PRIN 2020

Libera Mazzoleni, LUCA, 2,49, 1977. Courtesy of the artist

Project "IFP (Italian Feminist Photography)"

May 2022 - May 2025


The IFP (Italian Feminist Photography) project sets out to analyse the contribution of women to the history of Italian photography, within a framework of the progressive spread of demands for feminist emancipation and identity, according to the most recent perspectives offered by Gender and Feminist Studies. The reflection will also be extended to practices which, while outside of any militant positions, helped to underline a specific policy of construction of the female imagination and different self-assertion strategies. Aiming to study and enhance the presence and role of women photographers in Italy, and highlight the effective circulation of their work, the research will be divided among the three identified research sites, each investigating three different channels through which both explicit and militant, as well as implicit and/or anticipatory, feminism can be framed in history: 1) magazines and periodicals, starting from specialist art and photography publications, which promoted the works and fostered critical and interpretative readings, 2) the catalogues and materials tracing their presence in national exhibitions, events and shows, 3) private and public archives, as well as collections and museums, which over time have kept and structured these works. The research of documentary sources (articles and essays), and the mapping of public and private institutions that have safeguarded these contributions, will be studied starting from a gender standpoint – linked to the study of social, cultural, philosophical and historical dynamics defining identities and viewpoints – which will lead to an understanding, by comparison, of which photographic models and paradigms dominated feminist photography in Italy.

For social and cultural impacts not solely addressed to scholars, but which can become a heritage and knowledge for the community, the IFP project uses digital languages and competences based on the most recent digital humanities experiments. Using the resources of the virtual and augmented reality laboratory (VARlab/University of Bologna), this impact can be developed along two lines. The first linked to the implementation of a research web interface (Italian Feminist Photographers Archive) that combines the results of the project and the research material collected in a repository. The second intended for the experimentation of web XR environments able to recreate and offer interactive spaces in which the events and exhibitions linked to feminist photography in Italy, studied with philological and historical rigour, can be reconstructed and experienced virtually, accompanying users to understand the historical, social and cultural context, raising awareness and collective knowledge of gender issues with a perspective of economic and political impact on contemporary society.
Socio-economic skills will be involved in dissemination, communication and digital storytelling activities in order to promote IFP project.
This project is one of the research activities of the FAF group 

Research unit | University of Bologna

Federica Muzzarelli (Principal Investigator), Massimo Giovanardi, Stefano Marino, Gustavo Marfia, Giorgia Ravaioli, Lorenzo Stacchio, Benedetta Susi, Giulia Brandinelli

Research unit | University of Parma

Cristina Casero (Local unit manager), Alessandra Acocella

Research unit | La Sapienza - University of Rome

Raffaella Perna (Local unit manager), Lara Conte (Roma Tre University)

Scientific collaborations and consulting

Cinzia Frisoni (Photographic Archives Consultant), Marta Magrinelli (Archivist / Photographic Archives Consultant)



CSAC - Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione

The Study Centre and Communication Archive (CSAC) is a research centre of the University of Parma founded in 1968 by Professor Arturo Carlo Quintavalle. Right from the start, it concentrated on assembling a collection of fine art, photography, architectural drawings, design, fashion and graphics, as well as organizing exhibitions and publishing catalogues.


MUFOCO - Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea

It’s the first public museum of photography in Italy. The mission is the conservation, cataloguing, study and promotion of photography, with a particular focus on the relationship between photography and other arts and the current technological transformations.


Archivia - Casa Internazionale delle Donne

Library/archive specializing in the history and culture of women, collects the productions of the theory and practice of the feminist movement since the late 60s, and the testimony of the stages of the process of modernization of the country, marked by the struggles for the emancipation of women, magnificently documented by photographic archives.


Biblioteca Italiana delle Donne - Bologna

The Italian Library of Women was founded in the late seventies as part of the Center for Documentation, Research and Initiative of Women, thanks to a project developed by the Association Orlando, an association of women active in research and politics, who wanted to found an autonomous institution to promote the culture of gender difference and the female public presence.

For more information