Project Rome – Phase 5: Post-presentation, a school visit and the power of a woman

After we presented on Wednesday afternoon, it felt as if most of the pressure was off. Though, after the comments we had gotten by the audience after the presentation, we still had a lot of things to adjust in our research. Therefore we decided to discuss these comments and the answers we had given. This resulted in a long discussion on Thursday morning, once more on the definition of ‘locals’, as well as ‘solution’ and whether the interpretations of our observations are based on that, the observations, or whether our own biases and experiences influence them. We decided to find a way to bypass both these terms: changing ‘solution’ into ‘intervention’, because a solution, something to definitively solve a problem, cannot be found in the context of our research. As for ‘locals’, we decided to go with groups of people: general descriptions of their behaviour and look, just based on observations instead of conclusions about these.

Additionally, to get out of our own brains and find out what the people on the Piazzas think, we went out on that afternoon to conduct some interviews. This resulted in some interesting conversations with artists on Piazza Navona, sellers of paintings on the square and locals going out for a drink in Trastevere. Laura and Sinja even got some policemen to talk with them about their job and their opinion on the unmistakable presence of tourists. Most of these interviews were captured on tape and we spent the evening looking through them, after yet another wonderful meal of Italian pizza.


On the Friday, we had quite the busy schedule. Because we are in Rome, we took the opportunity to do some recruitment. So, on Friday morning Tom, Margriet and I set out to St. Stephen’s International School: housed in the south of the city’s centre, behind the Foro Romano and Colosseo. At arrival we had to hand in our IDs in return for a visitors badge and one of the 11th grade students gave us a tour around the beautiful school building. In the basement is a music room, where we found two students practicing. After inquiry by Margriet, they gave us a taste of their cover of Muse’s version of ‘Feeling Good’, which they will perform at a talent show the school is hosting on the 31st of March. And believe me, it was great. Moreover, the boy of the duo is interested in coming to the Netherlands, so we hope to have convinced him to come to Groningen.

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We had our talk in the Headmaster’s office, cozily sitting around a table with about 10 interested students. The curriculum at their school, specifically courses such as Environmental Studies, seemed to match well with UCG’s themes of Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society. They had many questions related to the curriculum, sports and costs, and we hope to have answered them sufficiently and of course, to have inspired them to come to UCG!


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