In 1999 Michelangelo Pistoletto founded Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto’s programme of artists’ residencies for art and social transformation. The programme is open to artists and professionals from all over the world and it aims at providing instruments for “artivators”, i.e. subjects working at the boundaries between artistic practices, processes of social change and collaborations with communities external to the art world, weaving together moments of interdisciplinary research, exchange of knowledge and practical activities. The objective of the programme is to provide the participants with the inspiration, motivation and instruments to activate, develop or strengthen artistic initiatives based on the involvement of local ecologies. UNIDEE-University of Ideas started as an international programme of 4-month residencies (1999-2013), to then evolve this model focusing on season long research themes and developing four types of residency of different durations and with different objectives, grouped under the general heading of UNIDEE Residency ProgramsUNIDEE ModulesResearch ResidencyConnective Residency and Organisations in Residency.

The UNIDEE Modules are one-week-long intensive residential modules open to students, professionals and activists, as well as to members of the general society. They are curated by UNIDEE Visiting Research Curator, with the support of invited mentors and guests. The modules are developed according to a horizontal teaching method, based on collective discussion and exchange of knowledge.

Research Residency: they are residencies for international artists organised with partner institutions, created to support the practice of emerging artists. During their stay at Cittadellarte, the artists are led along a process based on the investigation of specific aspects linked to a social responsible transformation, through debates and meetings with curators, artists and operators from the civil society, studio visits by experts, conferences with guests, visits to exhibitions and places relevant to the topics examined, etc. In terms of production, the residencies aim at facilitating the generation of exhibition projects, events, public debates, publications, etc.
Among the long-standing partners are A.M. Qattan Foundation (Palestine), Yarat Contemporary Art Center (Azerbaijan), Inlaks Foundation (India).

The Connective Residency, active since 2015, is a six-month programme open to Italian and international single artists or collectives interested in exploring and analysing the themes of social responsible transformation, selected by invitation. The objective is to establish active connections between the practices of the resident artists and the contents examined within the UNIDEE Modules.

The section Organisations in Residency has been active since 2018 and it offers tailor-made workshops for partner institutions which share aspects of Cittadellarte’s vision. These one-week- or one-weekend-long workshops are conceived for students, social entrepreneurs, cultural project managers interested in exploring the themes Cittadellarte has always been working on through its Uffizi: social responsibility, urban transformation, artistic participatory processes, demopraxy, alternative models of local economic development, sustainability in fashion and in the building industry, etc.
Linnaeus University with its programme Design + Change, the University of Milano-Bicocca, the Italian Red Cross, Italia che cambia with the German association Inwole are some of the partners in the project.

April 2019 saw the official birth of Cittadellarte’s Accademia UNIDEE, the only academy developing designers of change and social transformation through an educational offer that will eventually cover a whole cycle of studies: academic diplomas of first level (three-year degree), second level (teaching degree) and third level (PhD), and first and second level executive master’s degrees. In February 2020, Accademia UNIDEE, in partnership with Poli.Design (Milan), successfully launched the first level executive master’s degree in Design, Creativity and Social Practices. Creating value for organisations. Please visit www.accademiaunidee.it for further information on our formal courses and master’s degrees.

UNIDEE and Visible project
Visible project is a wide research project dedicated to contemporary artistic practices addressed to the social sphere, launched by Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and Fondazione Zegna, curated by Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander.

Visible is a wide research project dedicated to contemporary artistic practices addressed to the social sphere, launched by Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto and Fondazione Zegna, curated by Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander.

Visible is based on the idea originally proposed by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1994 through his manifesto Progetto Arte: “Art is the most sensitive and complete expression of human thought, and the time has come for artists to take on the responsibility of establishing ties among all other human activities, from economics to politics, science to religion, education to behaviour; in a word, among the threads that make up the fabric of society”. Visible examines the spatial relationships within which different actors from different cultural backgrounds and with different temperaments generate meaning and establish alliances. The alliance between actors and spectators creates the action space of cultural and social relationships. Visible brings to light and strengthens the artistic actions truly able to produce and experiment with visions that might impact the social and cultural imagination of our contemporary world.

Since 1999, the residency programmes have registered the participation of over 3.000 students and professionals from 52 different countries.