developed along two lines. The first linked to the implementation of a research web interface (Italian Feminist Photographers Archive) that combines the results of the project and the research material collected in a repository. The second intended for the experimentation of web XR environments able to recreate and offer interactive spaces in which the events and exhibitions linked to feminist photography in Italy, studied with philological and historical rigour, can be reconstructed and experienced virtually, accompanying users to understand the historical, social and cultural context, raising awareness and collective knowledge of gender issues with a perspective of economic and political impact on contemporary society.
Socio-economic skills will be involved in dissemination, communication and digital storytelling activities in order to promote IFP project.
This project is one of the research activities of the FAF group (

Research partnership

Università di Bologna: Federica Muzzarelli (Principal Investigator), Massimo Giovanardi, Stefano Marino, Gustavo Marfia, Giorgia Ravaioli

Università di Parma: Cristina Casero (Local coordinator), Roberta Gandolfi

Università di Catania: Raffaella Perna (Local coordinator)

Università Roma Tre: Lara Conte