UNIDEE – University of Ideas is the formative programme developed by the Educational Office at Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto Onlus, an artistic project conceived by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1998 and located in Biella, Italy.

UNIDEE - University of Ideas CONTACTS
Phone +39 015 0991462

UNIDEE - University of Ideas
Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto
13900 Biella, via Serralunga 27 - Italy



About Biella
Cittadellarte is located within the grade listed premises of the former Trombetta Wool Mill, a testimony of Biella’s past as one of the first European hubs within the textile industry.
Biella is a city of almost 50,000 inhabitants, located at 30 km from Ivrea, 75 Km from Turin, 85 km from Aosta, 100 km from Milan and 160 Km from Genoa. Biella is known for its textile industry, the beauty of its nature (it is located at the foot of the Alps), its rice fields, for its flora and fauna, for its water springs and as a pilgrimage destination. 



About Cittadellarte 

Cittadellarte’s aim is to inspire and produce a responsible change in society through ideas and creative projects. Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto was instituted in 1998 as a concrete action of the Progetto Arte Manifesto, where Michelangelo Pistoletto proposed a new role for the artist: that of placing art in direct interaction with all the areas of human activity which form society.

Cittadellarte is dedicated to the study, experimentation and development of practices translating the symbol of the Third Paradise into realty, implying it into every sector of society. It is a great laboratory, hosting many young artists, which generates unedited processes of development in diverse fields of culture, production, economics and politics.

Cittadellarte is a vibrant international network of cultural and social innovators, individuals actively interlaced with their social contexts where they often act as catalyst of change. The interrelationship
between people and projects is based on a common vision whose roots lie in an accumulative thought&practice process, developed by a wide range of thinkers, managers, innovators of all field. Pistoletto’s work, from the 60s to today, acts as a pumping brain for Cittadellarte’s communities.
Cittadellarte has developed an extensive networks of collaborations with Institutions (various United Nations Agencies, Ministries, Universities and Educational Organizations) global enterprises and local businesses, civil society collectives, organizations and individuals from all fields.



Working and living spaces at Cittadellarte
All UNIDEE - University of Ideas' participants have free access to

Participants will be assigned a single room, with shared bathroom facilities. There is access to a communal laundry area. For participants that stay for longer period there are two apartment with single rooms, shared bathrooms and kitchen with living room.

Getting to Cittadellarte by public transport

By train
The closest train station to Cittadellarte is Biella San Paolo. Cittadellarte is a twenty minutes walk from the station, or a five minute taxi ride. As transport schedules vary and trains can be infrequent, please check beforehand on, according to your date and time of arrival.

By plain (+ bus/train) 
Milano Malpensa Airport (MXP) 
Option 1:
From Malpensa airport, Terminal A or B, board a stn bus to Novara train station (timaetable here - tickets should be bought on board, paid in cash). Journey time: 50 min. From Novara train station, board the direct train to Biella San Paolo (tickets to be bought and validated before boarding the trains).
Option 2:
Take the train to Milano Centrale or the Malpensa shuttle ( and then from Milano Stazione Centrale board the direct train to Torino Porta Nuova and then change in either Novara or Santhià for the direct connection to Biella San Paolo (tickets to be bought and validated before boarding the trains).

Torino Caselle Airport (TRN)
Outside Arrivals board a Sadem Bus to Torino Porta Nuova (timetable here - Cost: € 6.50; tickets should be bought at the ticket machine). Journey time: 40 min. From Torino Porta Nuova station, get on the direct train to Milano Centrale and get off at Santhià, where you can change train and board the direct connection to Biella San Paolo. (tickets to be bought and validated before boarding the trains).

Milano Linate Airport (LIN)
From the Arrivals area, board the direct bus to Milano Centrale (timetable here). From Milano Stazione Centrale board the direct train to Torino Porta Nuova and then change in either Novara or Santhià for the direct connection to Biella San Paolo (tickets to be bought and validated before boarding the trains).

Orio al Serio, Bergamo Airport (BGY)
From the Arrivals area, board the Orioshuttle to Milano Stazione Centrale (schedules can be found here). From Milano Stazione Centrale board the direct train to Torino Porta Nuova and then change in either Novara or Santhià for the direct connection to Biella San Paolo (tickets to be bought and validated before boarding the trains).



I’m not that familiar with geography: where is Cittadellarte located?
Cittadellarte is located in Biella, a city in the Italian region of Piedmont (North-West). Biella is just under one hour train ride from Turin and two from Milan.

What’s the closest railway station to get to Cittadellarte?
The train station for Biella is called Biella San Paolo.

Which airports are close to Cittadellarte?
Cittadellarte is located 70 Km away from Milan Malpensa, 90 Km away from Torino Caselle, 120 Km away from Milan Linate. For detailed information on available airport connections and advice on routes, please refer to the Practical information section on the left of this same page.

When is the programme running?
The programme is divided in weekly modules, each running Monday to Friday, between May and December (Summer Break: 1st-30th August).

What’s the typical weekly schedule like?
Weeks are generally scheduled as follows: Sunday: arrival at Cittadellarte by 6:30 pm, room allocation; Monday morning: Guided tour to the Pistoletto and Arte Povera collections and to temporary shows at Cittadellarte. Monday afternoon to Friday: module; Saturday (morning): departure from Cittadellarte.

I would like to join a module: how do I apply?
To apply for a module, click on the button “Submit your application” on each module’s page and follow the procedure by filling in your online application form.

What information and materials are required in the application form?
You will be asked to provide your personal details (name, surname, email address, telephone number), up to five links to publications or projects (e.g. web resources like Google Docs, Facebook pages, personal websites or blogs, public filesharing platforms etc.), a link to your website, as well as links to social media. You will be asked to provide a link to your CV and/or portfolio (on personal websites, social networks or filesharing platforms) and write, in the appropriate section of the form, a motivational letter of MAX 300 words, explaining why you wish to partake in the module.

What should I write in my motivational letter?
Your motivational letter is the key element of your application, and what the team at UNIDEE - University of Ideas and the mentors will focus on during the selection process. It is very important! We advise you to mention your aims, needs and expectations in relation to the module. Mind that you only have 300 words: be concise!

What about the smallprint?
You will be asked to accept the “Terms and Conditions” before completing the application. You can download the .pdf file here. Please note that the acceptance of such “Terms and Conditions” is legally binding.

How much does it cost to attend a module?
The participation fee is specified on each module description.

What’s included in the module fee?
Attendance to all classes (seminars, workshops, events, etc.) included in your module of choice + Access to a comprehensive reader compiled by your module’s mentor + Access to Cittadellarte’s own library (part of the OPAC circuit) + Participation to art and cultural events at Cittadellarte + Single Room accomodation (shared bathroom) at Cittadellarte, for six nights + Half-board (five breakfasts and five lunches).

The standard rate for each module is for half-board accomodation. What about dinners?
You might want to explore different options while in Biella, so we decided to leave this open or you can do some food shopping and then cook in the shared space/kitchen (sala divani).

Which costs aren’t included in the module fee?
Yourself or your sponsor will have to cover your travel costs to and from Cittadellarte, costs in connection to insurance (travel, personal, public liability etc.) as well as visas. Dinners, extras and all personal expenses are also the responsibility of the participant.

I would love to apply for one or more modules, but I am worried about my financial situation: are there any scholarships available I could apply for?
The team here at UNIDEE - University of Ideas is currently working really hard on securing a number of scholarships. Please refer to the specific page on our website for up-to-date information on our opportunities. We strongly advise you to seek funding from your province/country/region. Please get in touch with us as soon as possible by sending an email to We will be happy to advise you and provide you with official documentation to support your funding application.

Is Cittadellarte accessible to disabled participants – especially people with impaired mobility, wheelchair users and the blind?

I am very happy I have just received your email telling me I’ve been selected for my module of choice: how long do I have to pay for the module?
You have one week to pay for the module since the notification email was sent to you. If you don’t, we will interpret it as a withdrawal and, when applicable, offer your place to someone else in our reserve list.

Which modes of payment does UNIDEE - University of Ideas accept?

We accept payment through the Paypal circuit. We also accept bank transfers but those are available for national payments only. To do this, please get in touch with us at to enquire first.

How many people will be in my class group?
Class sizes will vary between modules, with a minimum set at 6 participants and a maximum set at 12. Certain modules will see larger participation. Please refer to each module description for details.

What’s the tuition language?
Modules are normally taught in English, with some exceptions. Some modules are in fact taught in Italian. Please refer to the module outline for details.

UNIDEE - University of Ideas CONTACTS
Phone +39 015 0991462


Education Office

UNIDEE - University of Ideas at Cittadellarte
Director: Juan Esteban Sandoval
Visiting Curator: Valerio Del Baglivo
under the supervision of Paolo Naldini
Programme Coordinator: Clara Tosetti
Programme Assistant: Annalisa Zegna


Juan Esteban Sandoval (1972), Head of projects and Director of the Art Office of Cittadellarte.

Artist, he has exhibited internationally since 1994. He is the cofounder of “el puente_lab” art collective in Medellín, a platform for artistic and cultural production, which uses contemporary art as a tool for the social trasformation.

Since 2002 he has been the director of the Art Office of Cittadellarte, coordinating the realization of 13 editions of “Arte al Centro” exhibitions within the Foundation’s premises and a number of exhibitions in other locations, such the MuKHA in Antwerp, San Servolo Island for the 50th Venice Biennial, The Galleria Civica of Modena, MAXXI Museum in Rome, among others.

He co-curated the exhibition “Cittadellarte.sharing transformation” at Kunsthaus in Graz, the first two editions of the seminar “Methods-research project on art-society relation” and two workshops of shared interdisciplinary planning in Venice and in Gorizia, Italy.

Juan is ex-resident UNIDEE (2000).


Valerio Del Baglivo is a freelance curator, educator and perennial collaborator based in Italy. Collaborative research, alternative education, fiction and storytelling play a continuing and vital role within the methodology and interests of Valerio Del Baglivo.

He attended Curatorlab, an independent curatorial course, at Konstfack University (2011), and is now completing a PhD Programme at Middlesex University with a research focused on public engagement and experimental pedagogy in self-initiated art institutions. He has integrated his academic training by participating in international residency programs at The Banff Centre in Banff, ICC at Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, Wysing Art Centre in Cambridge, Futura in Prague, The Luminary in Missouri and BAR Projects in Barcelona.

In the last years he has curated exhibitions and projects for organizations such as, Apexart - NY, Kunstverein – Milan,Konsthall C - Stockholm, Kunsthalle WUK- Vienna, Azkuna Zentroa - Bilbao – and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo – Turin.

In 2017 he initiated with artist Ludovica Carbotta The Institute of Things to Come, an itinerant institute that embrace irrational, mimetic and fictional knowledge with the aim of destabilizing models of objective scientific research.

He was 2017 Curator in Residency and Shadow Curator at Grand Union, Birmingham. Since 2013 is a member of IKT – International Association of Curators of Contemporary Arts. He is currently Associate External Curator at MAXXI (Rome) and 2018-19 Visiting Curator of UNIDEE at Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella).



Paolo Naldini is Director of Cittadellarte since 2000. In 1996 he got his degree in Economics at Turin University with a dissertation on urban derelict buildings and lands, in connection with the University of Architecture.

From ’94 to ’97 he worked as an account manager at F.&T. Srl Consulting, Turin then moved to England, West Country; from ’97 to 2000, he worked for Westland Helicopters Ltd, Yeovil, in the finance department, as Accounts Officer and Trend Analysis Researcher.

Paolo writes texts and often talks in conferences on Art and Society. His thing with words has recently brought him to create the word demopraxy, “a tension toward a new and pulsating declination of the concept of democracy along the lines of concrete experimentation, of direct and working commitment, open and ongoing involvement” or, to say it more plainly, democracy in first person which refers to all those practices and methods that focus primarily not on the power of the people, but rather on what people do in and of public space, the things they create practically as urgent and de-ideologised responses to expropriation in all fields of life.
 He founded a web project dedicated to exploring creative collaboration by meeting and writing in different places in the city of Turin.


Annalisa Zegna (1990), Programme Assistant, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

She graduated in Painting at Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin and in Visual Arts at IUAV University in Venice. In her bachelor dissertation she examined the atlas of images as modus operandi in contemporary art, focusing on remediation and elaboration of knowledge through images from both paper and digital archives. Her artistic practice focuses on social and collective imaginary through site-specific projects related to the place in which she lives (Biella, Turin, Venice, Berlin), each time articulated around local issues of public space.

In 2015 she was in residence in the Atelier of Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice, and she participated in exhibitions and competitions in the Venice area. In 2016 she spent a period of research in Cyprus, at VSMS Lab (Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Laboratory) at University of Technology in Limassol, in partnership with Artos Foundation in Nicosia, where she investigated some contemporary artistic experiences related to living systems and non-human subjectivities. 
Later, she worked as assistant curator for Art Laboratory Berlin, dealing with interdisciplinary projects between art, science and technology, with a particular attention to collective and laboratory experiments.

Annalisa is part of the association "BetterPlaces", with whom she collaborates for cultural activities in Biella, promoting horizontal and participatory practices and research processes.

Clara Tosetti (1989), Programme Coordinator, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

Graduate in Architecture (Polytechnic of Milan, 2014), in 2016 she obtained a Master in Economics and Management of the Art and Cultural Heritage at the Business School of the Sole 24 Ore specializing in the areas of communication, organization of exhibitions and cultural events and educational programs.
During the Master she has co-curated the exhibition “Legàmi” at the Carcano Theatre in Milan that probed the different types of bonds between women.

She worked for the Studio Art&Co. in Turin collaborating in organizing the exhibition “Sigmar Polke” at Palazzo Grassi in Venice and by accompanying the contemporary art advisoring and cataloguing for prestigious private collections.

Clara has always been interested in the links between art and public space and how this might relate to the individual and collective growth to create the identity of a community that is both local and global.



Cecilia Guida (1978), director and curator of 2015-2017 programme, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

She is Doctor in Communication and New Technologies of Art (IULM, University of Milan, 2011), specializing in relations among participative art practices, new technologies and contemporary public space. She is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the Academy of Fine Arts (Bologna). She has taught at the Academy of Fine Arts (Florence, 2013-2016; L’Aquila, 2011-2014; Rome, 2004-2007), at IUAV University (Venice/Treviso, 2008-2009) and at La Sapienza University (Rome, 2004-2007).

Member of the IKT - International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art, she has curated exhibitions in museums as well as public and independent spaces in Italy and abroad (“ARTInRETI. Art practices and urban transformation in Piedmont”, Cittadellarte, 2012 and 2013; “Take Your Time”, Tank Space for Performing and Visual Arts, New York, 2009; “Fuori contesto”, public spaces in Bologna, Milan, Trento/Rovereto/Bozen, 2008; “Menu”, Spaziorazmataz Prato, 2007; “Aprés le diner sur l’herbe”, Villa dei Quintili, Rome, 2007 etc.).

She is author of the book Spatial Practices. Funzione pubblica e politica dell’arte nella società delle reti published by Franco Angeli in 2012. She is editor and translator of the Italian version of Artificial Hells. Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship by Claire Bishop (Inferni Artificiali. La politica della spettatorialità nell’arte partecipativa, lucasossella editore, 2015).

Cecilia is ex-resident UNIDEE (2009).


Roberta Bernasconi (1985), Programme Coordinator 2016, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

She holds a masters degree in Visual Arts from IUAV University in Venice.
She is working research based on art in the public space and on the approach of the spectator to it. She write her degree thesis on public art in Naples, her hometown, defining the dynamics between institutions and monuments, and participatory actions and collectivity.

She completed two semester studies abroad, at École de LaCambre in Brussels and at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. She works as an artist producing installations and performances and she finished her studies with a thesis titled "the Other israeli, the Other palestinian. Shooting the enemy".
Since 2010 she has been conveying her artistic practice into a multidisciplinary attitude, permitting her to develop creative methods able to turn art into something accessible to all.

In 2012 she worked in the Maybe Education and Public Programs department of dOCUMENTA(13), extending her research on the uncertainty of knowledge and on the impossibility of defining the work of art. While in Kassel she coordinated the "Readers' Circle. 100 Notes-100 Thoughts" project and the SCEPSI conferences run by Franco Berardi-Bifo.

She worked for the Musei Civici of Venice, implementing and promoting educational activities for groups of schools, adults and families. She is cultural operator, active in the Venitian Museums network and in Biennale Foundation. She accepts skepticism towards art as a form of positive stimulation and supports projects producing culture, generating knowledge and defining social actions in the collective space.


Giulia Crisci (1989), Assistant Director and Curator 2015-2016, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

She studied Art History at the universities of Palermo and Turin. An independent curator based in Turin, she is interested in the relationship between art and activism within the public realm and the social sphere. Enacted practices – often in the form of collectives or assemblies – are concentrated on territorial communities, with a particular focus on the city and its tension zones, in the attempt to trigger spaces for critical thought and collective action.
She was part of the coordination team of Resò- International Network for Art Residencies and Educational Programs.

Giulia curated Valentina Miorandi’s itinerant project “Turning Tables”, consisting in the collective construction of an archive of cultural activist experiences. Since 2011, she worked as personal assistant to the artist Marzia Migliora. She collaborates with “Libera in Sicily. Associations, names and numbers against mafias” towards a creative rethinking of social antimafia.

She curated several projects within the artistic/curatorial collective Balloon, whose research lays at the boundary between critical writing, projects, web platform and independent micro-publishing. She was assistant curator for the 2014’s edition of Eco e Narciso, Turin’s public art project, and was a member of the educational department of Palermo’s Museo Riso.


Elisa Tosoni (1981), Programme Coordinator 2015, UNIDEE - University of Ideas.

Trained at Stockholm University (MA, Curating Art with Management and Law) and AICA Armenia (6th Summer Seminars for Art Curators), and at the University of East London (BA, Sculpture), Elisa also studied some geology. A curator of the enabler breed, whose research focuses on residential formats and temporality, she is also a professional chef and occasionally serves as a critic and a fiction/scriptwriter. 

Curator of international exhibitions and projects (Arkitekturmuseet, Botkyrka Konsthall, Galleria Alberto Peola, Elevator Gallery, public realm ...), she also worked as curatorial assistant at Iaspis, Cardi Black Box, “Manifesta 7” for “The Rest of Now/Tabula Rasa” and “Bucharest Biennale 3”. In 2013, she lived through the project one|year|of|curatorial|residencies (Nordic Artists’ Centre Dale, Kunsthaus Aussersihl/rotationatelier). 

Keynote speaker and panelist at “Alter Edge/ Reflections on peripheral dynamics” (nkd, 2013), she also presented the paper Transnational artistic events: on temporality and its repercussions on the local context, at Mekhitar Sebastatsi Art School in 2011. She led discussions on artists' projects and exhibitions at Counter Space, Mesopotamia, Elevator Gallery.

Elisa is currently working on a new column focusing on process-based studio visits, for the web magazine “Fisk Frisk”. Her writings and interviews appeared on “Arte e Critica” and