October 2016 – March 2017

QuerciaLAB – Oak Lab – was a 6-months pilot project created in conversation with the local government, two social co-ops from Rovereto and a group of African and Asian asylum seekers, to build up a community maker space where making in common and the exchange of skills and knowledges is the means to start building community across cultural differences.

QuerciaLAB was based in a former industrial building that is part of what used to be one of the shelters hosting asylum seekers in Rovereto. The main part of the infrastructure of QuerciaLAB was built during a transnational Erasmus + gathering and designed by a group of Architecture students from Sheffield.

Throughout the 6 months, the space was activated in a variety of ways and we experimented with and performed different formats for possible moments of encounter: personal making and mending in small groups, building structures for other social initiatives in Rovereto, welcoming other active groups from Rovereto who needed to buid things, cooking events, inviting and working with groups of students, public presentations, exhibitions, parties and music classes.

After the pretty successful initial six months period the project was meant to go public and enter a new phase of developent with better resources. Instead, the office of the local government that was running the shelter, after inititally supporting the idea to create a space of encounter between asylum seekers and local inhabitants, and after noticing the potential of a space like the one we created, suddenly changed position, intimidated by the possible risks involved in such a project and by possible criticism from right-wing parties and journalists.