The volunteers at Matera 2019
The cultural programme of Materia 2019 was also made possible by the citizens who volunteered on behalf of the city, cooperating to ensure the success of over 300 events, handling welcoming and information, and participating in educational activities. A total of 1540 people answered the call to become volunteers, filling out a form online that was launched as early as 2012, following the event held on Materadio that year, and remained open through 2019. Approximately 590 people out of the total were the most active, accumulating over 1800 hours of active volunteer work.
A look at the profiles of the 1540 applicants to become volunteers reveals a diversity of profiles: they include people between the ages of 11-17 (il 14%), 18-30 (il 43%), 31-64 (il 38%) e 65+ (il 6%); there are citizens of Matera and others from around the world; some speak only Italian and others at least 3 foreign languages: they are students, professionals, unemployed and retired.
The 1540 people registered in the Matera 2019 volunteer programme
- Spoken Languages
Apart from the great diversity of their profiles, what the people registered in the programme share in common are their motivations. In their own words, they frequently describe their desire to “be useful” to the community and to dedicate some of their time to a purpose they “believe” in, to a territory they are “proud” of.
The contribution of the volunteers to Matera 2019
The contribution of the volunteers was critical for many aspects of the success of Matera 2019. They volunteers manned the info-points and welcomed visitors, including foreign delegations, who could be properly received thanks to the language skills that some of them possessed, which proved essential. Even the Opening Ceremony in January 2019 would have been impossible without the support of these volunteers, who successfully guided the flow of visitors towards the many events scattered throughout the city. The volunteers were involved in as many as 300 events. The following chart shows the 20 projects to which they dedicated the greatest number of hours.
In addition to the experience in the field that they acquired through their collaboration and participation in the events of Matera 2019, the volunteers attended specific training sessions organized for them. They participated in more than 50 workshops held by experts in themes such as reception, security, accessibility and the organization of cultural events, as well as English classes. Furthermore, the Fondazione Matera Basilicata 2019 promoted experiences in mobility across Italy and abroad. Many opportunities for exchanges arose for both volunteers from Matera, who travelled for training sessions or as ambassadors, and volunteers hosted abroad and embedded into local teams. For some projects at the regional scale, such as Altofest and Capital for a Day, a specific awareness campaign was launched to form groups of local volunteers, with whom the volunteers from Matera shared their knowledge.
Of the 172 volunteers sampled in the internal survey, more than 1 out of 4 (26%) participated in at least one form of exchange. Overall, 60 exchanges were organized: 32 to take volunteers from Matera abroad, 28 to bring volunteers to Matera, as may be seen in the visualisation below.
The 60 exchanges organized for the Volunteers of Matera 2019
The social and relational capital developed by the Volunteers of Matera 2019
The commitment of the Matera 2019 volunteers was rewarded with a process of professional as well as personal growth. This is corroborated by the hundreds of personal stories that describe the transformations fostered, especially in the teenagers, by the opportunity to works in heterogeneous teams, in close contact with new people and experiences. These individual accounts were confirmed by the figures from the internal surveys, in which the volunteers stated that they acquired technical skills, social and transversal skills, new understanding and knowledge, and more.
Which of the capacities/skills/knowledge do you believe you acquired thanks to your experience as a Volunteer for Matera 2019?
The enrichment brought by the experience of volunteering at Matera 2019 was not just individual, it was collective as well. By participating in the exchanges and training events, the volunteers reinforced the entire community they were part of, bringing new skills and international relations to Matera. None of this will be lost at the end of 2019. The Matera 2019 volunteers have already gone to Ireland to support Galway European Capital of Culture 2020, and were given excellent feedback for their preparation. In 2019, during their encounter with the volunteer manager for Aarhus Ecoc 2017, they already began to reflect on what would happen post-Matera 2019 and how to avoid squandering what had been built. These premises led them to seek to constitute an independent Association of cultural volunteers. In fact, the figures are unmistakable: in the survey on a sample of 172 volunteers, two out of three said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the experience.
Open data corner
At the centre of this platform, the data, now published in an open format. The Matera 2019 datasets are thus transformed into a digital commons that can inform, inspire and support new information and design practices for the local, national or international communities.
Below, you can download both the raw data related to the theme of this section and the aggregated data used for each of the above visualizations. You can also find more data in the site’s Open Data Center, which contains all the data available in the platform, or in our GitHub repo.