The urban ecomuseum ‘Mare Memoria Viva’ is the result of a work of research and community-building on the memory and the present of Palermo’s relationship with its sea.
The work was designed and carried out by CLAC as part of the project MARE MEMORIA VIVA, supported by the Fondazione con il Sud historical-artistic fund for 2011.

For ‘Mare Memoria Viva’ we worked in the neighbourhoods of the coastal area of Palermo to create a community map of the city’s waterfront, meeting and interviewing residents and workers, mapping notable places, collecting stories, photographs, videos and recipes, organizing activities and meetings in public spaces and community areas.

The ecomuseum of Palermo’s relationship to its sea is a result of this work: a space made of culture and relation aimed both at tourists and residents, which directly included the latter in the mapping and rediscovery of heritage.

In the spaces of the ecomuseum you will find numerous stories and voices that narrate not only the relationship between Palermo and its sea and the transformations of this complex city, but also the life and the work of many people. These are the signs of a living memory that indicates the possibility of the future to those who are able to read them.

We have chosen to use multimedia audio-visual technologies to tell of an incredibly rich and important heritage through state-of-the-art means. This heritage should be recognised as widely as possible. We believe that videos, photographs, images and oral narrations are capable of speaking to all.

Palermo’s relationship to its sea is very telling of the city that was, that is and that could be. There are stories of resistance, travel, commerce, holiday and work. There are memories, faded photographs, forgotten places, fairy-tales and postcards. Seafarers, dockers, writers, poets, sunbathers, ship-workers, captains and sailors. People who go out to sea, and people who carry the sea in them wherever they go.

The ecomuseum is a space that welcomes proposals from the grassroots, a space for specifically plural cultures and the coming together of all age groups. It promotes a shared social responsibility, care for the territory and community tourism. It proposes cultural activities, tourism, teaching, an alternative economy and active citizenship. We aim to create a community of people connected to the ecomuseum who will inhabit it. We are willing to share our resources—spaces, relations, ideas and skills—to this aim. Each one of you can become a member of this community, sharing and contributing what they wish and what they know.