Launched by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1999, UNIDEE - University of Ideas is the higher educational programme for art and social change of Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto. Weaving together moments of interdisciplinary research, knowledge sharing and practical activities, the objective of the programme is to provide the participants with inspiration, motivation and instruments to activate or develop artistic initiatives based on the engagement of local ecologies. Open to artists and professionals from all over the world through residential dynamics, the programme intends to form “artivators”, i.e. people working at the boundaries between artistic practices, processes of social change and collaborations with communities outside the art world.
UNIDEE started as a four-month international residency programme (1999-2013), to improve its model in 2015 by focusing on annual themes and developing three formats: UNIDEE Modules, UNIDEE AIR - Emerging Geographies and the Connective Residency.
UNIDEE Modules are intensive weekly residential modules open to students, professionals, activists and members of the civil society. They are led by artist-mentors with the support of guests coming from other disciplines, for groups of 10 to 12 participants.
UNIDEE AIR - Emerging Geographies is the international artists residency program organised in partnership with other art institutions, with the aim of supporting the practice of artists coming from non-Western countries. Every year four international artists stay in residence for eight week at Cittadellarte with the aim of entering in contact - though meetings, studio visits and travels in other cities - with the Italian cultural scene, and deepen their research interests.
Launched in 2015, the Connenctive Residency programme is revolved to Italian artists with the aim of connecting their work with the local context of Biella. Every year for a period of six months, an artist selected by direct invitation, is invited to produce a new piece exploring and expanding the themes of social responsible transformation considering the local context of Biella as a starting point of research (Nicola Angiuli -2018/2019; Mattia Paco Rizzi - 2017; Leone Contini - 2016; Caretto e Raffaella Spagna - 2015).
Since 1999, the programme has registered the participation of more than 850 practitioners and professionals from 52 different countries. Previous mentors have been Assemble, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Viviana Checchia, Etcetera, iLiana Fokianaki, Germano Celant, Rick Lowe, Matteo Lucchetti, Viktor Misiano, Antoni Muntadas, Adrian Paci, STEALTH.unlimited, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Jason Waite among others.