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Rice Songs
Research and workshops
Ferrara 2022

An ongoing research project which  explores the local history of rice in collaboration with the women from the Choir of the Mondine from Porporana – a choir who keeps alive the history of the ‘mondine’, seasonal workers in the rice fields of various areas of the Po Valley between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

From May until July, the mondine could be found knee-deep in flooded rice fields, clearing the water from weeds in order to allow rice to grow. The paddy fields often resounded with the sound of the weeders’ protest songs, polyphonic call-and-response songs often denouncing miserable working conditions, which are still sung by various choirs of women in Italy.

From Feb to August 2022 we will be collecting oral histories of rice weeders and think about their legacy with a group of young people in Ferrara, reflecting on how past struggles speak to the present and bringing history into dialogue with the current moment. The project runs from February to August 2022, and it will be open to the public in May and June 2022 through a series of workshops.

It will also be shared to the public through a film which will be realised later in 2022.

The project is led by Angelica Bollettinari. 

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