Nunzia Vanuccini – founder of L’Altro Spazio, which is a project built around the concept of inclusion. Inability is so because the space we create is not meant for everybody. That’s way we think about accessibility, but that’s just a consequence. Inclusion comes first. L’Altro Spazio is a bar and a cultural centre designed from scratch in order to welcome anybody.
Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?
The solidity of the group. We are like a family. We have created a strong group like the roots of a tree. A small sapling, but with strong roots. The nice thing is that we nail a new mindset on those who come. Yesterday a guy ate the appetizer. Then, we talked a bit and our cook asked if he had enjoyed the food. He said yes, that he scarfed it all. Later, as the cook was talking of herself she mentioned she is visually impaired. That guy stood up and recalled what he ate perceiving it in a different way. He thought more about it. “How did she managed to cook something so good?”, he said. L’Altro Spazio seeks to destroy, apart from physical barriers, the mental barriers that are created over time. People on wheelchair must stay at home. The blind must always be accompanied. How does a blind person cooks? The house goes on fire? These are barriers that should be destroyed. We succeeded. Especially with the administration, we have created something that people know it’s possible. What can be done with that I do not know yet. But it is there.
Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?
The main challenge is out there. We are entrenched in here, in our ideal world. The challenge is to do so that each person entering to take at least one coffee gets a taste of this world. You turn and see an albino guy serving you a drink… a girl in a wheelchair is behind the bar. The challenge is to face these people every day and throughout the project make them understand, all these things.
Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?
The will of achieving our goal, of creating a place, something that can then be replicated in other parts of the world, where people can simply be, without being looked at. There is also the problem of normal people being uneasy about other persons’ disabilities. A great place. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but if you do not dream you will never achieve your goal. I’m trying and go forward. Even among the thousands of bureaucratic problems.
Would you like to add something more?
There are many things I discovered along the way. They are making a lot of problems for our ramp. Bologna does not authorize a ramp for disable since 10 years. They do not authorize the ramps in the old town. There are a lot of laws related to old towns. It is as if we were buried in our history. We have a girl on a wheelchair working for us. I couldn’t believe I have to fight for this. They don’t dare removing what we have but they don’t let us do a proper one either. We won’t stop the fight. We made our own beer, done by an American deaf friend of ours, an old brewer from New Jersey. Our beer is called Ramp, indeed, which by the way in Dutch means disaster. As the first batch comes we will try and promote through the beer the taste of inaccessibility the Italian way.
The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.
Bologne, Italy, 7th October 2016