edition 2021

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAKE BOLOGNA HOME

Memories of Joanne Maloney

My part for the Guidebook was preparatory and mainly “behind the scenes”. I had been living in Bologna with my Italian husband for almost 20 years, we were raising our two boys who were in Elementary School. We were both pro-active in our community, having established a neighborhood Association in our Quartiere. 

When word got out that it would be one of the European Cities of Culture 2000, the City and all its associazioni were buzzing with excitement at the opportunity to present projects to represent Bologna in Europe and Europe in Bologna. 

Having lived in Bologna for so long, my contribution was often interfacing with la realta Bolognese. I went to many many meetings with the Bologna women’s network (la rete delle donneAssociazione Orlando, la Casa delle Donne, Centro Documentazione Donne, just to name a few).  The idea among the women’s groups was that if we could band together, share information and coordinate our proposals, we would be more likely to access the funding we all needed to realize each project.

Thus, IWF got to know other women’s groups in the City in a way that only working together can produce. And they got to know us.  The IWF gained recognition and captured the interest of the other women’s groups. At the time, we were one of the few (if not the only) group in the network that was made up almost exclusively of “foreign” women. Our Guidebook would help women like us in making Bologna their home. When I think back on all those long meetings (at night, of course), I cannot help but be moved at how the women in Bologna chose to work together, rather than compete, for the funding, and how welcoming and respectful they were of our organization.

Working with the network also gave the IWF a distinct identity and recognition in the City at large. Of course, the very nature of the Euopean identity is multiculturalism. In retrospect, I can safely say that, in that context, at that time, we really embodied the meaning of Europe in Bologna.

Internally, the project gave us a focus that was of service to others, a purpose greater than ourselves or our Association.

Needless to say, we secured the funding.  The Guidebook was a go!  With that initial phase done, I took a step back and stayed home with my kids at night. I did manage to write a bit on schools.

I’d like to close expressing gratitude to Julie and all the women who were the origins of the IWF and contributed to the first edition of the Guidebook. It was and is a joy and an honor to be a part of it.

Joanne Maloney

September 19, 2021

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